Think Globally!

What does it mean to incorporate global awareness in the classroom? When I taught 7th Grade English/Language Arts a few years ago, one of the major projects I had my students participate in was a Global Read Aloud. The concept was introduced to me by a teacher from Denmark who created the G.R.A. The concept was simple–a novel was chosen. Teachers and students across the country would read the book, reflect and answer questions about the novel using various educational platforms like Edmodo, Padlet, etc. Any platform with collaboration options will work. Students created videos, prezis, blogs, and artwork. This proved to be a great way to increase fluency and comprehension, not to mention target the higher levels of Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. The sky was the limit with what could be done to spark creativity, increase student use of technology and promote literacy.

From experience, teachers can struggle with authentically incorporating global awareness into their classrooms on a daily basis; but, it is actually quite simpler than most would think. Incorporating global awareness doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. Teachers should think of something they are already doing with their students like reading and amp it up to keep their students interested. Incorporating technology, class competitions, or social media is a plus. But, be careful. Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to incorporate a piece of technology just for the sake of “incorporating technology.” Doing so can cause the students to focus solely on the technology and not the skills they should be learning. Teachers should also be aware of their school division’s social media policies before having students use it for assignments. A general rule of thumb is if the technology does not enhance the lesson or make it more engaging, save it for another time.
Side note: My classes were only allowed to check out laptop carts once or twice a week so our interaction was somewhat limited in the G.R.A. since we were not a 1:1 school, but we were still able to participate and complete the novel. Many students found time to post while at home. I encourage educators to work through obstacles that can potentially hinder your progress towards becoming a global thinker. You are only limited by your own thinking. If you think it can be done then do it. Like creating this blog, taking the first step is all it takes.

Happy teaching and learning!

© 2017 Bryan A. Ruffin

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