CANADIAN SOCIAL STUDIES
This paper examines the whole notion of global education by discussing theoretical and practical understandings by major figures in the field. Global education is a recent addition in social studies and there are many different understandings and conceptual which effectively teach the concepts in schools as part of the entire curriculum. A review of the explanation of Hanvey's five dimensions and the four-dimensional model of global education by Pike & Selby as well as other figures in the field of global awareness and education are outlined. These understandings are used to form the conclusion that all students need to learn about global issues in school in order to become living and practicing citizens in our ever-changing global society. In teaching social studies the need exists to shift from the Eurocentric way of examining the curriculum and looking at it from multiple perspectives.
In our rapidly changing
society, an urgent need exists for schools to address and infuse global
awareness into curriculum instruction. Students are increasingly confronted
with many issues that require a global education focus. According
to Kirkwood (2001), these students will face a new world order thereby
creating a need to acquire a global education. He states:
Their daily contacts will include individuals from diverse ethnic, gender, linguistic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds. They will experience some of history's most serious health problems, inequities among less-developed and more-developed nations, environmental deterioration, overpopulation transnational migrations, ethnic nationalism, and the decline of the nation-state. (Kirkwood, 2001, p. 2)
Therefore, I feel that a relevant curriculum is needed to help students of differing worldviews to understand and function effectively in the social, cultural and economic worlds and to be able to understand the notion of globalization and the role of global education.
According to Werner and Case (1997), movements to promote a global perspective within social studies are due to the state of the planet as a whole and an understanding of how its systems - political, cultural, economic, ecological, and technological - are linked and how these are manifested in relationships. Werner & Case (1997) introduce the importance of differing perspectives by stating "global education has been associated with curriculum reform advocating a more global perspective on the world. A need exists for students to examine the world from varying perspectives and to become aware of the complex interrelationships that characterize it" (p. 177).
Kirkwood (2001) describes globally educated people as "those who possess high-tech skills, broad interdisciplinary knowledge about the contemporary world, and adaptability, flexibility, and world mindedness to participate effectively in the globalized world" (p. 11). Therefore, the teacher needs to strive for and possess the above characteristics in order to validate her/himself as an educated person of the 21st century. Following the crisis of September 11th, Merryfield (2002) posits the question, "Did teachers possess sufficient knowledge of relevant cultures, their beliefs, felt needs, histories, political economies and their past and present relationships with the United States to be able to provide students with the necessary background information?" (p. 148). This question needs to be further explored and there is no better time than now due to the dilapidating state of our planet to begin to address the concern for a more holistic and deeper understanding of the world.
Given the above rationale, this paper will discuss the differing interpretations, opinions, and definitions of global education and how the social studies curriculum can help students critically examine their own perspectives and connections in the local, national, and global levels. All children, regardless of their race and culture, have a right to be educated and must be given tools to help them develop attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to become competent, responsible, and humane citizens of their community. Children need to develop cross-cultural skills and attitudes in order to become effective citizens in a very diverse and pluralistic world.
Differing Global Perspectives
Perhaps the most important step in understanding and incorporating global education in classrooms and communities is to understand and relate to the themes of global awareness as presented by experts in the field. Hanvey (1976), one of the first scholarly experts to give a comprehensive definition of the concept "global awareness", proposes five dimensions that prepare students to achieve global awareness. These include perspective consciousness, state-of-the-planet awareness, cross-cultural awareness, knowledge of global dynamics, and awareness of human choices. Haavenson, Savukova, and Mason (1998/99) conducted their research on United States and Russian perspectives on teacher education reform and global education and found that these dimensions form the first level known as attitude formation upon which global education can be implemented. The second level is the development of cognition skills and the third level is an integrated view of the world. An explanation of Hanvey's five dimensions, paraphrased by Kirkwood (2001) and Haavenson et al. (1998/99) is provided below and an explanation of the other two levels will be identified.
Perspective consciousness refers to an awareness of and appreciation for other images of the world and that a person's worldview is neither universally shared, nor necessarily right, yet may be profoundly different. It is the realization that an individual's worldview is both a matter of conscious opinions and ideas and more importantly to subconscious evaluations, conceptions and unexamined assumptions. Perspectives are shaped by ethnic, religious, differences in age, sex, and social status, among many other factors. These differences, as stated by Haavenson et al. (1998/99), "have been one of the main causes of conflict and confrontation in the history of mankind" (p.38).
The authors go on to say that, "It is important to teach students to look upon a certain phenomenon or event from different perspectives so as to encourage respect and appreciation for beliefs, customs, and values different from their own" (p. 38). It is not only about racial and cultural differences, instead, a pluralistic view needs to be taken when looking at global perspectives.
State-of-the-planet awareness requires comprehension of prevailing world conditions, developments, trends, and problems that are confronting the world community. It includes an in-depth understanding of global issues such as population growth, migrations, economic disparities, depletion of resources, and international conflicts, that require global learners to be aware of the world around them. Children need to be made aware that what affects the world affects them as well. In elementary school, students can be taught to make decisions about ways to prevent disaster by studying the consequences of environmental illiteracy.
This dimension includes the diversity of ideas and practices in human societies and how these ideas and practices are found in human societies around the world, including concepts of how others might view one's own society as perceived from other vantage points. According to Hanvey (1976), this dimension is the most difficult to attain most likely because it refers to the highest level of global cognition. The misconception about cross-cultural awareness is that people consider it no more than a set of stereotypes that do more harm than good as superficial knowledge engenders prejudice.
An effective way to promote cross-cultural awareness, as explained by Haavenson et al. (1998/99), is by showing videos and then having discussions with students about these films to help them in separating stereotypical views from those that are more authentic.
Knowledge of global
Knowledge of global dynamics refers to an understanding of the world as an interconnected system of complex traits and mechanisms and unanticipated consequences. A high level of sophistication on the part of the student is required because understanding these processes is difficult to achieve due to the unanticipated effects on the human condition. It includes a consciousness of global change and cannot be acquired through mass media. Haavenson et al. (1998/99) explain that "[s]tudents learn to identify subtle cause-effect relationships, anticipate side effects, model processes and make decisions about eliminating or altering undesirable consequences" (p. 40). Students may be asked to create webs of the factors influencing the issue, to suggest feasible solutions, and to foresee possible side effects of such actions.
Awareness of human
Hanvey (1976) challenges global thinkers to realize the problems of choice confronting individuals and nations as consciousness and knowledge of global systems expand. It is related to global dynamics in such a way that it focuses on making choices and develops a sense of responsibility for making decisions made which affect future generations. It also includes an awareness of the interconnectedness of individual, national, and international settings. It fosters a sense of responsible citizenship on the local and global levels. Students may be introduced to alternatives on thought and behaviour by looking at relationships and interactions between man and the world. Students are asked to account for their choices and are taught to be tolerant toward the view of others.
In their study with teachers, Haavenson et al. (1998/99) posits that the second level of global education implementation is cognition focused. This means that life demands both a thorough knowledge of a domain combined with a broad perspective of the world. This is similar to the 'interconnections' theme that Werner & Case (1997) identify and develop which explores both the international and inter-system linkages and conclude that we live in an interconnected world. Therefore students must be encouraged to see the different ways in which one situation is influenced by and influences others. Further exploration in the topic is explained by Haavenson et al (1998/99) that the brain often searches for common patterns and relationships and seeks to connect new knowledge with prior experiences that result in the fact that cognition operates in all concepts. The traditional approach of filling the minds with facts and information that students are simply asked to memorize and reproduce does nothing to promote global awareness and teachers must keep this in mind when working to plan curriculum. Instead, students need experience in critical thinking, in taking part in cross-cultural experiences, and to make decisions and substantiate them. In the study by Haavenson et al. (1998/99), students are taught to think for themselves and to be able to stand their ground. The authors advise that the atmosphere created by the teacher is very important.
The third level of global education implementation is an integrated view of the world as explained by Haavenson et. al. (1998/99). They state that "the third level aims to create a specific picture of the world where geographical, physical and linguistic features all fit into a complex pattern" (p. 43). This means that all discipline-focused world perspectives need to overlap due to the interdependence of facts, events, and phenomena. For instance, university interdisciplinary courses may be the most effective way to create a cross-disciplinary perspective.
Global Awareness Elements
Case (1993) identifies five key substantive elements that keep people informed of a range of global topics. The first element describes the universal values and cultural practices, and the second includes global interconnections, which refers to the study of the workings of the four major interactive global systems: economic, political, ecological, and technological. The third presents worldwide concerns and conditions such as development and peace issues while the fourth forms the origins and past patterns of worldwide affairs such as global history and geography. The last presents alternative future directions in worldwide affairs. In addition to these substantive elements, he proposes perceptual elements that should be addressed which include open mindedness, resistance to stereotyping, anticipation of complexity, empathy, and nonchauvinism.
Kirkwood (2001) analyses
Case's elements and explains that the substantive elements listed
above "includes the objects of global education that incorporate
the contemporary events, conditions and locations in the world that
Hanvey (1976) addresses within the state of the planet awareness dimension"
(p. 7). The perceptual elements focus on the development of world
mindedness and empathy and resistance to prejudicial thinking as well
as stereotyping and cross-cultural knowledge. These elements are similar
to the Hanvey dimensions of perspective consciousness and cross-cultural
Case (1993) and Hanvey (1976) provide similar definitions for global awareness even though the terminology they use is different.
Merry M. Merryfield, one of the leading scholars in the field of global education, combines the definitions of other scholars and provides us with a current framework in this field today. Kirkwood (2001) lists Merryfield's eight elements which include: human beliefs and values global systems, global issues and problems, cross-cultural understanding, awareness of human choices, global history, acquisition of indigenous knowledge, and development of analytical, evaluative, and participatory skills. Kirkwood (2001) concludes that "Merryfield's work contributes significantly in reducing, if not eliminating, the definitional ambiguities that still linger in the field" (p. 10).
of Global Awareness
Kirkwood (2001) presents another dimension to the definition of global education that Lamy (1987) identifies as the acquisition of knowledge transmitted by indigenous people. He concludes that a global education must include knowledge about the contributions of native people who are representing the views of their world. In his words, "The teaching of historical and contemporary events must be balanced by listening to indigenous voices" (Kirkwood, 2001, p. 9).
To provide further elaboration in regards to listening to Indigenous voices, Battiste and Henderson (2000) think of globalization as a new threatening transformation that is emerging. In the introduction of their book, they state that, "Globalization with its cognitive and linguistic imperialism is the modern force that is taking our heritages, knowledge, and creativity" (p. 11). For Indigenous people it is not just physical survival that concerns them; it is an issue of "maintaining Indigenous worldviews, languages, and environments" (p. 12). It is ironic that the world looks to Indigenous people for help in order to solve the world's crisis that its worldview has created. Battiste and Henderson (2000) state that "in view of the history of relations between the colonizers and the colonized, this is an extraordinarily bold request."(p. 11).
The work of David Selby and Graham Pike has brought new understandings in regards to ecological awareness or 'state of the planet awareness' as outlined by Hanvey. They have been influential in the global education field in the 1980's and are known nation wide. Influenced mainly by Richardson and Hanvey in the 1970's they have worked mainly with secondary schools. Hicks (2003) in his review of global education discusses the work of Selby & Pike. He explains that in 1988 they further developed the conceptual map of the field and highlighted what they called 'the four dimensions of globality'. These dimensions make up the core elements of global education. The first is 'issues dimension', which embraces five major problem areas and solutions to them: inequality/equality, injustice/justice, conflict/peace; environmental damage/care; alienation/participation. The second is 'spatial dimension' which emphasizes exploration of the local-global connections that exist in relation to these issues, including the nature of both interdependency and dependency. The third is 'temporal dimension' that emphasizes exploration of the interconnections that exist between past, present, and future in relation to such issues and in particular scenarios of preferred futures. The fourth is the 'process dimension' that emphasizes a participatory and experiential pedagogy which explores differing value perspectives and leads to politically aware local-global citizenship. Selby and Pike then relate this to both individual subjects in the curriculum and whole-school case studies.
Hicks (2003) further explains that each of these four elements needs to be present before one can claim to be involved in global education. Both Selby & Pike have written extensively on the importance of ecological thinking in global education and this is evident within the four-dimensional model that they propose for global education. It needs to be stressed that the environmental health of the world is just as important as taking care of all humanity and that the two must work together simultaneously. For example when explaining the 'spatial dimension' Selby (1998) writes that "this dimension also concerns the cycles and systems of nature and the relationships between human society and the environment" (p. 4).
Hicks (2003) explains that the 'temporal dimension' is a futures perspective that "looks at how global issues affect and are affected by interrelationships between past, present and future" (p. 269). He goes on to say that "this works to help young people think more critically and creatively about the future, especially in relation to creating more just and sustainable futures" (p. 269).
Making Sense of Varying Definitions and Perspectives
Given the comprehensive
and overlapping definitions of global awareness and perspectives as
they relate to global education it is evident that similar views are
presented. The following reaction will analyze the strengths and weaknesses
of the interpretations and what implications they have for global
Hanvey's (1976) description of global awareness doesn't include the relationship between perspective consciousness and the power one holds either locally or globally. According to Merryfield and Subedi (2001), this makes a significant difference. They explain this relationship by explaining how "the development of perspective consciousness differs considerably depending upon the degree to which students perceive that people like themselves are on the margins or in the center of their society" (p. 280). DuBois (1989) wrote of double consciousness as a coping response to racism: "Black children grew up conscious not only of their own culture learned from family and community but also the white culture that designated them an inferior race, a problem to be solved" (p. 280). Merryfield (2000) states that "DuBois' conceptualization of double consciousness helps to explain why people who are placed on the margins develop the ability to perceive multiple realities by looking at events and issues both through the perspectives of people in the mainstream and people on the margins" (p. 441).
Conflicts and misunderstandings that occur in present day classrooms seem to be an indication of this. If this double consciousness does not develop in white people due to their race-based dominant position and if the majority of teacher educators are middle class, white, more male than female; then it is difficult to expect that the ways of looking at the world in classrooms is looked at from multiple perspectives. Although these teachers might interact with people different from them it is always from a privileged position. Merryfield and Subedi (2001) also state that "white people because of their race-based dominant position did not develop double consciousness" (p.280).
Battiste and Henderson (2000) further elaborate on this perspective consciousness by saying that Indigenous students, "experience what scholar W.E.B Du Bois, in The Souls of Black Folk referred to as "double consciousness" (p. 88). They give a further explanation of double consciousness that states, "Double consciousness occurs when the dominators reject the assertions of the colonized that they are human and insist on imposing the standards of the colonizers as universal and normal (p. 88). According to the above explanation it can be concluded that a global perspective does not mean a universal perspective. A universalism exists even in colonialism and imperialism. This has privileged a few and alienated many.
Colonization makes a difference in the way that Indigenous people view and accept globalization. Battiste (2000) states, "Indigenous scholars are now struggling to define Indigenous humanity. First they need to understand the systems of thought that gave rise to this alienation, and then they need to create a shared language both sides can use to discuss education, science, epic storytelling of huge devastation, painful struggle and persistent survival" (p. 13). Indigenous students need to begin to analyze knowledge and information and to be given the opportunities to participate in meaningful dialogue and interactions.
Wilson (2000) in a paper on lessons from Ghana further articulates this double consciousness by saying, "we may be conscious of our own perspective but often are not aware how strongly our nationality, our culture, and our experiences inform that perspective" (p. 2/8). Hanvey (1976), Case (1993), Merryfield (2000), among others, mention this and I agree that it is the first step in developing multiple perspectives. It is not enough to look at the world through one's own sunglasses, we must experience the world by taking another's sunglasses and looking through them in order to begin making sense of other worldviews.
In the same article, Wilson (2000) explains that along with fellow teachers he gains knowledge about the world from similar kinds of sources that include, course work in school, media, interaction with people from different countries, and people met while traveling. In the same way we can conclude that cross-cultural experiences, watching videos, reading online newspapers from other countries and organizing these activities around the expectation of free expression of ideas, respect for differing viewpoints, active participation and a desire to communicate are all effective ways in creating a global perspective. Textbooks and media sources used in order to retrieve information are not enough; rather meaningful experiences and reading and discussing books written by writers of differing cultures are more effective.
Edward Said, a Christian
Palestinian who grew up in Egypt, makes sense of how perspectives
are informed by defining the meaning of the East versus the West.
He came to the United States and studied literary theory and came
to understand that Americans had more myths than theories about the
Middle East. He forms another perspective in the topic of global education
by writing about embedded cultural understandings. Said provides a
good description of how scholarly misinformation of different cultures
came about and captures this idea in the following quote paraphrased
by Merryfield (2003):
In his seminal work "Orientalism" Said demonstrates how European explorers, intellectuals, missionaries, settlers, travel writers, and others created scholarly misinformation because they relied on their own cultural frames of reference to describe, catalog, and interpret the cultures of Arabs, Muslims, Asians, Africans, and others. Five hundred years of this orientalist scholarship served both political goals and cultural beliefs in that it clearly differentiated Europeans as superior to other peoples and affirmed the European right to rule and "civilize" Africans, Asians, Arabs, Indians, etc. (p. 13)
Merryfield (2003) explains that Said's writings are useful to teachers in that they help explain the thinking and pedagogy of exemplary global educators who challenge "colonialisms" in the social studies. His work helps teachers to understand and see how the legacy of imperialism shapes mainstream academic knowledge through its framework of "us" and "them". This refers to "us" (the white men who created the dominant power and represent its ideals and "them" (the others who are divided from "us" by their inferior cultures, poverty, politics, language or other differences)" (p. 13). Social studies curriculum must go beyond European or American constructions of knowledge and must teach experiences, knowledge, and perspectives of diverse peoples in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. (Merryfield and Subedi, 2001).
Selby (1998) states that global education is nothing less than the educational expression of an ecological holistic or systemic paradigm and as such has implications for the nature, purposes and processes of learning and for every aspect of the functioning of a school or other learning community (p. 2). Selby and Pike's research has led us to believe that "global education is a holistic paradigm that encompasses the interconnectedness of communities, lands and peoples and interrelatedness of all social, cultural and natural phenomena" (p. 1).
Teaching Social Studies
The first step towards global awareness is the shaping of attitudes. There needs to be a shift from the traditional Eurocentric way of looking at the curriculum and incorporating more emphasis on critical thinking and decision-making skills. White (2002) in his article states that "Students who can think for themselves and look critically at societal problems will find their classroom a more exciting and challenging place. Engaging students in learning through dialogue enhances their journey to knowledge and competency" (p. 265). Focusing, understanding, and applying the Hanvey (1976) dimensions combined with substantive and perceptual elements by Case (1983) are an important first step in creating a global awareness in children. However, understandings must include the concept of double consciousness and other ways of knowing that Du Bois and other indigenous writers such as Battiste, Henderson and Hampton discuss.
White (2002) discusses the need for social studies to change in reaction to the constantly changing world. The subject of social studies has been ethnocentric and intent on socialization, instead of focusing on critical citizenship. He proposes that the most effective way to engage children in learning about global perspectives is that they view the world as a planet-wide society and understand the interdependence of human beings" (p. 262). As mentioned previously, teachers will need to develop a global knowledge, to experience cross-cultural experiences and to expand their own perspectives of the world in order to help students achieve the goals.
In order to view the world as a planet wide society, it is important to look at the work of Selby and Pike. They stress a four-dimensional model of global education as core elements of the program and relate this to both the individual subjects in the curriculum and whole-school case studies. One aim that Pike and Selby (1988) have pointed out is 'health of the planet awareness'. The aim states that "students should acquire an awareness and understanding of the global condition and of global developments and trends and to develop a future orientation in their reflection upon the health of the planet" (p. 268). Children need to possess an awareness and understanding of the global condition and of global developments and trends in order to become active in making sound choices and effective decisions at a variety of levels.
A challenge exists for society to make a definite change in the area of global education. Hanvey's definition of global awareness does not reflect this and it appears to be politically neutral. The elements that he identifies send a clear message that the world needs to make changes in order for the planet as a whole to sustain itself. However, it does not really challenge people to making a definite change. It builds a foundation needed for society to change attitudes but does not indicate any radical ways to accomplish this. In order to begin to make changes definite plans need to be implemented. Personal, family, classroom and community goals need to be followed through and at the same time it is important to keep in mind that plans need to fit into one's world-view. The Eurocentric way of action planning does not work for everyone and perhaps there are alternative ways that communities can work together to achieve certain goals. Hanvey's intent was only to create awareness and to instigate people into thinking in a global way and is a great start.
The media is another area where caution needs to be exercised in the area of forming perspectives. Media influences Eurocentric thinking and instead of depending on what the media presents students can find other sources of information and compare understandings. Other ways to get information is through cross-cultural interactions, presentations by guest speakers, videos, biographies and documentaries and books among many others. Students need to be informed with current up to date material and then given a chance to reflect on this information. Therefore, it is important that there be a reflection component to encourage further critical and decision making thinking. Reflection could take place by using discussion boards, e-mails, chats, journals, and any other way that students feel comfortable. These are all effective ways to gain substantive knowledge about the world and its systems and perceptual understandings especially if a follow up with constructive feedback is given. This method validates children's knowledge and strengthens their confidence in decision-making and in self-esteem. Teachers must educate themselves first in local, global and national knowledge systems of the world and continue learning about global issues together with their students.
Merryfield (2001) describes the need for decolonizing of the mind to take place in order to incorporate global education. This makes sense because how can one truly understand the notion of globalization if one's culture is looked down upon and seen as inferior to mainstream culture and where European history remains at the center of world history. The Kenyan playwright and scholar Ngugi wa Thiong refers to the concept of decolonizing the mind in the article written by Merryfield and Subedi (2001). As Thiong states, "a colonial mentality deeply permeates many Kenyan's thinking today because it is not only embedded but unexamined" (p. 281). Aboriginal people in Canada experience this phenomenon as well. They are not conscious of how oppressors force their worldview on their lives and therefore other societal problems such as physical/mental abuse, poverty, and addictions that seem to be separated from colonization become apparent. A tremendous amount of energy that goes into dealing with societal problems often neglects to look at imperial colonization. Merryfield (2001) explains this by stating, "later generations people may never realize that their ideas and choices are affected by colonialist or neo-colonialist perspectives" (p. 282).
In order to teach global perspectives as mentioned throughout this paper there is a need to decolonize the Social Studies. Merryfield (2001) discusses a strategy that teachers can use to accomplish this. Global educators use contrapuntal or opposing histories and literature to describe how they challenge the Eurocentric selection of historical events. To teach multiple perspectives or alternative histories instead of using a single universal history is crucial for students to critically examine and question their own historical understandings. This needs to be accomplished by current information and accurate content that includes the knowledge, voices and ideas of people from these regions. Haavenson et al. (1998/99) go on to explain that it is important to exercise the implementation in classrooms of the dimensions of perspective consciousness through the selection of updated, globally relevant content (p .41).
It is also important to keep in mind that it is not only the oppressed that form a colonized mind. Many young people are acculturated into thinking that white is superior. This gives a false sense of security that perpetuates across generations. McLaren (1995) explains that the white culture needs to be interrogated as well. He states, "unless we give white students a sense of their own identity as an emergent identity -we naturalize whiteness as a cultural marker against which otherness is defined" (p. 50). Smith (2000) states that the self identity of Western civilization for the last three hundred years is a myth and that a "far more profound truth may be that there is no Self without Others, no Me without You (p. 4 of 5). It is important to stay clear from the embedded ways of thinking of the "us" versus "them" attitude.
Researching this topic makes me realize that there is so much more that needs to be explored and examined in the area of global education. The challenge of reversing the effects of cultural imperialism and of colonization is far beyond what a few groups of nations can manage. Informed educators are needed to present global awareness topics and to create trusting atmosphere in classrooms. All children of the world are entitled to education. This would be a great start in enlarging the global perspective of all society. Education is meant to change people for the better and to create prosperous, productive and meaningful lives. All nations of the world are related and there is no one race or cultures that is better than the other. This is all the reason more to teach social studies with a global perspective infused throughout with the themes, elements, and new understandings that are explained in this paper.
The role of the teacher, as described by Smith (2000), clearly enhances the atmosphere and the requirements for a successful classroom that enhances true learning in global education. He explains this by saying, "a successful classroom is a place where each student feels that indeed they have a place; a place, over time, where relationships can be trusted, where inner dreams as well as demons can be shared without ridicule by both teachers and students alike, where individual differences of color, creed and origin are seen as contributive to a shared future" (p. 4). He goes on to explain that it is not necessary to have all the answers and solutions but more importantly to work consistently at creating a successful classroom experience. My own interpretation of Smith's expression in this statement is that the importance of putting forth one's best effort and at the same time to keep in mind that the process or the journey of accomplishing a task or unit of study is more important than seeing the final result. It is too superficial to assume that all things will run smoothly but to take these experiences and to learn from them.
The definitions lead us to thinking that the aim is moving towards
a less ethnocentric, less single-focussed worldview. As educators,
we need to form connections with all systems of our planet. A West
African proverb says, "The world is like a Mask dancing; we cannot
see it well if we stand in one place". In the same way, as social
studies educators, we can broaden our understanding of teaching and
become informed in other ways of knowing and understanding. We need
to instill in our students a curiosity of the world and a desire to
work together in making our world a better place to live in. We need
to create a place where all races and cultures of the world learn
to respect each other's ways of looking at the world where all perspectives
are respected and encouraged. An overall goal in social studies classrooms,
therefore, is to create a place where all students can practice and
live as responsible citizens in a pluralistic society. We just have
to stand in another place and listen to all perspectives.
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