Global citizenship seems like an abstract concept at first glance. But what does it really mean to be a global citizen?
Global citizenship does not eliminate passports or borders, and it is not a legal status. However, according to a survey by the BBC news portal, 56% of people identify as global citizens rather than nationals, a number that is increasing.
But then what makes a person a global citizen?
According to UNESCO, a global citizen…
- participates in and contributes to the community at a range of levels from local to global.
- is aware of the wider world and has a sense of his/her own role as a world citizen.
- respects and values diversity.
- has an understanding of how the world works economically, politically, socially, culturally, technologically and environmentally, and
- is willing to act to make the world a more sustainable place
In simpler words, according to this definition, global citizens know, in general, how the world works; they can contextualize their local community within the global one, and they actively collaborate with diverse people to improve the world.
Global citizens see beyond their closest reality. They are aware enough of global trends to perceive and track how what happens in their everyday lives affects others in the world. Global citizens respect the complexities of local contexts and cultures and understand the importance of adapting global ideas to the specific needs and capacities of a community. It is not just about distant places and towns. Instead, global citizenship involves “exploring local-global connections and our views, values, and assumptions.”
In this sense, a global citizen is someone who strives to learn to live together, rather than separate. Being a global citizen means making the conscious decision to recognize, learn and coexist with people and build bridges to collaborate with others.
Why is global citizenship important in ELT?
Because global citizenship encourages collaboration, between what can be considered typical divisions. A global citizen chooses to remove barriers rather than create them, and a very powerful tool to remove such barriers is by using the most popular language for intercultural communication on the planet, English.
Global citizenship stimulates healthy discussion, collaborative efforts, and strengthens creative problem-solving skills, which are 21st century skills that every English teacher should include as part of their lessons.
Global citizens appreciate the variety of perspectives that exist in the world, so the idea of “bringing the world into the classroom” while learning English takes on new heights and provides greater opportunities for motivation and engagement.
The webinars in this playlist reflect the importance of global citizenship in the teaching of English in the 21st century, and provide very clear and applicable strategies and activities to enrich our teaching practice.