Teaching the Globe: Opportunities and Challenges to Teaching Global Topics in the 21st Century

Teaching the Globe: Opportunities and Challenges to Teaching Global Topics in the 21st Century

All curricular resources developed from this workshop can also be found on our K-12 Curricular Materials pages for ElementaryMiddle, and High School levels.

Resources have been organized into two sets of complimentary documents. Presentations were authored by a variety of scholars who have expertise in each area or topic. They have been made available, graciously, by their authors for your use and can serve as the basis of content knowledge for many of the lessons. The lesson plans have been designed with the central ideas of presentations in mind, however, may focus more specifically in scope. Additional links have been provided to allow for further research on each presentation topic and lessons and are intended to provide background for both teachers and students.In addition to links and information on materials, further resources are provided when possible within the lesson plan.

List of presentations

Breaking Down Barriers: How to Effectively Organize International Trips for K-12 Students

Turan Balik

Exposure to a host country allows students to develop oral proficiency and cultural competency. This session focuses on strategies for effectively organizing international trips and the array of practical activities available to engage students of all ages in the culture of the host country. The benefits of a carefully planned and implemented program will also be discussed.

Approaches to Cultural Competency

Corey Whitesell

What does “culture” mean, how does it define us, and how can the K-12 teacher incorporate it into the classroom using meaningful participation, reciprocal activities, and culturally derived experiences? This session will address how teachers can best teach global cultures to their students and will include additional information on how to incorporate visiting international scholars into curriculum.

Contesting Paradigms and Redefining Perceptions of the Middle East

Walter Lorenz

What is Middle Eastern and where is the Middle East? Where does it begin and where does it end? What are the languages and communities that exist in the region?  This section will introduce the communities of the Middle East and give a historical, economic and linguistic background of their connections, cultural exchanges, and roles in their societies.

This presentation will discuss the various communities of the Middle East. The goal is to redefine terms that have marked the region as “The Arab World,” and “The Muslim World” that are quite often used in political statements and the media. Such terms can marginalize the vast array of minorities, cultures, religions and languages in the region.Examples will be given from countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Morocco and Israel and demonstrate that the region is culturally diverse rather than remaining solely “Arab.” Possible applications to K-12 classes include map identification, recognition of communities and their localities, intercommunial conflict and cooperation, multilingualism, and international debates.

Discovering the Globe: Using Inquiry-Guided Learning to Teach Global Topics

Dr. Sophia McClennen

This session is dedicated to showing how the pedagogical practice of inquiry guided learning is especially suited to teaching students about parts of the world they know little about. “Inquiry-guided learning” means that instead of delivering information to a passive class, students learn through the course of solving a problem or answering a question they care about. Teaching is project based, role-play based or case study based and students use their own natural curiosity to drive their own acquisition of knowledge. Faculty work to encourage their interests, help them plan their projects, and develop skills of critical thinking.This method works for every level of teaching and can be applied to a variety of teaching topics. An overview of the method and a few samples will be provided.

Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Visual Culture in Japan: Using Photography, Comic Books, and Video to Address Global Cultures and Issues

Dr. Jonathan Abel

The objectives of this session are to enhance content knowledge of other cultures in order to help think about our place in the world, to foment observation and reflection on other cultures, and to learn to evaluate and critique a media-saturated culture. When using the curriculum, please refer to the session presentation document below.

Language in the Non-Language Classroom

Walter Lorenz

This session will explore the use and misuse of certain “hot words” of the Arabic language that are commonly found in the U.S. media. The meaning of their linguistic roots, daily usage and the perspective taken by the U.S. media will be discussed.The defining and re-defining of such terminology will allow students to readdress the popular portrayal that has been experienced in today’s media.

Why teach global issues?

The integration of global education is essential for K-12 students to develop the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed for responsible participation in a democratic society and in a twenty-first century global community. The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) believes that an effective school curriculum must include global and international education. Global education is important because the day-to-day lives of average citizens around the world are influenced by burgeoning international connections. The human experience is an increasingly globalized phenomenon in which people are constantly being influenced by transnational, cross-cultural, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic interactions.

Therefore, In accordance with state and national teaching standards, this page will provide teachers with strategies for engaging students with the following goals:

  • gaining knowledge of world cultures;
  • understanding the historical, geographic, economic, political, cultural, and environmental relationships among world regions and peoples;
  • examining the nature of cultural differences and national or regional conflicts and problems; and
  • acting to influence public policy and private behavior on behalf of international understanding, tolerance and empathy.

How do I teach global issues?

A variety of methods can be employed when teaching global issues. The methods selected for lesson plans in these resources were selected because they engage students’ authentic thinking through guided inquiry approaches. While many of the lessons can be adapted for various approaches, they have been designed with enhanced experiential learning of students in mind. Many of the lessons follow one or more of the following approaches and have been designed with specific learning outcomes in mind: experiential learning, problem-based learning, inquiry-guided learning, and backward design. For more information, please click on the links below:

*Additional links for content can be found within each lesson plan.

This resource page was created by  for the Center for Global Studies.