Get Global! A Practical Guide to Integrating the Global Dimension into the Primary Curriculum
University of Glasgow
|Review published||17 November 2009|
'International education' is a broad concept, and it can be exemplified in a variety of forms and experiences. These include school-based experiences, often using ICT, in addition to school links, exchanges and overseas visits. Learning in and through international education can make learning about any subject or any cross-curricular theme more relevant and fun. (Learning Teaching Scotland, 2009: online)
Presently in Scotland, we are currently embarking on a revised curriculum (Curriculum for Excellence). At the heart of these developments lies the need for our pupils to become aware of their status, rights and responsibilities not only as citizens of Scotland but of the world. Through an assortment of learning experiences pupils are encouraged to participate and become engaged in understanding this international dimension to their learning. Teachers are required to make the connections and promote learning in and through international education by means of cross-curricular links and themes, using an assortment of learning and teaching strategies to provide an interesting learning experience. Get Global (Pickford, 2009) is a useful tool to encourage teachers to engage in this process, providing ideas which can spark further creativity in the learning and teaching process.
Divided into 16 chapters, with each chapter beginning with a small amount of theory and background on the topic, for example Drama and the Global Dimension, Mathematics and the Global Dimension. This short introduction helps to set the context for the reader and highlights (briefly) how and why the subject can be used to support raising international awareness. This is the main focus of Get Global – the curriculum subjects and how they can be useful tools for promoting global ideas in learning. The book provides an array of activities and ideas for the main subject areas within the primary curriculum. The book itself is a collection of lesson plans and activities for pupils in the Primary school with photocopiable resources. The activities have a feeling of progression, in other words, you can feel the development taking place at a gradual pace. The tone of the book is more in the form of suggestions and ideas, which gives the feeling of flexibility and room for adaptations which is a useful tool for any teacher.
From the content of the book, two sections were of particular interest. Firstly, Chapter 10, ‘Art, Music and the Global Dimension’ and secondly, the Global Cross-curricular themes (Chapters 13-15). As a secondary music teacher, the ideas contained within Chapter 10 embodies the key themes of Curriculum for Excellence, learning about international issues in education through the expressive arts. The ideas and suggestions incorporated were, admittedly aimed more at the Primary stages, however they were assorted and could spark ideas which could be applied to any class from the early years to S1 in Secondary School. From a music-specific perspective, Get Global provided some useful references for additional texts, website and resources. Indeed, the book itself could easily be used in conjunction with other resources, for example World Sound Matters (Stock, 1996); a teacher could easily design a basic and accessible music lesson to cater for a range of learning needs in his/her classroom.
Chapters 13-15 focus predominantly on Global Cross-curricular themes. This echoes a key feature of the book, that global dimension is a cross-curricular theme (Pickford, 2009:4). It reminds us that learning is a social process, with schools at the heart of the diversity in educating children to develop awareness. These chapters are more ‘theory’ based, highlighting educational needs of traveller children or shorter ideas for incorporating the global dimension through puppetry or sustainable development.
Although the book predominantly focuses on the English curriculum and educational legislation, practitioners across the UK would find the ideas and accessibility content easy to adapt. Global education and encouraging our pupils to embrace their international responsibilities is both an interesting and challenging prospect. Get Global provides an accessible baseline for teachers to spark interest in the topic not only for their pupils, but for themselves:
The global dimension to the curriculum is not only about big concepts and big ideas but also about how we connect children to global issues on a more human scale. For good or ill, primary school children are part of a global society – with all its opportunities, challenges and threats. So it is vital that they are equipped with the knowledge, skills and understandings to make them effective global citizens. (Pickford, 2009:NP)
Learning Teaching Scotland (2009) ‘International Education’.
http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/internationaleducation/about/index.asp [accessed 16 November 2009]
Stock, J. (1996) World Sounds Matter. London: Schott