Did you know that one in five jobs are connected to international trade? Our world is becoming more interconnected every day, highlighting the need to help our students develop as globally competent citizens that can successfully work with people around the world. This is highlighted by the UN’s fourth sustainable development goal (SDG), which calls for “inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes lifetime learning opportunities for all”. One way that the UN will track this success is by monitoring schools’ use of global citizenship education.
One teacher that is taking action to help her students develop global citizenship is Yolanda Garcia from Prepa Tec Campus Eugenio Garza Sada in Monterrey, Mexico! Her students collaborated with peers from 150 different countries to share and reflect upon their cultures, history, food, art, and daily routines in World Explorer. Mrs. Garcia finds that connecting her students with classes around the world “is the best way to be a global citizen in the comfort of your school. You get to interact with people from other cities far away from you. It like traveling without spending the money.” This week, we are excited to feature her whole class as our PenPal Stars!
For their Showcase Project, Ms. Garcia’s class made postcards to share with people from around the world. See a few of their postcards about Monterrey, Mexico in this project based learning example:
Global project based learning is a great way to support the SDGs and global citizenship because it allows students to take learning outside of the classroom! It is suggested that students use inquiry to learn about global issues, investigate the world beyond their own country, practice recognizing multiple perspectives, communicate with diverse populations, and take action to solve problems in order to advance their global competence.
In World Explorer, Ms, Garcia’s class was able to expand their understanding of culture by reading about other students’ diverse life experiences and sharing their own with a global community. Through their participation in this project, they not only gained key communication skills by practicing writing but also were exposed to multiple perspectives and learned about culture around the globe!
We reached out to a few of Ms. García’s many students to learn about their life in Monterrey and their experience in World Explorer. Facundo, Luis, and Carlos do a great job explaining how working with PenPal Schools helped them develop as global citizens!
PENPAL SCHOOLS: How did you feel when you found out you were going to be featured as a PenPal Star?
Facundo: Surprised, I didn't think I would be recognized.
Luis: I felt really honored.
Carlos: Nervous and happy at the same time.
What has been your favorite thing about learning with PenPals?
Facundo: That I can speak to persons around the globe. [I learned how] the persons live their life.
Luis: I really like that I can read texts from students all over the world. [It] is important to learn from other people.
Carlos: I like texting in English to other people.
How has your project changed the way you think about the world?
Facundo: Because [now] I see how the world is around.
Luis: I started thinking that the world is bigger than I thought. There are plenty of different opinions from different persons, and it's interesting to learn from them.
Carlos: I learn new things from different countries.
What advice do you have about being a great PenPal?
Facundo: Write without fear! It’s like a big family!
Luis: Be a respectful person, and treat the others as an educated person. Don't judge them and their cultures.
Carlos: [Become] better at texting in English and practise texting with other people
What is your favorite subject in school and why?
Facundo: Biology, because i can speak about a theme that a I like.
Luis: I like math, because I'm good working with numbers.
Carlos: Math because it's easy for me.
What do you like to do after school or for fun? Are you in any clubs or activities?
Facundo: I like to create various thing, to play D&D and play videogames. I’m in the chess club.
Luis: I like doing exercise, playing video games and reading books. But I'm not in a club or something.
Carlos: I like playing basketball and watching Youtube.
You’ve learned about several different countries with World Explorer. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Facundo: Italy, thanks to its architecture and history, in which I'm really interested in.
Luis: I'd like to go to Japan, because I really like their culture and their city buildings.
Carlos: I think Paris because I want to travel with my mom, and it's her favourite place.
Why do you think it's important to learn with other students from around the world?
Luis: Because you can learn from different points of view.
Carlos: [You learn about] all their culture and traditions.
As you can see from their responses, students really enjoy having the opportunity to collaborate with peers around the world! Students are motivated to have a global audience to publish their ideas to and also benefit from learning from multiple perspectives. We reached out to Ms. Garcia to learn a bit more about how she used global project based learning to help her students:
PENPAL SCHOOLS: What has been your favorite part of PenPal Schools?
Ms. Garcia: Sharing my students' activities with students from around the globe
How has learning with PenPals from around the world impacted your students?
They love reading and checking posts from other students.
How did you connect your project to your curriculum?
It was part of a writing assignment about emails. So instead of writing the email to a friend. We decided to write postcards from our city to the world.
How did you share your students' learning with your school community?
We haven't done this yet. But we will do it in the Spring Semester. This way we hope to get more teachers and students to join PenPal Schools projects.
Tell us how you supported your students throughout this project. How much class time did you dedicate to PenPal Schools?
We had a couple of sessions to do the project. The students were able to write their postcards right here in the classroom.
What kind of instructional supports did you provide for your students?
My students did not require extra instructional support because the lessons are written in a clear way. And you have three levels of expertise (beginner, intermediate, advanced) for them to choose from."
What advice would you give a teacher who is new to project-based learning or PenPal Schools?
Explore the website. Take a look at every project and lesson. I'm sure that you will find more than way to be a part of a world community. Projects and lessons are ready. Choose one and begin a travelling experience from the comfort of you classroom.
Congratulations, Ms. García’s class! Your beautiful postcards paint a picture of life in Monterrey for students around the world. Thank you for being incredible PenPals and contributing to our global learning community,
Learn more about how global PBL can support teaching the SDGs:
Teach the SDGs: A student from Ukraine speaks out for the environment in this project based learning example
Global PBL Idea: Teach the SDGs with PenPal Schools
Students of the World Explore and Protect Coral Reefs
Students Discuss News About Gun Violence in America