Living in a globalized world means appreciating the nuance of diverse perspectives and shared experiences.

GCE article image
Global Citizenship Education (Canva).

The field of education loves its buzzphrases. Standards-based grading. Project-based learning. Media literacy education. 

These terms come and go with evolving trends, and some may scoff at their impermanence, but their core purpose remains: to educate and uplift young people in a globalized world as equitably as possible. 

When I taught history at a public high school in the United States, the buzzphrase of the hour was global citizenship education. In this vein, my world history course was aptly titled Global Perspectives. 

Beyond the survey of modern world history from the Scientific Revolution to the present day, I hoped to impart something greater in my Global Perspectives classes. Through an examination of the past, the course was fundamentally a practice of teaching students to adopt multiple perspectives and to think beyond their immediate environment. 

Teaching borderless lessons

As the old adage goes, “history is written by the victors”. But digging into the stories lost in these official accounts of the past helps students discern nuance, grow empathy and understand that events rarely have uniform impacts. The rise of colonialism, after all, enriched European colonizers at the expense of indigenous laborers, the consequences of which the world continues to grapple with to this day. 

Contrarily, and just as important, geographically distant communities are often united by shared experiences. During the Industrial Revolution, the factory worker in the U.S. state of Massachusetts probably had much more in common with his counterpart living across the Atlantic in England compared to his wealthy steel-magnate neighbor living just hours away. 

This understanding of nuance, context and global connectedness lies at the heart of what we do here at News Decoder.

Highlighting global awareness and solutions journalism

Through our school partnerships, we’re intentional in developing programs that enhance the internationally-recognized Global Citizenship Competencies, including critical thinking, communication, conflict resolution and intercultural understanding. 

Beyond global awareness, we also center solutions journalism in our work to help students become active participants in their local communities. 

Through our webinars, students have the opportunity to exchange with peers across the world on globally relevant issues like mental health and the state of democracy. These webinars often reveal more shared experiences than differences, though participants join from all corners of the globe. 

Through our signature Pitch, Report, Draft, Revise (PRDR) process, students learn to suspend biases and consider diverse viewpoints, while conducting original research to share with a global audience. 

Amplifying youth voices

Youth voices published on our site reveal that today’s big headlines affect local communities in profound ways. One News Decoder student investigated the effect of the war in Ukraine on local boulangeries in France, while another was surprised to find that human trafficking affected her local community in a U.S. mid-Atlantic state more than she had realized. 

Our educational programs use journalism as a tool to teach students how to process and contribute to the world around them, based on an understanding that we are more connected now than ever before. 

Global citizenship education may be a trendy buzzphrase in education today, but its fundamental goal of teaching students to develop proactive empathy is something that has the potential to unite in an increasingly factious world.

Three questions to consider:

  1. How can you be a more active global citizen?
  2. What are some universal values that everyone around the world shares?
  3. Why is considering diverse viewpoints and suspending biases important in journalism?
Joyce Yang is News Decoder’s Program Manager. She is a former classroom teacher passionate about equitable education access, intentional pedagogy and inclusive policy-making.
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EducationGlobal citizenship education is more than just a buzzphrase