Michigan State University

All I’m saying is simply this: that all mankind is tied together; all life is interrelated, and we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be – this is the interrelated structure of reality.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Welcome to the Global Education Micro Credential project, a collection of three online modules for teachers seeking opportunities to explore and expand their knowledge and skills as global educators.

Upon completion of their education, today’s students must be prepared to live, work, and successfully navigate a world that is more interconnected than ever before. Students not only need a strong foundation in core academic subjects, but also need to acquire the knowledge, skills, and points of view necessary to interact successfully across a variety of cultural groups as well as grapple with issues and problems whose causes and foundation are more complex than ever before. As they enter college and careers, today’s students need to be prepared to take on issues and challenges that increasingly cross local, national, and international boundaries and whose solutions require new approaches to problem solving.

What is Global Education?

Our species has always depended upon complex networks of trade and cultural interaction, ones spread across time and space. In this way, global connections and interactions are nothing new.

Yet, clearly, as we look at the past twenty-five or so years of human history, the rate of change seems to have accelerated like never before. The human population has explodedglobal temperatures have risen quite quickly; and, of course, the pace of technological change has been quite dizzying—quite beyond what any single national government can manage.

In this way, it is not just the intensity of change, but the frequency of such change that matters as well. As many have noted, with the acceleration that seems to mark this current moment of history, it is no longer clear if the past can be any clear guide to the future—given that unlimited hyper-expansion can probably not be sustained indefinitely.

Managing the pace of social change used to the be the job of the nation-state. Yet the challenges facing the planet in the coming century are clearly ones that cannot be solved by any one state alone: global warming and forced human migration, to name just two of the most daunting issues, are clearly issues that will involve a high degree of international cooperation.

International organizations such as the United Nations have made some strides towards building consensus around various issues, and the rise of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has also impacted how we understand citizen involvement in addressing pressing global issues. In this way, there is, perhaps, broad agreement about how elite international actors might best adapt to new realities.

But there remains a creeping sense of disconnect. To many, traditional ways of knowing, doing, and living seem threatened by a wave of top-down global uniformity. It seems important to ask, then, about the degree to which this new sense of global interconnectedness has really changed the way most people go about their lives.

Has “globalization from above” been matched in any real sense by a “globalization from below?”

Global education must, we think, be situated in this regard. Clearly, the globalization of the economy has had differential human and environmental impacts. It has, by all accounts, increased global economic inequality.

So what should an educator do in this regard? What does goal education really entail? Below, we will provide you with several outstanding readings should you want to increase your background knowledge of global education. In addition to those resources, we would put forward two key principles of our own:

  1. Global education is about recognizing and supporting the fabric of life’s interdependence. Interdependence is one way of describing the transactional nature of the universe. Physicists, for example, will tell us that the universe is itself primarily a series of on-going events and processes, rather than a collection of objects. We are not just shaped by our interactions, we are our interactions. This is true on the level of large systems, the kind that produce ecosystems and regional economies. But it is also true on the level of the individual human body. Change and adaptation are the true constants of the universe. It is only through participation in an evolving universe that we are who we are.
  2. Global education is about recognizing and living comfortably within non-duality. Non-duality is an insight that grows out of interdependence. Simply put, it means avoiding an “either/or” mentality. It means unlearning the habit of placing ourselves and others within conceptual boxes that limit who we are and what we can become. One can be both “religious” and “secular,” “human” and “animal”—indeed, by our way of thinking, one can be a loyal citizen of both the nation and the globe. This happens through on-going inquiry into ways of being that produce harmony and cooperation within global ecological, economic, and cultural systems.

In short, in the words of global educators Graham Pike and David Selby, global education can best be thought about as the journey inwards and the journey outwards. As I encounter the world, I encounter myself. As I encounter the other, I encounter my own possibilities and my own limitations.

Resources to Better Understand Global Education

The Earth Charter Initiative. (2000). The Earth Charter.

A beautiful statement about sustainability that aligns well with the spirit of global education.

Robert G. Hanvey. (1976). An Attainable Global Perspective. Theory into Practice 21(3), 162-167.

The first statement of what global education is. A classic in the field.

David Hicks. (2003). Thirty Years of Global Education: A Reminder of Key Principles and Precedents. Educational Review 55(3), 265-275.

Helpful review of the development of the field of global education.

David Selby. (1999). Global Education: Towards a Quantum Model of Environmental Education, Canadian Journal of Environmental Education 4, 125-141.

Helpful conceptualization of how different scientific paradigms have impacted our view of the planet.

Michael O’Sullivan & Diane Vetter. (2007). Teacher-Initiated, Student-Centered Global Education in a K to 8 School. Journal of Teaching and Learning, 4(2), 13-28.

Reviews definitions of global education and shows it in action within an elementary school’s curriculum.

Marianna McJimsey & Becky Ross. (2016). Global and International Education in the Social Studies. Position Statement of the National Council of the Social Studies.

Reviews place of global education in the social studies.

Merry M. Merryfield. (2002). The Difference a Global Educator Can Make. Educational Leadership, 60(2), 18-21.

Reviews characteristics of an effective global educator.

Judith Torney-Purta, Rainer Lehmann, Hans Oswald & Wolfram Schulz. (2001). Executive Summary: Citizenship and Education in 28 Countries: Civic Knowledge and Engagement at Age Fourteen. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.

Classic comparative study in civic education that gives food for thought for global educators.

Module Overview

This set of modules provides teachers an opportunity to explore an area of global education and work on a project that supports the development of global skills in their students. Each module is structured to allow teachers an opportunity engage in inquiry around a global education topic: globally-focused project based learning, data and global education, and educating newcomers.  The module opens with a podcast that explores key issues around the topic through interviews and discussions with experts and key stakeholders. Resource lists and links provide information needed to conduct an inquiry into the topic and prepare to complete a project artifact around an issue related to the module theme.

As you prepare your project, you are encouraged to share what you are developing with a mentor or with your colleagues in order get feedback as you develop your project. Sharing your project with colleagues can also stimulate dialogue and collaboration with colleagues around your work to support the growth of global-mindedness and global proficiency in your students.

In order to complete the module and earn the digital credential, you will submit and receive feedback on your final project. While your project represents the culmination of your work for the module, it can also serve as a starting point for your global education work at your school. You can use your project to develop a global lesson or unit or as a framework to organize conversations and shared work around integrating global education into the broader work of your instructional team or school. It is up to you!


Global Education and Data Module
In this module, you will consider the ways in which your school’s and classroom’s data practices contribute to the creation of a globally-aware citizenry.

Project Based Learning Module
Project Based Learning allows for students to be more engaged in learning when they tackle real challenges, whether in their own communities or around the world. You are invited to learn about project based learning and the exciting ways it can benefit your students’ learning and engagement. You will have the opportunity to plan a project with a global focus!

Educating Newcomers Module
In this module, you will learn about the needs of newcomer students, be introduced to strategies for providing for their unique educational needs and develop a plan to use these students to enhance the learning environment at your school for everyone.

Continuing Education Credits

Earn credit hours: By completing one module you will earn:
Instructional hours: 10
State continuing education hours (SCECH)*: 1
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*In Michigan, State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) are earned by attending professional development activities approved by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).  These hours can be used for renewal of certificates and licenses issued by the MDE, Office of Professional Preparation Services. Only approved Sponsors may award SCECHs for participation in their SCECH approved programs.  Sponsorship is limited to Michigan schools, colleges, and educational associations that have applied for, and become Sponsors.  Those Sponsors submit their programs to MDE for SCECH approval. Educators completing the credential outside of Michigan or welcome to contact their state education agencies to inquire about continuing education credit. Whenever possible, we will assist you in this process.

Header Photo Credit: Mats Edenius “Globes” on Flickr


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