Inherent Responsibility to Teach Globalization:
Initial Reaction to Globalization and Advocacy
Published: June 30, 2010
Laura Joy Perales
This essay explores
important take-aways from Unit One in Wilkes University’s EDIM 207 Course,
Globalization and Advocacy, under the tutelage of instructor Luke Lyons.
The purpose of this essay is to examine the relationship between
globalization and education through the writing of experts in the field
including Thomas Friedman, Kathy Hytten and Silvia Bettez, and Marcelo
Suárez-Orozco and Desirée Qin-Hilliard. These texts introduce some
important concepts and theories about globalization, its varied effects, and
implications for changes in educational practices. The essay focuses on the
necessity for teachers to integrate the instruction of globalization into
all curricular endeavors.
The earliest ancient civilizations were lone entities, functioning in complete isolation. The geographical borders created mountain ranges and large bodies of water kept these civilizations in isolation… until boundaries were crossed. Naturally, societies develop belief systems and ways of governing. The more advanced a society became, the more likely they were to cross physical boundaries to get resources. The result is a junction by which societies undergo change through exposure to outsiders. So begins the story of globalization, in its earliest stages. What is required of an individual member of society in 1500 B.C.E. and today has transformed because of the convergence of societies since the beginning of human history. For students to understand their role in society, we cannot teach them in isolation from the rest of the world. The geographical boundaries which once separated us no longer do. We are connected to a global society, which necessitates the educator’s obligation to teach globalization in schools so that students will be prepared to compete in the global workforce.
Consider the isolation of the earliest societies in human history. M. Suárez-Orozco and D. Qin-Hillard, authors of Globalization Culture and Education in the New Millennium (2004), claim that those conceptions which gave meaning to human lives were “structured primarily by local geography and topology, local kinship and social organization, local worldviews and religions” (p. 2). Through developments in time, inevitably, ancient cultures intersected. Despite the consequences of hostile takeovers, there was an immediate exchange of ideas, values, culture, belief systems, goods, and language. This cycle continued throughout history, more and more aggressively, until the present, where we are virtually connected to nearly all societies around the globe. Coatsworth claims that globalization is “what happens when the movement of people, goods, or ideas among countries and regions accelerates” (as cited in (Suárez-Orozco & Qin-Hillard, 2004, p. 1). That acceleration has created interconnect communities, big and small, with access to the world at large, economically, politically, culturally, or intellectually. Juxtaposed within each cultural collide, we overcame boundaries and built new perceptions of the world, each time changing us, each time leading to advancements in society. Our eyes were opened, but not just ours – those all over the globe.
Globalization challenges the status quo, and that is how we move forward. The message of Thomas Friedman’s (2005) article, “It’s a Flat World After All” is not to disrepute the fact that the world is round, but rather that the playing field of the world has been flattened, as explained by Nandan Nilekani, CEO of the Indian company Infosys. This Flat World means that “countries like India were now able to compete equally for global knowledge work as never before, and that America better get ready for it” (Friedman, 2005, p. 2). Basically, since the beginning of America, the world shrank from a large size to a tiny size where nearly everyone has access to the rest of the world through a few clicks and keystrokes.
The United States sees itself as a powerful entity, but with globalization, there is “nothing that guarantees that Americans or Western Europeans will continue leading the way” Friedman, 2005, p. 5). Therefore, as educators in a system “predicated on the need to impart values, morals, skills, and competencies to the next generation” p. 2), we are going to need to give students the knowledge and skill-sets to complete globally for jobs. As Suárez-Orozco and Qin-Hillard (2004) put it so succinctly, “[i]t is by interrupting… the taken for granted understandings and worldviews that shape cognitive and metacognitive styles and practice – that managing difference can do the most for youth growing up today” (p. 4). Students need to know about globalization because it is affecting them now, and will play a big part in determining their futures.
“It’s a Flat World, After All”. The New York Times, April 3, 2005.
Hytten, Kathy & Silvia Bettez. (2008). Teaching Globalization Issues to Education Students:
What’s the Point?
Equity & Excellence in Education, 41(2), 168-181.
Suarez-Orozco & Qin-Hillard. (2004). Globalization, Culture, and Education in the New
Millennium. University of California Press. Berkeley, California. 1-37
Author: Laura Joy Perales
Published: June 30, 2010 in Perception
Volume 1: Issue 2