Sunday, 27 January 2013

Education and Threats to Global Citizenship

There are a number of barriers for global citizenship that have been mentioned in this weeks readings. There is a lack of awareness for global citizenship in the education system as well as a sense of resistance to change anything. But the question is: Why?
Stromquist (1999) comments on how “Global citizenship requires a major eradication of injustice and inequality. The power base underlying the status quo would therefore be deeply questioned and thus opposed by those who benefit from present situations.” This issue becomes political and unfortunately, once politics are involved, even if teachers want to go against a structured curriculum, devoid of political or controversial subject matter, it is very difficult to do so. As a result, students are taught about conflict but not about how to solve and avoid further conflict. Then the problem is that students are not to able to think and use processing skills properly, limiting their global citizenship title. In my opinion, by changing school curriculums to aid these problems, we would not only be making students better global citizens, but also be preparing them for university and teaching them critical analysis skills, ultimately making them even better global citizens.
The Hower reading stresses ways that we can become active global citizens. His idea is that global citizenship “is not an inherent condition and is not conferred in some official, formal way. But it can be realized through action and reflection” (Hower, 2006). But how is this possible if students do not properly learn to act and reflect?
Lastly, Andrzejewski and Alessio question the purpose of educating students. Is it for economic gain or to actually make them better world citizens? They believe that "the primary purpose of education is to prepare students to become stewards of the earth and participants in democracy for global social justice" (Andrzejewski & Alessio, 1999). I agree with this statement because I believe that everyone has the ability to be helpful and kind, it’s just that some people are not properly taught how to do so which is why conflict arises.
This is a video I found about a year 6 global citizenship program, teaching children about the issue faced by other children around the world:

I think this is an excellent program. If we are to start somewhere with our global education, why not have children retain material through being able to relate to it. Seeing how children their own age are affected by world issues is the perfect way to do so.

Tourist or Traveller?

I agree that there is a difference between a traveller and a tourist but perhaps not for the same reason as Vera. I think a tourist is there to see the main attractions and ticked a box on the list. In my opinion, a traveller is a global citizen, reason being that they take the time to experience the culture from a more truthful perspective – as Vera mentioned, they get to know the locals. For this reason, I think the “inner traveler” is an excellent concept which creates a global citizen by allowing them to learn about the world through experience. At the same time, perhaps inner travel doesn’t have to be something physical because we can learn more about a country from speaking to a citizen of it than we might learn from visiting a few sites within the country.
My opinion of empathy is that it is very much incorporated with the inner traveler. Meeting people from different cultures can evoke emotion, especially when we see people who have suffered. I was able to experience this volunteering with refugees in Sydney’s Western Suburbs. These refugee’s constantly open my eyes to issues I didn’t know existed. I go into their houses and view what they do and don’t have, but all the while, I’m being immersed into their cultures. I’m able to appreciate how hard they are working to stabilize their living conditions and seeing how friendly they are, even in this brand new, unpredictable country, brings me joy.

To me, the concept of oneness is something that sounds great but doesn’t exist. This is because it incorporates equality, truth and stability and unfortunately in our world, these are things that are currently not extremely prevalent.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Reflections on Sandra Kanck

I am in agreement with Sandra as to how we are autonomous through education and knowledge, being influenced by our environment. I also agree with her in regards to how readily people associate others with ‘something different’ rather than seeing them as someone like the self. I think this is definitely where barriers are put up and stereotypes grow, making global citizenship a challenge because how can we want to help others and appreciate what they do if we do not accept them as people like us?
At the same time, it seems somewhat contradictory to me that Sandra carries out actions such as boycotting Israeli goods. Yes, this is to make a statement to the government, but what about those individual people who make up the country of Israel, who rely on the income from Israeli goods, and who may be people who are just as proactive and globally aware as she is? In a way, I feel as though she is trying to be a local citizen by boycotting something, yet she is decreasing her global citizenship by making it difficult for those who rely on the income from those goods.

World Issues of Concern

For the Florian Pichler reading on cosmopolitanism, I want to focus on a finding that seemed contradictory and surprising to me. Pichler claimed that the strongest global identities were found in non-Western societies, yet it was then stated that education, place of living and religion play the largest role in global identification. In many cases, surely Western societies would have better forms of education and place of living so it doesn’t make sense to me that the non-Westernised societies have stronger global identification.  Perhaps it is a case of cognitive dissonance where the non-Westernised societies believe they are not doing enough to become globally aware yet are not happy with that situation, so they state otherwise. 

I also want to comment on a sad irony that I found in the lecture notes: I have an abundance of food which I sometimes waste and this makes me feel sick and lose my appetite since at the same time, there are many poor nations who have a large appetite and a need for food yet they have none and are starving to death. My education has helped me be a global citizen by teaching me how to extract some of these main issues from the readings, and as highlighted in the Madeleine Green reading, education is the key to global change. At the same time, other than donating money to organisations, I wonder how else I could do something to help these starving nations, or if there is even a way to stop famine in the world through being globally active.