The Globalized Classroom: 18 Resources for 2015

All humans are citizens of the world, and teaching that fact to children in school can make them more sensitive to global issues and inspire them to look outside their own walls. A globalized classroom helps students to see the local significance of international events. How can you help your pupils adopt such a broad point of view? The following resources will inspire you to plan lessons that foster global awareness.

Gain Inspiration From Your Fellow Educators

Even if your classroom has maintained a global focus for decades, there is always space to learn from your peers. Some of the following resources highlight specific teachers’ experiences while outline concepts that contribute toward a globalized classroom.

  • Edutopia shares an article entitled “How Do We Educate Global Problem Solvers?” wherein Zoe Weil, the president of the Institute for Humane Education, relates two strategies that can move students to think critically about global problems. The first strategy involves figuring out the “true price” of an item while the second encourages learners to think of solutions for complex global issues.
  • Scholastic highlights the experience of one teacher who promoted globalization in her kindergarten classroom by finding postcard pen pals for her class. The article features an interview with the teacher followed by steps on how you can start a similar program in your school.
  • Teachers for Global Awareness is an organization that seeks to heighten awareness of human rights issues across the planet. Their blog highlights current events that students can relate to, and it reports on the organization’s ongoing efforts to get students involved in making the world a better place.
  • provides lesson plans, videos, news stories, and other materials that help teachers lead thought-provoking discussions about global citizenship.
  • is an Australian website that gives teachers insight into how to teach about global awareness. The strategies cover how to discuss bias, controversial issues, stereotypes, and diversity, among other topics. There are also links to other relevant websites, so this is a great database.
  • An article from VIF International Education outlines the eight concepts that come into play when you’re giving students a global education. The concepts include things like interdependence, social justice, conflict resolution, and diversity.
  • Global awareness is far from a new idea. This blog post from Udemy summarizes an essay written back in 1976 by Robert G. Hanvey and brings Hanvey’s ideas into the 21st century. The post discusses five dimensions of global awareness.
  • VINCI Education discusses how to help young children become global citizens. The ideas discussed are simple in-class projects that can make children more aware of places beyond their personal experience. The suggestions include teaching your students to count to 10 in another language, finding children’s books about another country, and encouraging them to cook an internationally inspired meal at home.
  • The Teaching Channel provides a half-hour video that showcases one school’s method of approaching global affairs. The webpage’s sidebar helps you pick out the video’s think about how you can apply what you learned from the video.

Use Media to Bring the World to Your Students

Image via Flickr by woodleywonderworks
Image via Flickr by woodleywonderworks

Last year, surveyed teenagers and found that 83.5 percent of them pay attention to the news. You can use young people’s interest in media to get them to think more deeply about world issues. These resources give you ideas on how to use books, videos, and technology to bring globalization into your classroom.

  • This article from Edutopia provides five ideas for using literature to teach global lessons to elementary school students. You can compare fairy tales from different countries, join a worldwide book club, and use books to break down stereotypes.
  • Some of the jargon used on regular news channels may leave your younger students feeling overwhelmed and confused. This list of news sources caters to children. The sources are from reliable names in media, including CNN and the New York Times.
  • The University of Washington provides a list of films that can foster globalization. The guide includes descriptions of the films and worksheets to go along with them. Each film also includes a note on which grade levels it is appropriate for.
  • As they describe it, the Global Nomads Group’s mission is to “foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth by bringing the world to the classroom via interactive technology.” You can explore the details of their program that connects students around the world.
  • briefly describes resources that you can use to get free films that explore humane issues. The list includes some obvious sources like YouTube as well sources like Sociological Cinema.

Explore a Hot Topic: Ebola

The threat of Ebola has the attention of the world, and exploring the topic in your classroom can raise your students’ global awareness. Here are some compilations of resources that you can use as a launch pad for planning classroom discussions.

  • This list from includes a video, news websites, and a discussion guide. All the resources are geared toward helping you get your students to think seriously about this current and important global issue.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity provides parent and teacher resources that have to do with Ebola. The website also includes tips on how to keep young children from becoming unduly afraid of the disease.
  • Exploring an issue from various angles can help students to see beyond the issue itself to its potential repercussions. This compilation of videos from KQED covers how the Ebola virus works, how the U.S. is responding, and other topics connected to the outbreak.
  • A discussion guide from Education World will help you examine the Ebola outbreak with your class. The resources within the discussion guide include videos and websites along with questions that you can use to stimulate the world.