Global Perspectives: Our World in a Different Insight”
Written by: Nadia Kathleen T. Manalaysay, Grades 7 to 9 GP Teacher
Contributor: Jonassah Schliephake, Grade 10 GP Teacher
“The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” – Oscar Wilde
This academic year, Stella Maris International School (Gading Serpong) introduced a new subject called Global Perspectives to its IGCSE Students from Grades 7 to 10. This subject entails making the students more aware and knowledgeable about current global issues. Since it was introduced this year, it is only given forty minutes once a week.
“Cambridge Global Perspectives is a unique and innovative program designed to help students at all stages of schooling develop excellent transferable skills such as critical thinking, research, and collaboration.” (Cambridge Assessment International Education, 2023)
This groundbreaking and stimulating competency-based program puts academic research in a practical, real-world context. The program uses the learning methods that today’s students prefer, including group work, projects, and collaborating with other students from other schools. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ ability to think critically about a range of global issues where multiple perspectives are always present.
This year two competent teachers from the Secondary Department were assigned to teach this subject: Ms. Nadia Kathleen Manalaysay for Grades 7 to 9 students and Mr. Jonassah Schliephake for Grade 10 students.
There are several topics to discuss in this curriculum and they are spread out to each grade level. The list of topics is as follows:
- Grade 7 – Family/ Tradition, Culture, and Identity/ Education for All/ Digital World;
- Grade 8 – Biodiversity and Ecosystem Loss/ Changing Communities/ Migration/ Globalization;
- Grade 9 – Water/ Food/ Agriculture/ Sport and Recreation; and
- Grade 10 – Law and Criminality.
Mr. Jonas commented, “The world is (very interconnected) and we cannot avoid global issues. What happens in one country may affect other countries. Economics, health, and social issues (e.g. LGBTQ Issues) that are happening in one country may influence other countries in some way or another. The purpose of global perspectives is to help students understand how to approach those issues and how to think and give proper arguments about them. This is important because global issues do not discriminate against age. Global issues are not issues exclusive to adults.”
He added, “Everything is geared around a real-world issue. Activities are mostly discussions and writings about students’ opinions towards the issue. The students are also taught how to think “properly” and critically so that the opinion that they express in their writings and discussions are based on proper reasoning and/or facts instead of just opinion that is purely based on emotion or low-level thinking. It is challenging because as teachers we also need to keep up to date with the current global issues. To make matters more challenging, exposing students to a case global issue can be “very dangerous” because the source that teachers use to expose the case study might be based on a political agenda and not the entire story. Therefore, before we expose our students to the case, we need to read multiple articles about the topic to ensure we gain multiple perspectives first. It is also challenging because teaching critical thinking is also difficult. As teachers, we also need to reflect if we can think critically. Do we even know what critical thinking is? How can we teach something that we do not even know?”
The teachers used varied teaching strategies to make the topics more interesting to the students. Group reporting, individual research projects, poster and slogan making, recipe making, leftover food recipes, surveying and interviewing, and group research projects were some of the activities done in the respective classes.
Leonel Graciano Lie of Grade 8 C stated, “Global Perspectives is one of the subjects, where I am free to voice out my opinion. In other subjects, it feels uncanny to correct the teacher, but since it is an opinion-based subject, it gives a more freewheeling environment. With this subject, I’ve learned a lot even if I don’t take notes because the lessons are just generally fun.”
He added, “I used to not care about migration, but now in this lesson, I’ve learned the reasons for it, and why locals do or don’t tolerate migrants. Moreover, I found this out by helping a fellow group member with their research essay survey. In addition, all my life I never knew English has 80% of its words borrowed. I only learned it from this class.”
“I also learned much about Biodiversity, too. There was so much to learn in that topic, and it got me interested; hence, I broadened my research on the causes of the rotting of environments, and it inspired me to cure cancer because I found out that cytotoxins are released from our body after chemotherapy, and it degrades the environment around. This subject helps me in daily life because what I learned are the things I will keep in my mind. Therefore, whenever I meet migrants I become more humble since there are a lot of reasons as to why they migrated and I should respect them instead of despise them,” he ended.
Therefore, Global Perspectives is a subject that must be part of every secondary school curriculum. It makes the students understand how their own culture fits into the larger world. Through this expanded insight, perspective, and understanding, students can begin to understand the value of cultural diversity and learn to respect other cultures. Additionally, a global perspective helps students become more aware of current events and global issues. The goal is to develop the ability to understand the interrelationships between multiple perspectives such as personal, social, cultural, disciplinary, environmental, regional, and global. It also helps to develop skills found in all subjects. Good teachers understand the value of skills in the classroom. It also teaches students research skills that are essential to any lesson.