International Opinion

Why We Need Global Learning More Than Ever

By Heather Singmaster — July 11, 2019 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

When the Global Learning blog started seven and a half years ago, no one had heard of Malala, the former Kim Jong was in power, and the Syrian crisis was just getting started. Today, the Syrian crisis rages on unabated, even as Iran comes into sharp focus. And the sitting president is the first to step into North Korea.

So, while we are sad to announce that this is the final post of the Global Learning blog, we don’t believe for a minute that our students need to be any less knowledgeable about current world events. Every challenge we, as a country, currently face—immigration, climate change, potential wars—has global ramifications. Even the threat to our democracy itself comes from outside our borders. Issues that may not be overtly global could be solved by looking to best practices in other countries—gun violence, health care, and education reform, to name a few.

Nor is there any less need for students to be able to empathize, respect, live, communicate, and work with people from different cultures and backgrounds. In fact, as the United States confronts the continuing crises within and outside our borders, there is a greater need than ever before for global competence, both in our young people and in our leaders. An ever-growing group of educators recognizes this fact. At the Center for Global Education, we are seeing an increase in inquiries from teachers wanting to learn how to integrate global topics and skills into their classrooms. Readership of this blog has quadrupled over the years, which also illustrates heightened demand for and interest in global education.

In our first post, we wrote, “Global Learning is a new blog dedicated to the rapidly changing world and how school systems are keeping pace.” We more than accomplished this goal, but we couldn’t have done it without voices from the field. In seven years, we featured well over 325 guest bloggers including teachers, politicians, administrators, nonprofit educators, researchers, and, perhaps the most important voice, students. In looking back, our most popular posts speak to the interest of changing the status quo of education:

It’s not just teachers’ and policymakers’ interest that is growing: Children and young adults are taking action, which is the fourth domain of global competence. Malala won the Nobel Prize and spends her time advocating for girls’ education internationally. Greta Thunberg is leading the fight for immediate climate action. And the Parkland survivors, together with other victims of school gun violence, are pushing for change and making an impact. These young people and others like them around the world are standing up and demanding to be noticed.

So while the blog is ending, I take hope in the fact that the rising generation is already taking the reins and pointing us in the right direction. At the Center for Global Education, we, too, will keep working, fighting, and leading. And we won’t stop writing—you’ll see us in other outlets.

The idea of this blog started over a glass of wine in Shanghai (thank you, Ginny!). I now raise a glass to thank all of our readers and writers over the years for their support. It’s been a great pleasure and honor connecting with you. Thank you to my editors, both internally at Asia Society and at Education Week—I couldn’t have done it without your tremendous guidance and encouragement.
Greta Thunberg said, “I was fortunate to be born in a time and place where everyone told us to dream big; I could become whatever I wanted to. I could live wherever I wanted to. ... Now we probably don’t even have a future anymore.” Our students face an uphill battle—a global one—to protect their future, and it’s our responsibility to give them the tools they need. I hope the blog archives will continue to serve you. And stay connected by visiting us online at the Center for Global Education.

Connect with Heather and the Center for Global Education on Twitter.

The opinions expressed in Global Learning are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.