Thursday, March 13, 2014

16 Trends: # 11 and 12 International Mindedness

The management of our diversity is critical to our future.  If we manage it well it will enrich us.  If we don't manage it well it will divide us.  - Gary Marx

The IBO has an idea of the type of students it hopes will graduate from its schools: the kind of student who "in the struggle to establish a personal set of values will be laying the foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop and flourish."  One of the ways that international-mindedness can be encouraged to develop is to "provide students with opportunities for learning about issues that have local, national and global significance, leading to an understanding of human commonalities."

Trend 11 considers the movement from narrowness to open-minded.  Gone are the days of sole superpowers and a bipolar world - now countries are more likely to see themselves as interdependent and understand the need, therefore to join together to take on the challenges and opportunities that are facing everyone on the planet.  Schools can contribute to this in a small way too.  In our recent Tech Audit I've been talking to teachers about the NETS-S Standard 2C which encourages teachers to use technology tools to develop cultural understanding and global awareness through engaging with learners of other cultures.  This could involve a classroom to classroom exchange of stories and information about their lives, communities and culture through blogs, email, video chats and so on, eventually leading to working on global collaborative projects.

Trend 12 looks at further at the movement away from isolationism and independence and towards interdependence.  It notes the strengthening of relationships between governments in areas such as peace-keeping, environmental issues and human rights.  The business community is also seeing the advantages of coming together to develop, sell or purchase products and services.  In the scientific and educational worlds we are seeing huge face to face and virtual conferences as well as many smaller projects to share information, conduct research and "meeting" to discuss areas of interest, for example in Twitter chats.  In this way I have built many personal relationships with teachers around the world whom I have never met, but whom I interact with regularly.  Scientists and educators alike see the need for working together to advance scientific discoveries or to share educational knowledge and expertise.

Gary Marx writes that in the future: "Growing numbers of people will live and work outside their home country, hold a job with a multinational organization, have their lives affected by social or economic conditions in another part of the world, or realize they can only be successful by working with people from many different cultures and who are different from themselves."  He goes on to argue that students who leave school without some grounding in international education may turn out to be the new disadvantaged.

Photo Credit: Beverly & Pack via Compfight cc

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