Folium: Twenty Expert Tips On Raising A Globally-Minded Child via Babble

Folium: Twenty Expert Tips On Raising A Globally-Minded Child via Babble

Folium: Twenty Expert Tips On Raising A Globally-Minded Child via Babble
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Folium: Twenty Expert Tips On Raising A Globally-Minded Child via Babble

America is failing to produce a new generation of global citizens.  Only 37 percent of Americans hold a passport.  Fewer than 2 percent of America’s 18 million college students go abroad during their undergraduate years; when they do, it’s mostly for brief vacation-like stints to England, Spain, or Italy.  Only a quarter of American public primary schools provide foreign-language instruction, and the last 15 years have shown a serious decline in the number of high schools offering French, German, Latin, Japanese, or Russian.  The number of U.S. schools teaching Chinese and Arabic is negligible.

Meanwhile, 200 million Chinese schoolchildren are currently studying English.  South Korean parents recently made a collective protest, demanding their children begin English instruction in first grade, rather than in second.  Nearly 700,000 students from around the world attended U.S. universities during the 2009–2010 school year, with the greatest increases from China and Saudi Arabia.  “Not training our kids to be able to work and live in an international environment is like leaving them illiterate,” says David Boren, the former U.S. senator and current President of the University of Oklahoma.  The gap between our global ambition and our global reality is world-wide.

In spring 2010 at the Asia Society in New York, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated:

In this global economy, the line between domestic and international issues is increasingly blurred, with the world’s economies, societies, and people interconnected as never before.   We haven’t been compelled to meet our global neighbors on their own terms, and learn   about their histories, values, and viewpoints.  I am worried that in this interconnected world, our country risks being disconnected from the contributions of other countries and cultures. Through education and exchange, we can become better collaborators and competitors in the global economy.

Duncan further emphasized that language learning and international education at all levels are important components of a world-class education.

Global education can instill in children a sense of belonging to a larger world community, which fosters the idea that world systems are interconnected and interdependent.  Equally as important is the concept of sustainability.  We need to help children recognize the world community they live in shares the Earth’s resources and the value of preserving and protecting those resources.  Global education provides children with glimpses of the world through the eyes of others, thereby promoting acceptance and tolerance.  Global education prepares children to understand and appropriately interact with a culturally diverse and interconnected world.  Fortunately, there are some positive examples of global education being incorporated into children’s learning experiences, such as the renewed interest in bilingual immersion schools in the United States.

Raising a globally-minded child doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.  The best way is to lead by example as a globally-minded adult—demonstrating openness to all and continued interest in the world’s citizens.

Christine Gill
LEAF Contributor


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