Global Citizenship [Educator Edition]

Global Citizenship [Educator Edition]

Over the years we’ve had the chance to work with some inspiring and truly amazing Educators.

For that reason, we took the opportunity to ask several of them the guiding question:

What does Global Citizenship mean to you?

Let’s hear their thoughts…

What Educators have to say about Global Citizenship

Everyone has their own perspective on what Global Citizenship means and how to educate future generations when approaching the concept.

We value the experience and intention these educators bring to the discussion and hope that sharing their perspectives can start a dialogue that can add value to your communities.

– Responses listed in the order they were received –

d’Arcy Lunn – teaspoons of change


Global citizenship means many things to me.

The question I have been asking myself and 10’s of thousands of others in Teaspoons of Change presentations and workshops is:

What is a global citizen and how to be an active and effective one?

To me that means knowing my personal choices, decisions and actions are connected to people and planet.

Global citizenship can live in anyone, everyone, no matter where or who they are.

We all have the ability to feel connected to everyone else in the world, our shared humanity and our shared planet providing life.

As a global citizenship educator, it is not enough to think and feel as a global citizen it is important for it to be personal and practical and that is why on a 1000km walk in Japan I created Teaspoons of Change – small but significant ideas and action that have a positive impact on people and the planet.

The challenge for me and to share with others is how to show that our small actions do count and we can have so many positive impacts in the world.

So global citizenship for me is all about being connected.

I connect with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development which are 17 goals for the whole world to work towards ending extreme poverty, reducing inequality and protecting the planet.

I also connect my daily choices and actions with them as well. When we feel connected as a global citizen, where our actions matter, and we believe we can make Teaspoons of Change to create a better world then we are just as significant, important and effective as any UN worker, NGO advocate or social justice warrior.

I always use the formula: small actions X lots of people = BIG change! We are all global citizens and my daily pursuit and actions are in becoming, and sharing how to be, an active and effective one!

As an educator, I spend the bulk of my time with teenagers and see that, intrinsically, young people deeply want to find purpose in the art of living.

So often, mainstream culture emphasizes values that run counter to a true sense of purpose, encouraging consumerism and monetary success and all kinds of extrinsic markers of success that have nothing to do with living deliberately and with making our world a better place.

Therefore, when I think of global citizenship, I envision helping young people explore ideas and projects where they can experience what it feels like to be a changemaker and to imagine a better future for our planet and its people.

I imagine engaged young people who are passionate about the environment, humans right, justice for all and so much more. I see these changemakers engaged in deep dialogue and relevant action, working together to create peace, kindness, empathy and positive change.

Steve SostakInspire Citizens

Global Citizenship is a calling.

David Brooks recently asked the question, “Where does the world’s deepest problem meet one’s deepest need?”

This is the question that helped guide me, as a teacher, towards identifying a void in our educational systems and a void in my personal wellbeing.

It centered on three core questions:

  1. What is a deep problem outside of me that I can help to solve?
  2. Why did I become a teacher?
  3. How do I want to be remembered by my students?

In discovering this global competency void in our education systems, my solution and personal calling became a drive to discover and create ways to best embed global competency into all aspects of my class environment.

This became my core mission: A moral imperative to provide my students access to the complex, interconnected nuances of a challenging world. Every day, as a teacher, I must guide my students towards seeking authentic and sustainable solutions. As a teacher, I must mentor students navigating through the noise of surface media with the desire and curiosity to seek integrity and truth.

As a teacher, I must open kids’ hearts to care, open their minds to be curious and aware, provide them the skills to be change makers, and allow their confidence to blossom into deep and meaningful action.

The results have filled me with joy: Students succeeding as whole children; students full of curiosity; students that are less narcissistic; students that are happier and more balanced; students passionate about having a voice for change; and students at ease with the search to find their own callings, which when combined with others, can truly make our world a better place, overflowing with empathy and good.

Having thought about this concept a lot as an educator, I prefer the (sorry, Google) definition of citizenship:

1. The state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen.

2. The character of an individual viewed as a member of society; behavior in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen: an award for good citizenship.

Here’s what I like about it: I like that it elaborates on the idea of position or status to the “rights, privileges and duties” that are vested within being a citizen.

That starts to get at what global citizenship truly means to me.

Despite the fact that there is no global state, we do all, by virtue of being Earthlings, belong to the globe and to this shared planet and system. And with that, we have certain rights and privileges accorded to us, but perhaps more importantly, certain duties.

By belonging to a shared planet, a shared globe, we have to stop and examine what good citizenship means to us.

We have to consider the duties we have to one another, beyond nation-states, beyond our passport defined identities, and take responsibilities for the shared ways in which we affect one another.

As an educator, I see this as a fundamental part of learning and the role of schools as learning communities.

Schools are not only preparatory institutions for universities or career development; rather, I believe schools have a moral imperative to help develop students’ understanding of citizenship and how they contribute to our shared world.

Together with parents, schools play a key part in helping young people to recognize their place in the world and all of the rights and responsibilities that come along with it. So, global citizenship isn’t a school program. It’s not a separate class. It’s not a set of activities. It’s not something in addition to academics.

Global citizenship is both the basis from which all education should be formed and the overarching vision for what we strive to achieve in schools.

What does Global Citizenship mean to You?

A HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to this awesome post! Please share if you think it was useful!

Now it’s your turn…

Tell us your definition of global citizenship?

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