International, But Not Global?

 

AIED Forum, Continuing Coverage
AIED Council hosted the 2013 International Education Development Forum on April 9-11 in Beijing. We had many fine speakers throughout the event, which had the theme of "Opening the Door and Creating a Culturally Powerful Country." We will be rolling out articles on the event over the next few weeks for our continuing forum and conference coverage. -Ryan Allen- 

 

International, But Not Global?
Steps for a true globally integrated school.

There has been a proliferation of international schools around the world. These schools teach a curriculum catered towards an international environment, usually through the International Baccalaureate or by through pedagogy rooted in an education system non-native to the country the school is located in. But, does this simple equate to “global” education? Paul Miller, Senior Director of Global Initiatives at National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) doesn’t think so.

“[M]any international schools now serve mostly home-country students, and international students may not be properly integrated,” said Miller, in a presentation at the AEID forum in Beijing.  “(Which are) used as source of revenue.”

A true global education is one that students not only learn about the world but “they learn IN the world” too, contended Miller.

For Miller, there is a comprehensive and proper way to allow this integration. First, the school must contain a multi-disciplinary curriculum, one that intensively focuses on languages at an early age.

Next, the school should offer educational trips for its students, but also to the teachers for professional development on the global level. Important to this step, exchanges of both faculty and students should be implemented, to bring different perspectives into the school.

To help facilitate these exchanges and trips, Miller suggested that schools should create partnerships with sister schools abroad or NGOs in other countries. AIED Council strongly endorses this point, as we currently aid schools in making these connections.

Online collaboration through web platforms or other communication tools was Miller’s last step for school global integration. NAIS, Miller’s organization, offers free online cooperation tools to all schools around the world, not just to its some 1470 school members, while we at AIED continue to promote these kinds of services—such as Skype or new media utilization.

Through the suggestions listed above, students, faculty, and administrators can find an empathy that is needed for a global perspective. Miller suggested that this goes beyond “tolerance,” and allows for the “capacity to be part of another’s experience.”

Finally, Mr. Miller introduced the term “glocal” education, a combination of global and local. Education should be about creating citizens that can succeed in their own localities, as well as globally.

“Schools are motivating students to participate in initiatives locally and then reach out regionally, nationally and internationally,” said Miller.

At AIED, we agree with Miller. Our mission, values, and goals align with the “glocal” education concept and we are actively advocating similar steps for global integration. We want to foster learning across cultures, to make better citizens and a more empathetic world.    

  



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