“Education must be not only a transmission of culture but also a provider of alternative views of the world and a strengthener of skills to explore them.” Jerome S. Bruner
Global citizenship is a way of thinking and living that recognizes that all of us in the world are interconnected and interdependent. Our community is not just our small school, town, or state, but can also be viewed through the wider lens of citizen of the world. At The Cooper School, we believe that global citizenship is important. When you think of yourself as a global citizen, you develop a deep respect for others, no matter where they live. You are able to make decisions and form beliefs based on a clear understanding of how the world actually works, and the diversity that it includes. Media, travel, migration, politics, economics, social media and telecommunications means that today we are linked to people of every continent every day. We want to nurture thoughtful, flexible, prepared citizens that understand how to communicate and collaborate across cultures, and grow to contribute to the formation of a better world.
We know that everything we do sends a message to our students. If we want to affirm beliefs about the equality of all human beings and the importance of treating everyone fairly and with respect, we need to ensure that our learning processes and relationships reinforce and reflect these values. Therefore, the concept of global citizenship softly permeates everything we do. It is behind the scenes of the continent and indigenous peoples studies that occur in each grade. It is brought to bear as our students learn how to greet each other in our three world languages. It can be heard as the choir learns Portuguese folk songs. It is present as dumplings are shared for Chinese New Year and a galettes des rois is devoured. Of course, it is always deeply entrenched in our explicit teaching of social emotional concepts such as gratitude, wonder, joy, creativity, flexibility and compassion.
One of our favorite ways to promote Global Citizenship is in December as we commence our study of Holiday Migrations. During this month, teachers present the migrations of many different holidays across time and place. We also choose a theme to connect the study. In years past we have focused on food, light, music, and gratitude. This year, we will focus on symbols as we learn about Winter Solstice, Chanukah, Christmas, St. Lucia Day, Kwanza, Tamkharit and Los Posadas.
“Before you finish eating breakfast this morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.” Martin Luther King, Jr.