How do we promote global, international and intercultural citizenship at BSS schools? - Best Schools in Spain

We live in an increasingly globalised and complex world where humans have never been so connected or interdependent. All of these changes have given meaning to the concept of global citizenship, to the idea that we are a global community and, therefore, our decisions and actions can affect people and communities at the local, national or international level.

In this paradigm, it is essential to work on global competence in the classroom. This requires encouraging respect and tolerance for others, global awareness and empathy. Even if the immediate surroundings of the classroom or centre are not sufficiently diverse, there are many ways to provide a general perspective and show the reality of current global citizenship in schools.

“Global competence is the capacity to examine local, global and intercultural issues, to engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures, and to act for collective well-being and sustainable development”

OECD, GLOBAL COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK. PISA STUDY

At centres from the Best Schools in Spain network, we work to educate aware, informed students that are interested in global issues and committed to the well-being of society and the sustainability of our planet. Therefore, we could say that global competence is related to values like cultural diversity.

How can we educate students with a global mindset so that they act competently and responsibly when they take on the challenges currently facing our world?

Centres from the Best Schools in Spain network are undertaking initiatives such as those described below to help turn our students into respectful, reflective, tolerant and empathetic citizens of the world:

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Organising international days or weeks where the educational community learns about and celebrates the culture of different countries through their customs, traditions, languages, art, flags, sports, music, dance, food, etc.

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Organising international days or weeks where the educational community learns about and celebrates the culture of different countries through their customs, traditions, languages, art, flags, sports, music, dance, food, etc.

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Introducing Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into the curriculum by encouraging students to analyse and think about what they can do to make them a reality. Countries agreed on this series of 17 “global goals” to be reached by 2030. From poverty, water and sanitation to peacebuilding and beyond, the SDG show what it means to be a global citizen: working together to help the global community in general.

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Encouraging contact with other students through trips or videoconferences. This favours direct communication between students of the same age from different cultures, allowing them to build a closer relationship. One-to-one communication with somebody of the same age from a different culture can develop students’ compassion and understanding of different values.

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Introducing global stories into the syllabus through literature. There are some great works of literature that allow students to learn about different cultures through fictional stories.

    • “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini is based on the history of Afghanistan and tells the story of a young boy, his life and experiences.
    • For younger students, “What does it mean to be global?” by Rana DiOrio shows children the importance of experiencing other traditions, celebrating diversity and opening their minds to new possibilities.
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Encouraging students to participate in local, national or international events. Fairs, national and international debate contests, technology or maths competitions and a whole host of other events that allow students to travel to other cities, regions or even countries and interact with students from different backgrounds.

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Encouraging students to participate in local, national or international events. Fairs, national and international debate contests, technology or maths competitions and a whole host of other events that allow students to travel to other cities, regions or even countries and interact with students from different backgrounds.

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Promoting volunteering activities at school. We do not have to travel around the world to give students a global perspective. Volunteering within their own community can teach them lessons about civic responsibility and global citizenship.

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Visits with a global perspective to places such as museums, exhibitions, restaurants, theatres, technology parks, etc. Nowadays, new technologies allow us to virtually visit the collections of famous museums such as the Louvre. The Google Art Project explores stories from around the world and offers visits to the world’s leading art museums with Google’s 360° technology. Thanks to the internet, we can learn a great deal about the world from the comfort of the classroom.

1. International days or week

2. Cultural diversity in the classroom

3. Sustainable Development Goals

4. International trips or videoconferences

5. Global stories through literature

6. Local, national and international events

7. Volunteering activities

8. Teachers with international experience

9. Visits with a global perspective

In general, we can find many opportunities to reflect on the world around us in the classroom. Once again, teachers’ personal experiences and training play a key role in developing students’ global competence. In order to pass on this global competence, teachers must have an open mindset, be respectful of human rights, be well informed and possess principles and critical awareness. They must also find the time and create opportunities to debate what is happening in the world with students from different perspectives.

By working in this way, global competence is a guaranteed success in young people’s education and they become empathetic and understanding global citizens. This is the path that we follow at centres from the Best Schools in Spain network to help build a better world.


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