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Promoting International Mindedness in Schools

We live in a multicultural world where global policies impact us all. The increased interconnectedness means the need to embed a global outlook is more significant than ever. In particular, schools and students could benefit from an enhanced understanding of international mindedness and global citizenship.

Promoting International Mindedness in Schools

To define international mindedness, we can draw on a quote from Mike Bostwick, Executive Director of Katoh Gakuen Bilingual School in Japan. Mike says, “At the heart of international-mindedness is a frame of mind; a curiosity about the world, an openness towards things ‘other’, and a profound appreciation of the complexity of our world and our relationships to each other. You don’t have to be in an international context to develop this kind of mindset.”

There are many benefits to enhancing students’ international mindedness. Among them is an increased awareness of the world they will grow up in, which will be especially beneficial when they leave school, and an ability to think globally to excel in an internationally focused environment.

Some careers do not even exist yet, and future students will have to tackle global cross-border issues such as plastics or economic changes, which require responses from many different views. In this way, enabling learners to see that they are global citizens is important.

How do we instill and encourage students’ international mindedness?

Read our points below to support you with promoting international mindedness in your school and educating your students about global citizenship.

1. Utilize the school’s vision and values

Develop a vision outlining how the school will embed international mindedness and produce a set of values that promotes cultural understanding. Amendments to your school’s vision and values can support you in imparting an ethic of cultural awareness. When values are carried out in practice, these can be powerful in promoting international mindedness.

By embedding such principles into the school’s core vision and values, you can better encourage school management to deliver on their demands. Having management’s buy-in will be critical to the success of developing international mindedness.   

2. Introduce technology to learning to encourage digital citizenship

Technology plays a significant role in improving international mindedness. Although only 39% of the world uses a safely managed sanitation service, more than half the world’s population operates online. Many fields of work bring the best talent from every corner of the world to solve global problems. By utilizing technology, they can work together easily despite being across borders. To work with different people worldwide, today’s students need to be digitally articulate and technologically ethical. Experience with technology will set them up for success.

3. Relate topics to the world we live in today

Diversity should be kept in mind when teaching subjects at school. Make adaptations to the topics you’re teaching to ensure students feel that the content they are studying relates to the world we live in today. A consciously constructed curriculum can support students in learning about diverse cultures and reflecting on international and multicultural perspectives, which will benefit their futures.

4. Offer professional development to teachers

A successful program that promotes international mindedness relies on strong professional staff development. Many organizations, such as the International Baccalaureate, offer programs to teachers tailored to international education. By offering additional training to teachers, you will be able to give them a sounder understanding of culture, international curricula, multiculturalism, and more. They can then put their learnings into practice in the classroom and support students with becoming more globally aware.  

5. Allow students and staff to lead in their cultural experiences

You can encourage students to teach other learners about the major festivals and traditions they celebrate. If your teachers come from different parts of the world or have taught in many countries, you can leverage their experiences to gain cultural awareness.

By celebrating diversity in school, students move through their education in a setting where it is something they have been exposed to. Allowing them to learn from others will pave the way for their future and cultural understanding.

6. Offer opportunities to experience culture outside of school

Schools can offer trips or visits for students to expand their understanding of issues on a global scale away from the classroom. Schools can offer extra-curricular opportunities that promote international awareness if trips are difficult to organize.

7. Implementing International Mindedness in the home

Encourage parents to support international mindedness at home. For some students, spending time with other children from around the world is the norm. However, to grow international mindedness, families can take their children to multicultural events, cultivate international friendships or go to movies with multiculturalist approaches. Global awareness and citizenship will be developed with these kinds of activities.

8. Promote the learning of another language

In our blog, which explores more about international mindedness, we mention how providing access to learning languages at school is ideal for learners looking to increase their understanding of various diverse practices. Celebrating events, such as International Mother Tongue Day, supports the promotion of intercultural understanding and respect for many traditions.

The journey to becoming internationally minded is ongoing, and it’s important to promote this way of thinking in schools today. A school that does this will prepare pupils for bridging gaps and enable students to understand and celebrate each other’s differences and similarities. Ensuring the development of international mindedness is a part of education will support schools in bringing up students who can lead future decisions and encourage a supportive and happy place to learn.

Questions about International Mindedness

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