The 2016 U.S. presidential election, Brexit, and other upcoming elections have raised a lot of questions for those of us working in the field of global education. Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, Ph.D., senior fellow of global competence at ASCD, explores those questions and attempts to answer them.
As the dust settles on the bitterly contested 2016 U.S. presidential election, many educators are seeing a clearer vision of what we must teach the next generation of voters. This election revealed that our diverse nation remains deeply divided by race, socioeconomic status, region, religion, and political leanings. This election also embodied just how interconnected we are with the rest of the world. For example, issues such as global trade agreements and immigration galvanized voters throughout the long campaign season.
One could argue that the outcome of this election, along with the outcome of Brexit in the United Kingdom earlier in 2016, was a referendum on globalism, so why teach "global education" at all? But the fact that globalism and diversity were front and center in U.S. presidential campaign is precisely why global competence should be a featured part of education for all students. Lessons learned from this election point to three facets of global competence that educators might start with as they begin to build bridges of understanding within our country and across borders:
1) Valuing diverse perspectives and experiences to counteract intra-school divides,
2) Understanding global trends and current events that influenced voters, and
3) Critical thinking so that when students do vote, they will make evidence-based decisions.
“For students’ safety, survival, and success, teachers need to step into the role of educating all students about issues of global importance and teaching them to respect differences... We must be deliberate in preparing students to engage in a way that betters themselves, each other, their community, and the wider world.”