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  • Writer's pictureMelissa

Midwest Global Teaching Dialogue

The Midwest Global Teaching Dialogue featured alumni of the U.S. Department of State's Teacher Exchange Programs and other global education leaders sharing best practices in global education. As an alumna of the Teachers for Global Classrooms program, I was excited to attend, learn from the speakers, and visit with other teachers about my experiences in a teacher exchange program. (The blog from my time in India can be found on the "Travel" and "Travel: Part 2" pages of my Globalize Education: Learn, Grow, Connect website.)


Listening to Dr. Jennice McCafferty-Wright at the keynote, I made a list of points to remember as I teach a middle school Global Citizenship class this semester. She shared some goals of global education, which can vary by setting and purpose.

  • Development of civic voice

  • Ability to be anywhere and be comfortable interacting with others

  • Cultural understanding

  • Vehicle for combatting extremism in our own country

  • Use as a bridge to teach about other cultures

  • Disrupt dangerous narratives and stereotypes

  • Foster cooperative relationships

  • Recognize and celebrate humanity around the world

  • Global environmental systems

  • Collective stewards of limited resources

  • Support the development of others

  • Participate in a global market economy

  • Work for justice

  • Look at the root causes of inequalities and exploitations in the world


During the first breakout session, I learned more about iEARN, the International and Education Resource Network. Their goal is to "Learn with the world" not just about it. While we have launched a class project called "Terra Connect EDU" we are always looking for more ways to connect with students around the world. We'll need to locate some grant money to fund our annual membership rates to participate in the iEARN platform.

Sustainable Development Goals

The second session I attended was about the Sustainable Development Goals with representatives of The United Nations Association of America: St. Louis Chapter.

Also known as the SDGs, and the Global Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals were set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The 17 goals are a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet." The World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The focus of the United Nations

  • Declaration of interdependence

  • Honor the rights of all people, everywhere

  • Protect the planet, our common home

  • Shared prosperity

  • Strengthen universal peace

Students in the fall semester section of my Global Citizenship class connected their design thinking personal interest projects to a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. When community guests visited and gave feedback about their prototypes, students shared the specific SDG that their project supported. For example, a student who had researched pollution and developed an awareness piece in Google Tour Builder connected his project to goal 14, life below water. A student who was bringing awareness to overpriced medication connected her work to goal 3, good health and well-being.


During the session on the SDGs, we talked about how humanity can work together to solve the challenges we are facing. Below is the powerful United Nations video "The Story You Are Shaping."

Students love 'Global Goals Cinema Advert" by The Global Goals

Dates to remember:

  • World Refuge Day - June 20

  • International Youth Day - August 12

  • International Day of Literacy - September 8

  • United Nations Day - October 24


Preparing Youth for a Global Economy and Community

The closing session featured a panel discussion on preparing youth for a global economy and community. Expert panel members highlighted the following:

  • Work to break down perceived barriers

  • "The world in which we live has always been an ebb and flow of people" -Amy Belding

  • We undergo a personal transformation when we interact with others around the world

  • When you take two vastly different experiences and bring them together you have a better perspective of what could be

  • Being globally competent is being aware of the differences that exist

  • Share learning and leverage technology to connect to a global audience

  • Technology has accelerated the "flattening of the world." Our neighbor is now global.

  • Our teacher perspective has to shift fast to keep up with the rapid advance of technology innovations

  • Students need the skills necessary to have access to the opportunities in a global workforce

  • Acknowledge the past, right the wrongs, move forward and make change

  • "We're living in the global"

  • Prepare our students to continue the dialogue. Empower them to continue to make a difference.

Panel Discussion: Preparing Youth for a Global Economy and Community

Parting questions

  • How do you reconcile preparing kids to compete in a global economy while also working for equality? How can we work in tandem to balance the two?

  • To what challenges are we responding?

  • What new questions must global education ask?

Teacher Exchange Programs

Be sure to check out Teacher Exchange Opportunities available from the U.S. Department of State and IREX, International Research and Exchanges Board:

Student Study Abroad Programs

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