Thinking, learning, presenting, interacting - all OPEDUCA activities are set in a global perspective. In ouw view learning is not restricted to time and place, nor con it be obstructed by national or cultural borders. Learning is the best means to cross all borders that still divide humankind today and truly work towards a collective stewardship or our ecology and society.
In general, a world citizen is a person who places global citizenship above any nationalistic or local identities and relationships. An early expression of this value is found in Diogenes of Sinope (c. 412 B.C.; mentioned above), the founding father of the Cynic movement in Ancient Greece. Of Diogenes it is said: "Asked where he came from, he answered: 'I am a citizen of the world (kosmopolitês)'". Albert Einstein described himself as a world citizen and supported the idea throughout his life, famously saying "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind." World citizenship has been promoted by distinguished people including Garry Davis, who lived for 60 years as a citizen of no nation, only the world.
Citizenship is defined by being a member with rights and responsibilities. Therefore, GCED must encourage active involvement. GCED can be taught from a critical and transformative perspective, whereby students are thinking, feeling, and doing. In this approach, GCED requires students to be politically critical and personally transformative. Teachers provide social issues in a neutral and grade-appropriate way for students to understand, grapple with, and do something about.
Graham Pike and David Selby view GCED as having two strands. Worldmindedness, the first strand, refers to understanding the world as one unified system and a responsibility to view the interests of individual nations with the overall needs of the planet in mind. The second strand, Child-centeredness, is a pedagogical approach that encourages students to explore and discover on their own and addresses each learner as an individual with inimitable beliefs, experiences, and talents.
The Holistic Understanding perspective was founded by Merry Merryfield, focusing on understanding the self in relation to a global community. This perspective follows a curriculum that attends to human values and beliefs, global systems, issues, history, cross-cultural understandings, and the development of analytical and evaluative skills.
World Citizenship is practiced in the smallest bits and pieces of learning in OPEDUCA, exploring themes, objects and subjects always from a global perspective. Whether if in inquiry based learning the soil potatoes grown on is researched or students' present the trade in sea-sand to built high rises on coastlines, they are stimulated and guided to see the global perspective. Both from the knowledge perspective as well as through the lens of global politics, internationalisation and trade.
It is of the utmost importance that our youngsters can meet, communicate and learn together, therefore also understand and respect each other as bases for future cooperation. For they themselves are the future, and their development is the only way forward towards a more sustainable society.
In OPEDUCA it comes logic to connect the young as future global citizens through direct and virtual connections, anytime, anyplace, through any device.
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ESD and Global Citizenship Education (GCE) pursue the same vision: It is all about empowering learners of all ages to become proactive contributors to a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and sustainable world. Both GCED and ESD:
- focus not only on the content and outcome of what is learned, but also on the process of how it is learned and in what type of environment it is learned.
emphasize action, change and transformation.
- place importance on acquiring values and attitudes relevant to addressing global challenges.
- foster skills for collaboration, communication and critical thinking.
- help learners understand the interconnected world in which they live and the complexities of the global challenges faced.
- help learners to develop their knowledge, skills, attitudes and values so that they can address these challenges responsibly and effectively now and in the future.
- include Within the educational system.
Nothing goes in schooling when we don't re-invest in and structurally change the way we educate our next generation of teachers - an open door it seems, but a practice wished for not that easy to bring near since Universities appear to stay on a too-safe and thus dangerous pathway when it comes to innovation. Thanks to the drive and experience of Prof Garth Pickard from the Institute of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Communities (University of Regina, RCE Saskatchewan) we succeeded the bring together young talents from this Canadian stronghold in Education with peers from the Teacher Education at Fontys University of Applied Science in Sittard (Netherlands). Once the virtual bridge was created we enjoyed a meeting of minds and a sharing of attitude where it comes to Education for Sustainable Development that gives hope for the next generation of Teachers on their way.
Organizations implementing GCE programs, such as UNESCO, now emphasize the importance of expanding both students' 'global consciousness' and 'global competence'. 'Global consciousness' represents the ethical or moral dimension of global citizenship, whereas 'global competence' features a blend of the technical-rational and the dispositional or attitudinal.
However, some view global consciousness and global competence as being closely related. The OECD, for instance, focuses on global competencies called 'psycho-social resources', of which there are three main types: using tools interactively (technology and language skills), interacting in heterogeneous groups (cooperation, empathy), and acting autonomously (realizing one's identity, conducting life plans, defending and asserting rights.
GCE identifies three learner attributes, which refer to the traits and qualities that global citizenship education aims to develop in learners and correspond to the key learning outcomes mentioned earlier. These are: informed and critically literate; socially connected and respectful of diversity; ethically responsible and engaged. The three learner attributes draw on a review of the literature and of citizenship education conceptual frameworks, a review of approaches and curricula, as well as technical consultations and recent work by UNESCO on global citizenship education.