By Chris Green, School Support & Evaluation Officer, CIS, and Associate Professor Eeqbal Hassim, Education Consultant and Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne
We are eager to share new CIS research and continua of thinking and practice to advance the understanding and application of global citizenship and intercultural learning across our global membership community.
It was essential for us to complete this research because we regularly hear from our members that they find it challenging to accurately define their progress in this area of work.
This blog sets the scene, provides early feedback from those member schools who have reviewed our new research-based model and continua, and includes opportunities for members to dive deeper with us by registering for an upcoming webinar and workshop.
It has now been 12 years since we first published a definition of global citizenship, one that has often been cited in research and continues to be one of the most visited webpages at our site.
This definition—our understanding—of its key elements emerged via a series of consultations with CIS stakeholders worldwide to determine tangible outcomes for international education.
To deepen our understanding of what global citizenship now looks like in practice, we undertook current research to explore practices across the CIS global community of schools.
A new understanding of global citizenship emerged, a more relevant model unpacking the hidden complexities of the current definition to address difference more specifically.
In general, how do you know if, and when, you’re making progress?
Educators often ask students to evaluate their progress towards developing a competence as part of their learning journey.
They may ask students to use a continuum to indicate where they are now and what next steps they can take to develop further, for example in language learning or mathematics.
This routine can make the purpose of learning visible and empower students to lead their own learning—a continuum may provide students with language to answer the question ‘how do you know how you are progressing?’, building confidence that they are making and can articulate their progress.
At the program level, schools often have a curriculum review cycle that gathers and analyzes data about student learning to inform the review.
The review cycle may coincide with, or be influenced by, an external organization’s review process, such as the IB or national education authorities.
These organizations commit to reviewing and revising curricula based on the latest research and effective educational practices.
Schools then adopt changes with confidence, adapting and contextualizing to their own setting and learners, and have a basis for answering the ‘how do you know?’ question regarding their progress in implementing curriculum.
How this relates to advancing global citizenship and intercultural learning
When it comes to global citizenship and intercultural learning, feedback from CIS members tells us that schools find it challenging to accurately define their progress.
And approaches to this work are many and varied.
Global citizenship and intercultural learning may be the focus of specific subjects or disciplines, or as an ‘add-on’ to the formal curriculum through celebrations of culture or an international day focusing on harmony and commonality.
More recently, schools report integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals into teaching and learning to support development of students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
Student action towards achieving these global goals contributes to a sustainable, more just society, now and in the future.
A frequent request we receive is for a set of tools and resources to evaluate progress in the implementation of global citizenship and intercultural learning.
So, how do we provide evidence-informed support for our members?
We asked ourselves this question.
And, in 2021, we commissioned research to generate an evidence base for the development of a CIS model for global citizenship and intercultural learning.
Thanks to our co-author of this post who led the research, Associate Professor Eeqbal Hassim, Education Consultant and Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne, which involved:
- an extensive review of academic literature from the last decade, supplemented with reviews of relevant professional literature
- case studies of CIS member schools, analyzing our existing data relevant to global citizenship and intercultural learning gathered through the CIS International Accreditation processes and online evaluator training.
CIS has done the heavy lifting in conducting this research, and schools can be confident in using the continua to see how they are doing and where to go next.
Putting the research into practice
The research provided a foundation for our new CIS model for global citizenship and intercultural learning and an accompanying continua of thinking and practice.
The continua recently underwent a refinement process based on input and feedback from representatives at CIS member schools worldwide.
One member of the refinement team commented, Michael Arcidiacono, Head of School, Escola Americana de Campinas, Brazil, said: ‘CIS has done the heavy lifting in conducting this research, and schools can be confident in using the Continua to see how they are doing and where to go next.’
The CIS model for global citizenship and intercultural learning
The model focuses on global citizenship, intercultural learning, and inclusion via diversity, equity, and anti-racism (I-DEA), the components (topics/themes) of each, and how these intersect.
The accompanying continua of thinking and practice
As part of our CIS research-based model we have designed continua of thinking and practice that support schools to understand where they are on their global citizenship journey.
Our continua encourage schools to reflect on how they frame, interpret, put into practice, and progress global citizenship and intercultural learning.
The thinking parts of our continua are conceptual. The practice parts include:
- Teaching & learning
- Leadership and staff development
- Community Engagement
Where is your school on its global citizenship and intercultural learning journey?
Here are some examples of how to use the continua.
Using this extract from the Conceptual Continuum, consider how your school views global citizenship and intercultural learning along a progression.
Members of the continua refinement team reflected:
‘We acknowledge that as an institution we have individuals at different points of the continuum and that growth may be different for each person. We think it is important to build trust amongst the staff by recognizing that each of us is on a journey and that this will be the same for our students. Thus, we can learn together in a safe environment.’ —Denise Coates, Director, International School of Berne, Switzerland
‘Our school is moving from Multinational/cultural to International/cultural. Some areas, such as viewing groups as static, we are beyond, but, emphasizing the cultural diversity of the institution as one of many possible identities, is something we are working on.’—Kamara Coaxum, Grade 1 teacher, Cairo American College, Egypt
Adopting a developmental approach, our set of continua of thinking and practice recognize the diversity of school contexts and offer a springboard and language for conversation as schools self-evaluate their progress and identify the next steps in their global citizenship and intercultural learning journey.
Using this extract from the Teaching and Learning Continuum, consider the predominant strategies for global citizenship and intercultural learning evident in your classrooms or school.
Chris Zhuang, Dean of Academics, Middle School, YK Pao School, Shanghai reflects on the above extract from the Teaching and Learning Continuum:
‘Part of our school’s mission is to cultivate global citizens with intercultural competencies. However, in teaching and learning practice, the 'how to' can be a challenge.
Some practice includes intentional content integration, and our next step is to build global citizenship and intercultural learning into the curriculum authentically.’
How do you engage your school and wider community in global citizenship and intercultural learning?
Turning our attention to community engagement, how do you engage your school and wider community in global citizenship and intercultural learning?
Where might you place your school using this extract from the Community Engagement Continuum?
How can you learn more?
Webinar: Our members can watch a webinar on-demand that provides an overview of the research and serve as a precursor to the three-day intensive workshop in May. During the webinar, you will hear from two CIS member schools as they share their global citizenship and intercultural learning journey. Members can register for this webinar via the CIS Community portal.
Workshop: We'll keep our events page up to date with new dates for the Global Citizenship and Intercultural Learning Foundation Workshop. In this workshop, you'll dive deeper and engage more fully with our research, and the CIS Model and Continua for Global Citizenship and Intercultural Learning over three days.