Being and becoming a global citizen: a student perspective on engagement interdisciplinary and boundary crossings

Catherine Montgomery

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Universities have a critical role to play in educating future generations, disseminating information about sustainability, and particularly by training leaders with the skills to solve regional and local problems from a global and interdisciplinary perspective.(G8 University Summit, 2008) This plenary session aims to explore student perspectives on the idea of global citizenship, focusing on the ways in which students have become engaged with this and how their involvement has developed across disciplinary and institutional boundaries. The session argues that the contested and fluid nature of global citizenship is an opportunity to make creative connections across disciplines and this interdisciplinary approach to a globalised curriculum can support the development of student understandings of pluralism in different value systems (Brookes and Ryan, 2008). The session suggests a new addition to the in-curricula and extra-curricula division, developing an inter-curricula approach to internationalising curriculum and incorporating learning in informal contexts. The session is presented partly by students themselves, reflecting on their experiences of engagement in projects that have developed their global learning. Many of the projects cross disciplines as well as the formal and often inflexible institutional boundaries of university (Klein, 2004; Godemann, 2008). The students’ explanations of their active, engaged and interdisciplinary experiences are in stark contrast to some current perceptions of students as passive, alienated and strategic seekers of marks (Mann, 2008). Interdisciplinary curricula and projects both within and beyond the formal curriculum can work towards collaborative and effective solutions to common, often humanitarian problems and issues, integrating methodologies, epistemological tenets, terminology and data (Brookes and Ryan, 2008; Blake, Sterling and Kagawa, 2009). The student descriptions of their engagement in internationally inflected activities suggest that these are enabling them to become ethical graduates and professionals who see themselves as part of an interconnected world (Haigh, 2008; Dale and Newman, 2005). The experience gained in these projects may enable them to work towards sustainable futures in subjects such as engineering, design and English.


ConferenceInternationalising the curriculum for global citizenship: policies, practices and pitfalls: The Centre for International Curriculum Inquiry Network (CICIN) Conference
Period1/06/10 → …
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