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Global citizenship education fosters a curiosity to examine the interdependent and interconnected nature of our shared humanity.

It begins with young people developing a sense of belonging within their local, national and global communities. It also explores equity within political, economic, social and cultural places, spaces, systems, and connections.

Cartoon images of children jumping happily around a globe.

Building global connections fosters curiosity to learn about cultures, languages, people and places within our local and global communities.

© Lorelyn Medina, 123RF

Global citizenship education is transformational. It encourages young people to think critically about the issues and challenges facing our world, inviting them to respond in ways that create a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable future.

Global citizenship education is intercurricular

Global citizenship education is not a standalone subject or curriculum area. It is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on concepts, knowledge, skills, and understandings from a wide range of learning areas. This includes, but is not limited to, education for sustainable development, language education, social studies education, human rights education, and peace education. 

Global citizenship education requires both formal and informal approaches to learning and teaching, and the involvement of education, community, not-for-profit and non-governmental organisations.

Global citizenship education in Aotearoa New Zealand

In Aotearoa New Zealand, global citizenship education is integrated throughout the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Mautauranga o Aotearoa. It is embedded within the vision, values, principles, and key competencies, and is best taught across the science, social science, learning languages, English, technology, health and physical education, and the arts learning areas. This interdisciplinary approach means that all New Zealand teachers and kaiako can be teachers of global citizenship education.

A framework for global citizenship education in Aotearoa New Zealand

The Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence have developed a ‘global citizenship framework’ to conceptualise global citizenship education from our unique New Zealand perspective. It involves an interweaving of four key concepts that support the teaching of global citizenship education. These concepts teach learners to understand three big ideas about global citizenship; know about these big ideas through engaging with the Asia-Pacific region; act locally in response to global challenges that impact our shared humanity; change the future through inclusive, culturally and socially responsive, and sustainable action.

This framework is interwoven and holistic, and considers global citizenship education from our unique geographical positioning within the Asia-Pacific region.

Triangle with 'global citizenship' written in the middle and the words Understand, Know, Act, and Change along the outside.

A framework for global citizenship education in Aotearoa New Zealand

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

This framework guides young people towards action that will  facilitate sustainable, inclusive, culturally and socially responsive, and transformative change within themselves, within their schools and kura, and within their local communities. 

Understanding global citizenship through three ‘big ideas’

The global citizenship framework is underpinned by three big ideas: global identity, global connections and (responding to) global challenges.

Three triangles designed as logos for each of global identity, global connections, and global challenges.

Global citizenship education is underpinned by three big ideas: global identity, global connections, and global challenges.

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

Global identity aims to strengthen young people’s awareness of who they are in the world, and their place and participation within it. Global identity begins by developing a strong sense of oneself through relationships with people, place, and environment.

Global connections encourages young people to build and maintain global connections through authentic and meaningful experiences, which may include language learning. By Building global connections supports young people to develop a deep understanding of diversity, inclusion, intercultural awareness, understanding and communication. 

Global challenges invites young people to collaborate within their local and global communities to identify, critically examine and respond to challenges that are experienced by humanity. Young people are encouraged to “think global and act local” in ways that lead to inclusive, sustainable, culturally responsive and transformational change.

Each of these big ideas form an important part of global citizenship education. When taught together, they provide a holistic and comprehensive understanding.

Three triangles designed as logos for each of global identity, global connections, and global challenges

Together, global identity, global connections, and global challenges communicate the potential for global citizenship education to empower young people towards collaborative action.

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

The colours in the visual framework reflect taiao (environment), hononga (connection), and te kore (potential). Together, these colours communicate the potential when young people connect with each other and the environment – both within Aotearoa and the wider Asia-Pacific region. They also reflect the transformative potential when young people are empowered towards collaborative action to achieve inclusive, sustainable, and culturally responsive changes for the future.

Knowing about global citizenship through local, national, regional, and global contexts

Young people learn about these big ideas through local, national, regional, and global contexts. 

Local community, iwi and hapu are at the centre of this work. Learners need to be grounded in their local communities to develop their sense of belonging and identity.  Likewise, building global connections begins with developing authentic and meaningful relationships to the people, cultures, and languages that reside within each kura or school community.

Concentric circles with local community in the centre, and then Aotearoa, Oceania, Asia-Pacific, and Global

Young people learn about global citizenship through context

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

Within each of these contexts, young people can learn about the people, places, cultures, language/s, systems, and environment in authentic and meaningful ways. Responding to global challenges requires young people to think globally, yet act locally, by responding to global challenges within their own class, school, kura and/or community.

Knowing about their local contexts means learning about the histories, stories, people, and environment that have shaped their local community, and Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Grandparents and grandson reading a book together

Our stories are an important part of who we are

© 123RF

Connecting with the Asia-Pacific

Aotearoa New Zealand is located within the Asia-Pacific region and we have strong connections to our Pacific, North Asian, Southeast Asian and Latin American neighbours. This provides opportunities to develop a deep understanding of global citizenship education through engagement with these geographical contexts.

Five different children's hands raising up a globe

Aotearoa New Zealand is linked via the Pacific Ocean with our Pacific, North Asian, Southeast Asian and Latin American neighbours

© Joachi Wendler, 123RF

Within each of these contexts, young people can learn about people, place, culture, language/s, systems, and environment through building positive and meaningful relationships and engaging in collaborative and authentic projects.

Through these relationships, young people learn more about themselves and their own global identity. They learn more about each other and discover new ways to collaborate, communicate and relate. They also learn more about the challenges facing our world by understanding the impact of these challenges on people, places, cultures, and environments within the Asia-Pacific region. 

Our unique geographical and cultural environment within the Asia-Pacific gives young people the opportunity to learn more about the values and aspirations we have for our shared humanity, while also appreciating our social, cultural, and geographical differences and specificities. 

Taking action through global citizenship education

To respond to the challenges facing humanity today, young people need to take collaborative action within their classrooms, kura, schools and/or local communities. Learners are encouraged to investigate the impact of these global challenges on themselves, their whānau, their local communities, and on Aotearoa New Zealand. 

This begins with a reflection on self to identify prior experiences, understandings, assumptions, and bias. The ability to critically reflect on self encourages learners to understand how bias and stereotypes shape individual, collective and societal understandings, actions, and responses. 

Taking collective action requires young people to ask questions and learn about global challenges from a range of perspectives, experiences and sources. This ability to critically analyse, synthesise, and evaluate information is an important skill so young people can identify and responsibly challenge bias, assumptions, and stereotypes that are presented in a wide range of media and social media platforms.

Children working together in the school vegetable garden

The school gardens provide rich learning opportunities for students at Oropi School

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

Responding to global challenges also requires young people to identify the best course of action. This involves teaching young people to critically evaluate a range of possible outcomes and consider the implications of these outcomes from a wide range of perspectives. It encourages young people to work collaboratively to identify and justify the best course of action, in a way that is manageable, sustainable, culturally responsive, and inclusive.  

Leading change through global citizenship education

Changing the outcome of global challenges requires young people to be part of the change that they hope to see in the world. It supports learners to take collaborative and collective action by working alongside peers, organisations and experts, both within and beyond their classrooms, kura and/or school. 

It also requires young people to reflect on the outcomes of their actions through changes in their own attitudes, behaviours, and actions, as well as the impact of their work from the perspectives of stakeholders within their local and global communities. It invites learners to reflect on the way this change contributes towards a more just, equitable and sustainable future.

This video clip showcases the aspirations of tauira from Nga Taiātea wharekura who talk about the future they hope to see.

Rangatahi at Ngā Taiātea Wharekura share their aspirations for the future

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

Useful links

Visit the Ministry of Education’s Pūtātara website for ideas to  incorporate global citizenship and sustainability through the curriculum in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Explore UNESCO’s Global citizenship in Aotearoa website to learn more about the work that UNESCO New Zealand is doing to support global citizenship education.

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