Addressing Global Mindedness in International Schools
Zeb Johnson, Robin Schneider, Joy Verbon, Garth Wyncoll
Dr. Iveta Silova
May 5th, 2008
Global Mindedness in an International School
It is increasingly difficult to find schools influenced by Western culture that do not make reference to global education somewherein their guiding statements. Both within the United States and in international education circles, the creation of global citizens and the pursuit of global mindedness have become commonly stated goals for schools preparing students for success in the 21st century.
These concepts, however, may actually be finding such universal acceptance not due to the clarity of their goals, but quiteironically due to the diversity of perspectives regarding the meaning of the terms themselves. A survey of parents, teachers and students involved in international education would find very few respondents that suggest that global mindedness is not required to be taught by schools. But the same survey, when asking what these goals entail might find that there is no single commonly agreed upondefinition.
How then, can a school that agrees upon the necessity for fostering global mindedness within its student population, work towards what we know to be such a poorly defined goal?
This is precisely the question that this study set out to answer for each of the four international schools involved. The study´s objectives were as follows:
1. Clarify what the term “Global Mindedness”means to parent, student and teacher groups within each of the 4 international schools participating in the study.
2. Assess which elements of global education are considered most important to each group, as well as which elements are and are not being effectively taught at present.
3. Create an action plan for increasing student global mindedness that is based upon specific information givenby parents, students and teachers, as well as other information regarding the school´s particular background and profile.
New knowledge from surveys of parents, students and teachers would be added to previously known factors regarding the school´s socio-political and educational profile, to suggest changes to both formal and hidden curricula. These suggestions would be more effectivelyaimed at fulfilling the goal of providing students with a global education – a goal shared by all four of the international schools involved in the study.
In this way, not only would the concept of global mindedness be more clearly-defined for each particular school community, but the study would provide each school with a concrete action plan for how global-mindedness can actually be achieved.Literature Review
What does global mindedness mean?
The term global mindedness can be endlessly debated about in terms of its meaning and context. Cross and Molnar (1994) have labeled three world views: a nationalist view, a view based on economy – international commerce and a humanistic viewpoint. They argue that in schools today all three perspectives “coexist and compete” creating a greatdeal of variety as to what global education really covers (p. 135). They conclude stating that “it is unlikely that any single view on global education will prevail in the foreseeable future” (p. 137).
Global orientation is defined by Hanvey (1976) as the relationship between “perspective consciousness, knowledge of world conditions, cross-cultural awareness, knowledge of global dynamics andknowledge of alternatives” (in Gaudelli and Fernekes p. 17). Boulding (1988) states that a global citizen will have a view that embraces peace, diversity and complexity (in Gaudelli and Fernekes p. 17). This viewpoint shares the same philosophy as Cross and Molnar’s humanistic viewpoint.
Certainly, hundreds and thousands of schools use the terms ¨global mindedness¨ and ¨global...