Global learning starts at home, in America’s diverse and rich communities. Your community may have recent immigrants with extensive cultural knowledge about their country of origin. It may have connections through families, businesses, or faith-based groups to people in other parts of the world. Or there may be specific global issues relevant to your community. Once you start looking, global connections are everywhere. Here are some ways to engage teenagers in global learning--right in your own community.
Activities featuring the instruments and performance genres of other cultures offer an exciting way to raise awareness about their traditions. Programs could have students research information about the geographic and historical settings for musical innovations. Students could explore local traditional music and instruments, comparing and sharing what they find with peers in other countries via technology. Digital audio software enables youth to produce their own compositions by collaborating with their peers to blend sounds from around the world.
Students could be exposed to a variety of world languages after school through linkages with local cultural and linguistic institutions. Depending on the program, the goal might not be language profi ciency, but rather language exposure and cultural and linguistic skill development. International university students could help expose students to critical world languages, such as Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, Russian, and others. The activities could also include fi eld trips to cultural institutions, museums, and other related events.
Programs could engage their students in local research projects while considering the international implications of their findings. This action-oriented program could enhance students’ involvement in and commitment to their local and global communities while promoting knowledge of current events, world history, and geography both locally and globally. The program could explore service learning opportunities with nonprofits, museums, and other civic organizations with international connections. Student internships and summer jobs could also be considered as an extension to the program.