In Global Citizenship, a Primer, we focused on the five elements of global competence: investigate the world, recognize perspectives, communicate ideas, take action, and apply knowledge.
For the first step, investigating the world, we learned how to connect what’s going on in our community to what’s going on across the globe. First, we looked at the impacts that other cultures have on our local lives. For example, we have access to foods from other cultures, like Mexican and Chinese food. I was very surprised when we went around the room saying where our clothes were made in the beginning of the class. Almost no one’s shoes were made in the US and neither was my Texas Longhorns t-shirt. We also did “look and listen” at the beginning of each class to learn a little about a different culture. We focused the most on Indian culture by watching Chak de India and performances by Indian comedians, as well as eating Indian food. In addition to watching movies, we also investigated the world by doing research about taxation and terrorism.
For the second step, recognizing perspectives, we learned how to expand our horizons and understand the point of view of others. We did this by reading articles and case studies, so we could study all sides of the story. For example, in the case studies on terrorism I learned that people that we call terrorists might be considered freedom fighters in another part of the world. We also read an article about a man who visited a college in China and asked the students whether they thought the Tibetians or the Chinese were the problem in the China-Tibet conflict, and they all thought it was the Tibetians. However, the same speaker asked that question in a college in America and got the exact opposite answer.
For the third step, we learned how to communicate our ideas by blogging about a topic we’re interested in or commenting on another post. In our posts and responses, we talked about our topic after studying all the different perspectives and then making an opinion about it. Global citizens should consider all sides of the story before deciding what they think about it instead of basing their beliefs on stereotypes.
The last two steps are about using what you already learned to make a difference in the world. By expanding our horizons and learning about the impact of other cultures in our lives, we’re on our way to becoming global citizens. However, you don’t have to make a huge difference in the world to be a global citizen. Making a change in your community is just as important.