Age of Awareness
Published in

Age of Awareness

Collaborative learning will be the ‘new tomorrow’

Photo Credit: Fun Academy

Our status quo seems to be in a rather interesting state of paradox. While today’s world is becoming more and more connected, with growing commerce and advancements in technology, the need to educate students on how to become active global citizens has become greater now than ever before. As per the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, a global citizen is defined as “someone who understands interconnectedness, respects and values diversity, has the ability to challenge injustice, and takes action in personally meaningful ways”.

Today’s education for global citizenship empowers students to understand and exercise their human rights in ways that demonstrate solidarity with human beings everywhere and make a positive impact on the world. Global citizenship is not a new concept, but in the current world order it takes on new meaning and greater importance than before. While once reserved for people of high social standing or those preparing for roles in politics or economics, global awareness is now the responsibility of all people everywhere.

The idea of global citizenship, despite not being novel, is still largely unheard of. That is not to say people are completely unaware of the current challenges across the world or are completely indifferent towards one another, but the fact that the majority of individuals are kept confined within their own ‘societal bubbles’ ever since their childhood is pretty alarming. For us to secure thriving futures under the embrace of widespread globalization and societal integration, it is important to take an immediate initiative in appropriating our education system from the grass-root level. The perspectives one has is not merely only due to his or her own unique individuality but is something that is slowly but largely built on from a multitude of factors, one of which is an individual’s exposures throughout life.

Teaching our children from the start to value one another, respect each other’s differences in opinion and care for every soul should be our utmost goal. We need to teach our children to look beyond race, religion, gender, creed, and culture and embrace one another with open arms. It is, therefore, imperative for us to modify our current school curriculum from the elementary level in such a way that students are not only introduced but taught how to be appreciative and accepting of the diversity across the globe.

Children should be taught about human diversity and cross-cultural understanding on a more personal level, in addition to rights and responsibilities as a global citizen. In short, they should be familiarized with the entire concept of global citizenship and responsibilities from an early age. While many curricula do give importance to these subject areas, there is still a major need for improvement, in terms of inviting education systems from other countries (developing countries, in particular) to participate in this joint initiative.

Introducing collaborative learning from the start could serve as a breakthrough in collective learning and cross-cultural integration. Having virtual meetings with children across the globe can potentially benefit students, at large. Students could be encouraged to celebrate festivals from different cultures through live streaming with counterparts during those specific days. Likewise, forming such a means of networking from the grass-root level could help alleviate any misunderstanding, build trust and compassion among individuals and pave the way for a closely-knitted global society.

Interacting with children from other countries and forming virtual classrooms with children of different nationalities could be intellectually stimulating at the same time, helping students learn and innovate through collective learning. Allowing such platforms of interaction can potentially help students in sharing their own experiences and feelings with one another, provide an incentive to learn other foreign languages and cultures, enable them to grow together, and eventually form a much more cooperative global society that is excited to work for a better and more consolidated world.

Our current education system, especially at the elementary level, is unfortunately extremely primitive when it comes to inculcating collaborative education. Joint collaborations and team-building exercises are large parts of the tertiary education system and are heavily overlooked in the primary and elementary levels. We need to build the idea of collaborative learning stronger. We need to encourage countries to make efforts in instilling awareness, empathy, and responsibility, in young students, to the people and challenges all around the world.

There is no doubt that the concept of global citizenship can empower students from all walks of life and help inculcate a greater understanding of their own rights, as well as responsibilities towards others. Collaborative forms of education provide an effective means of instilling these ideas in a rather organic manner. Fortunately enough, our current technology gives us the facilities that abridge the barriers of time and distance. Hence, innovating new forms of collective learning and ensuring these ideas are implemented and incorporated into our existing system of education should be among our top priorities. We need to bring people closer on a more personal and emotional level by not only educating them about one another but also encouraging them to sit, interact and work with each other. Renowned comedian, Victor Borge once said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”. In order for us to work and thrive together as a global society, we first need to share a laugh with each other.

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Saad Ali Faizi

Saad Ali Faizi

Engineer by day, writer by night, thinker at all times