Global Understanding Essay
As a languages teacher, it never ceases to astound me to think that the rasping, whistling and vibrating sounds emanating from our mouths and noses when you talk can be effortlessly decoded by our interlocutors as meaningful language, allowing us to communicate with one another in astonishing levels of complexity. Language is a defining feature of people.
In many western societies we might be tempted to assume that being able to speak and understand more than one language is the exception. However, it is estimated that between half and three quarters of the world's population is bilingual to some degree. That's more than four billion people who understand that with different languages come different ways to interpret the world.
Marcel Proust, the French novelist, observed that "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new lands but in seeing with new eyes". He realised that by working with other people we learn about their cultures and become able to explore new ideas and prospects. Options that would not have occurred to us before stand out as obvious if we understand how other people experience the world. This is why, I believe, it is so important for students to have a deeper global awareness and understanding of other cultures.
In my own experience, leaving my small town in southern Spain to explore Italy for two weeks during my sixth form opened up a whole new world. As I found myself immersed in a different culture, it struck me that Italians, previously perceived by myself as peculiar beings, were in fact the norm in their context and that I was the stranger. Students nowadays are more likely to have travelled abroad by age of 16 and have easy access to a world of information through the internet. However, they still need to be guided through the process of discovery so that a deeper understanding of their own place in the word is developed.
This is why fostering global awareness and international collaboration in our classrooms are so beneficial to our students. Schools understand this and have traditionally encouraged the need to put learning into context. The history trip to Berlin, the French exchange, the cultural visit to Andalucía, pen pal writing schemes and foreign language assistants who bring a little bit of abroad into our classrooms are just a few of the many examples of contextualised learning that we provide our students. At my school we have three foreign language assistants and hold four foreign exchanges each year - in addition to a range of cultural trips abroad.
The moment in which a cohort of year 8 pupils land in Seville and realise that Spanish has a life beyond the textbook, the year 7s visiting Normandy and noticing that people behave and react in familiar ways but the small differences are what really matters. The awkward dinner conversations of foreign exchange students with their German host families, the sudden realisation that Dubai is such a long way away on so many different levels. These are character building experiences that bring out the best and worst in all of us and from which we learn so much.
However, in today's increasingly interconnected and globalised world, tradition is being supplemented by new and exciting ways to bring the world into our classrooms. Modern means of communication such as social networks and video conferencing can ensure that our students experience foreign cultures with unprecedented ease.
Class Twitter accounts link students in real time across the face of the planet with projects devised around common academic subjects and cross-cultural understanding. Skype allows us to converse face-to-face with people from other countries, allowing us to knock down classroom walls and hear it direct from the source. Google Maps lets our pupils take a walk down the streets of every major town and city in the world, allowing them to sight-see and get a sense of other cultures from the comfort of their own classroom. And blogs provide geographically distant schools with the means to partner together so that their pupils can interact in a safe virtual environment, contributing a valuable international dimension to peer assessment.
Both Britain - through the British Council - and the EU - through the Comenius and eTwinning programmes - are actively encouraging international partnerships between schools. These projects also promote the sharing of their resources so that, not only students, but also teachers can benefit from the exchange of practices, knowledge and expertise, with welcome positive implications for teacher training and professional development.
Global awareness and international collaboration during the formative years results in more rounded individuals, encouraging our pupils to see things from different perspectives and helping them to make informed decisions, acquiring transferable skills that will be useful to them and will remain with them for life. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters companies cannot find enough applicants with the requisite skills to operate in an international market place, indicating that greater efforts by schools in fostering global awareness and international collaboration are needed to best prepare our students - and ourselves - for life in the 21st century.
José Picardo is head of modern foreign languages at Nottingham High School. He is also a languages and educational technology consultant and can be found on Twitter @josepicardo.
This content is brought to you by Guardian Professional. Sign up to the Guardian Teacher Network to get access to more than 100,000 pages of teaching resources and join our growing community. Looking for your next role? See our Guardian jobs for schools site for thousands of the latest teaching, leadership and support jobs
Jorge Lopez Professor Beiye GuGlobal Understanding Essay October 11, 2016Parents around the world share the same feelings of love, support, and affectionfor their children. However, diverse cultures can play a significant role in determining the level of attachments, and parenting styles the parents will giveto their children. A child having an efficient and supportive attachment to a parent will help protect the child from developing emotional and behavioral problems. Families with children diverse in the United States and across the world. Parenting styles vary across cultures. Cultural norms influence how children are raised. These norms affect what values and beliefs parents teach their children. Furthermore, what kind of behaviors are considered appropriate and methods use to learn these values and traditions. Asian and American parents value self-control. For instance, in a traditional Chinese culture, parents place importance on respect for authority and loyalty to parents. The children are expected to put family first and remain faithful to parents.