4 Resources for Teaching Global Issues in the Classroom
4 Resources for Teaching Global Issues in the Classroom
PUBLISHED: Monday, March 19, 2018 by Katy McDowall

According to Education Week, “The need for students to be able to empathize with others, value diverse perspectives and cultures, understand how events around the world are interconnected, and solve problems that transcend borders has never been greater.” This is because of how interconnected the world has become. Thus, learning about and understanding issues of global importance set students up for future career success, but also mean that students will be able “to participate as empathetic, engaged, and effective citizens of the world,” and perhaps contribute to solving issues that affect the world.

Fortunately, in the world of 24-hour news and constant social media updates, it’s easier than ever to teach lessons that connect students to other parts of the globe. But in order to truly teach global competency, “the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance,” as defined by the Council of Chief State School Officers’ EdSteps Initiative and the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning, you might be wondering where to start. These resources will get you started:

  1. Edutopia has an expansive list of resources, including a variety of unit plans developed and used by Seattle Public Schools. The units include lessons on Japanese internment during World War II compared to other examples of internment around the world, perspectives on climate change, and how migration and industrialization affect the globe.
  2. Actions in Spotlight is a service-learning project created by and for students, which publishes student writing that promotes the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including no poverty and zero hunger. The website is a great platform to learn about global issues and is also an opportunity for students to respond to the Sustainable Development Goals by submitting their own work. Middle and high school students can submit short stories, poems, op-eds, and more in response to the fourth goal—quality education—by March 31.
  3. ASCD has a list of valuable resources, which includes the Peace Corps’ World Wise Schools program that hosts a variety of educator resources and a place for teachers to connect directly with Peace Corps volunteers around the world. To connect with a volunteer, teachers must submit a request form and indicate how they’d like to connect (e.g., via letters, webchats, a blog, etc.).
  4. Global Education features a variety of teaching activities for various grade levels on its website, including lessons on disaster preparedness and consequences, refugees, human rights, sustainable energy sources, and so much more.