Developing International Mindedness

The World Isn’t Flat:
Developing International
Mindedness in Students
Chrissi Lewandowski
Innovative Practices in Education
Why International
 Students are growing up in an increasingly diverse and
culturally-connected world.
 Technology allows students instant access to anything
happening around the world – a paradigm much
different than how most teachers grew up.
 The lines are blurring, and education is reflective of that
– many schools advocate a “global education” in social
studies or other comparative course.
But I’m Already
 An international student does not a global citizen make – in
other words, just because you’re living overseas and going to
school overseas, you are not necessarily internationally
minded by proxy.
 Many new students struggle with this idea because they have
been taken away from their friends and family in their home
country and transplanted to a completely different culture.
 When I think of my posting in China, students are disoriented
and not very likely to engage in the local culture because they
are overwhelmed by change. Understanding and empathy
won’t happen instantly during those first critical months.
Being International
 We expect students to develop instant connections to
other cultures just because they’re there. Simply put, the
school’s mix of students automatically means one learns
international mindedness and empathy intrinsically.
 We are working in international schools. One of my
school’s ESLR’s (Expected Student Learning Results) is
to have students become “active global citizens.” This is
a component of many learning goals in international
From ESLRs to Real Life
And so what?
How do we teach this?
Why should we teach this?
How do we know we’ve taught it?
How do we know if it’s effective?
Deardorff, D. (2011). Assessing intercultural competence. New
Directions for Instructional Research, (149), 65-79.
Gerdes, K., et al. (2011). Teaching empathy: a framework rooted in
socialcognitive neuroscience and social justice. Social Work
Education, 47(1), 109-131.
Gibson, K., Rimmington, G., & Landwehr-Brown, M. (2008).
Developing global awareness and responsible world
citizenship with global learning. Roeper Review, 30(1), 11-23.
First of all…
 What is international mindedness? Empathy?
 Also known as “global citizenship” and “global empathy”
 According to Gibson et al. (2008), global learning can
cause (in this context, gifted students) to “relate to each
other across cultural barriers and vast distances and thus
promotes deeper understanding of diverse cultures and
‘humanizes’ people who might otherwise seem abstract”
(p. 3).
 The “humanizing” factor which they refer to can be
termed empathy – understanding and connecting to others
on a deeper level, affectively and cognitively.
How do kids “globally
 Gibson et. al (2008) believe that global learning is not
always successful.
 This is especially true if the learning is very teachercentered.
 Students must be able to engage with the culture and
with others of that culture.
 Having a person come in to talk about a culture is also
not effective.
“Global learning is a
socioconstructivist learning
activity that involves
experimental and projectbased learning”
(Gibson et al., 2008, p. 3).
The research
 The idea of global learning is still a new one. It is
difficult to say exactly how it should be done.
 In order for global learning to take place, a set of specific
conditions must exist.
Conditions for Learning
 Cultural contrasts
 the greater the dissonance between one’s home
culture and host culture (“culture shock”), the
more memorable it is to a student.
 This can include major differences in religion,
politics, language, etc.
Condition 2
 Modern communication technology
 telephone, e-mail, blogs, Twitter, Instagram – the
list seems endless.
 Students connect naturally on these all day long.
 They also provide a valuable opportunity to
harness creativity and allow students to
communicate across the world.
Condition 3
 Substantive and authentic goal
 the teacher needs to make a clear goal for the students to
 The goal should also fit the content area and not just be a
separate from it.
 After all, global learning should not be just a “one-off ”
and then it’s done.
Condition 4
 Teamwork
 Teams should, ideally, be from different countries.
 Collaborative learning is key.
 While this framework might be good in an
American school…
 in an international school context, getting involved with a
local school…
 …or having students from different cultural backgrounds
collaborate together might also fulfill this condition.
 Gibson et al.’s (2008) study looked primarily at gifted
child education and how that can be further enriched by
a global learning class.
 However, I believe that global learning can be
differentiated to meet the needs of all students.
 Even if a student appears ready to take on the global
context, I also think that a certain level of maturity and
experience needs to be considered, considering it should
be a hands-on experience.
Further Considerations
 Language barrier – important to teach students some basic language
skills in order to facilitate exchange of ideas and build respect.
 “Effective reflection, metacognition, and intrapersonal intelligence
also are critical for the achievement of the global-learning goal”
(Gibson et. al, 2008, p. 7).
 Must establish trust, cultural background and current context,
preferred learning styles, and interpersonal process before really
diving in.
 Not every school or district will have global education at its
forefront – so if the teacher wants to make it happen, it might be a
long road forward.
Importance in Education
 Global citizenship isn’t replacing national citizenship –
it’s an additional component to living in a highly
globalized society.
 Teaching children good decision-making skills and
empathy helps them to practice these at a young age as
so to internalize them.
 Gibson et al. (2008) makes a good point about the value
of global learning.
 If an educational system presents another culture, people,
or viewpoint as being substandard or or inferior, that is
when social injustice starts to become an issue.
 Only learning about a culture through the eyes of those
who “won” or those who are authorities over it does not
foster global learning.
End Goal
 Global education starts small, with building basic
understanding of another culture.
 It grows into a collaborative effort to learn something
new and develop friendships and relationships crossculturally.
 Eventually, as is the hope of teachers, empathy and true
understanding is built into the students’ cognitive and
psychological structures. Ultimately, this may be the
hardest to achieve and the hardest to teach to.
The Big Picture
 Overall, Gibson et al.’s (2008) study paints what global
learning looks like for educators of gifted students.
 Global learning is a collaborative process that requires
higher order thinking skills in students, along with interand intrapersonal skills.
 Teachers must also become practitioners of global
learning and move through the same stages as the
students are expected to.
 If teachers show themselves to be eager learners and put
themselves into the global context, students will be more
likely to as well.
As an international
 Gibson et al. (2008) does not necessarily address how to
teach global learning to students who are already living
in a different culture. Their research looks primary at a
student in their home country connecting to another
 However, considering this, our students are just one step
closer to that connection – but the connection must be
deliberately made.
Applying it
 As addressed before, most overseas schools have some sort of
goal to create active global citizens, and Gibson et al. (2008)
makes some solid points as to how to achieve this in terms of
 However, practical application was somewhat lacking outside
of two qualitative studies done with gifted students.
 The examples were unclear as to how any gains would be
measured at the end of the lesson/unit.
 Mention was made of “student interest” and students’
increased inquiry, but no measurement was made pre- and
 Since empathy/understanding and the brain function behind
it was only briefly mentioned in Gibson et al. (2008), Gerdes
et al. (2011) clarifies the science behind why global
citizenship is important.
 According to them, their empathy model embraces the
cognitive, affective, and decision-making domains, with the
belief that all of them are linked together.
 However linked, each of those domains can be trained
separately through a variety of activities.
 Empathy is a critical skill that makes positive brain
connections in the anterior insular cortex – but it’s not the
easiest to teach.
Map of the Inner Brain
Activities to Teach
 Gerdes et al. (2011) further identifies, some concrete
samples taken from their social work empathy course:
 Role-playing
 Mirroring experience
 Use of art and literature
 First-hand experiences
 In our assessment-heavy educational culture, to justify
spending time on global citizenship education means
that there must be a way to measure gains made by the
students in the areas of empathy and understanding.
 However, both of these are hard to measure and end up
being subjective to the teacher of the course/unit.
 Is it enough to say, “I know they get it?”
Assessment Strategies
 One thing suggested in Gibson et. al’s (2008) study was a
“pre-test” of sorts – the Cage Painting Simulation from
 It creates different scenarios where you can respond to
them depending on the context and the goal prescribed to
 You can also create simulations as well.
Wide World of Assessments
 Several assessments have become commonplace in
measuring empathy:
 Hogan’s empathy scale (EM) – cognitive aspects of
 Questionnaire measure of emotional empathy (QMEE)
by Mehrabian and Epstein – affective aspects of empathy
 Davis's Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) – embodies
both the cognitive and affective aspects of empathy
Other Assessments
 Deardorff (2011) had other ideas for assessing globalmindness. Even though it was in a college setting, some
of these could be crafted toward middle school students:
 Direct evidence:
 Developing learning contracts
 E-portfolios
 Critical reflection piece
 Performance
 Indirect evidence:
 Surveys or inventories from the student
Deardorff ’s Model of Process
Orientation (2011)
Starting Small - Engagement
 One way I encourage students to engage with a
particular culture is through food.
 This is connecting on a very basic level, but food
provides insight into culture in fundamental way – we all
need to eat and we all have our food traditions. It’s what
brings us together. I always think of Thanksgiving.
 Before middle school students can get to the high level of
empathy we’d like to see, we have to scaffold instruction
so that they make up the ladder to such an important
and lofty goal. I like to start with simple engagement
with a culture.
 A basic staple of any Chinese diet is noodles. Noodlemaking is a well-respected tradition in China, and even
though machines can make them much more quickly
and easily, noodle-making is an old skill that is being
resurrected. Street food vendors make them fresh all the
 With a little bit of background on noodles, students can
engage in the hands-on activity of making noodles the
old-fashioned way.
 And here we go…
A Noodley Video
Chinese Noodle Making
Handmade Noodles
Students can make a mess, and they can get a good lesson in
the meantime. It’s engaging a lot of their intelligences and
helping them to understand at least some of the food culture
of China, which tends to scare them the most.
Getting over that basic hurdle can open up their minds to
other cultural aspects.
Recipe from: