In addition to incorporating global citizenship education in your classroom and lesson plans, there are also other great ways to involve your students in experiential education through partnerships that employ a global lens. School partnerships and projects are a great way to interact with the larger development community and can be a way for students to take a very hands-on approach to global citizenship education.
That being said, it is important to be very thorough and thoughtful as you select a project or an organization. Bigger isn’t always better – look for an organization or project that reflects the interests of your students, provides an exceptional and interesting educational opportunity, and adheres to good, sound, ethical principles.
Projects and partnerships can take a variety of different forms. For example, students or teachers can select a particular non-governmental organization (NGO) that they like and propose or participate in a project that is suited to the interests of the students. These projects do not have to simply involve raising funds for a particular cause or issue; schools can participate in a variety of different ways and with a variety of different methods.
A good starting point in choosing a classroom project or partnership is to identify themes that are common to young people’s lives – for example, water, food, transport, farming, land use, trade, homes, school, waste, conflict, and play. This approach has the advantage of focusing students’ minds on the things they share with young people around the world, before considering how these aspects of life are experienced differently.
For example, a school can commit to raising community awareness about the right to clean drinking water, using the resources and knowledge from their partnering NGO. Or students might want to look at a social issue that exists within their community and organize a project with a local community organization. Middle and high school students may consider working with a local NGO or international organization to learn about examples of international incidents and the global response.
These are just a few of examples of how you may want to approach a school project that focuses on global citizenship education.
Tips for selecting partners:
- Look local first. Involving the local community is a great way to support greater engagement and active citizenship right at home.
- Be picky. The biggest organizations aren’t always the best. Look for a project that suits your educational interests and outcomes.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to Executive Directors, project managers, or other employees of the organization you’re thinking of partnering with!
There are many benefits to be gained from participating in a school project. At their best, projects can:
- Generate enthusiasm and motivation for learning;
- Cultivate an openness to new thinking and new ideas;
- Inspire a desire for positive change, locally and globally;
- Connect the local to the global;
- Inspire kids to think about their actions in a more direct way.
Projects can help students develop:
- Respect for others;
- An appreciation of diversity;
- A sense of injustice and a commitment to fighting it.