Cities are places where global interconnections are made ~ they are hubs of economic, social and political decision making.  This section offers a series of activities for exploring issues of globalisation and development, through Humanities.  The activities build on personal experiences of cities to stimulate enquiry skills … and make global connections.

Key sections:

What is it about cities, globalisation and development?

What does this mean for global learning?

Teaching activities

Further ideas

What is it about cities, globalisation and development?

Is globalisation a problem or a solution?  Exploring how globalisation and development are linked is key to answering this difficult question.  Global decision making about trade, communication and finance influence poverty levels, forms of protest, conflict, democracy and human rights.  These, in turn, influence globalisation.  Are these influences positive, or negative? 

How do we start to explore the complexity of these issues with young people?

Can we envisage a world in which the consequences of globalisation  have led to greater equity, eradicated poverty and conflict, and enabled everyone to have a voice?  Equally, can we envisage a world without the implications of globalisation?  Would we go ‘back to the dark ages’ of communication, trade, food production and employment?  How can ‘globalisation’ and ‘development’ offer things to each other, in order to achieve objectives such as the Millennium Development Goals?

Thinking it through shares some key ideas about cities, people and development.  Cities are often aspiring to be ‘global’, but what does this mean?  For example, Birmingham aims to be seen as a ‘global city with a local heart

International sporting events, like the London Olympics in 2012, certainly raise the ‘global’ profile of host cities, as do major universities, financial institutions and retail businesses.  They offer a meaningful, manageable focus for young people’s looking at global issues, and our connections with people around the world.

What does this mean for global learning?

‘We live in an interconnected world, a world in which we are increasingly drawn into the same space and time as people in different parts of the world.  This process has been given a name – globalisation.  Whilst some would argue that the forces of globalisation are felt universally, there is perhaps no place where they are more evident than in our cities.’  - Cities and Citizenship, Tide~ global learning, 2004

In 2001, a group of teachers developed CPD and pupil activities exploring definitions of globalisation.  You might find it useful to discuss whether, 11 years later, perspectives on globalisation have changed significantly.

Considering globalisation, and how it will affect life in the future, raises controversial questions with complex answers.  Ways of seeing and organising the world, that have suited us for the last fifty years, will not necessarily be adequate for the next fifty.  What should we, as teachers, be doing about it now?  One starting point is to think about what a community might be like when our learners are 45.  This helps us to think about learner needs, now and in the future - for example through using the Wheel of change.

Enabling global learning in the KS3 curriculum proposes an entitlement to global learning for young people and suggests a range of CPD activities to support discussions with colleagues which teacher groups have found useful.  Building on these ideas, a group of teachers have explored ways of expressing progression in global learning, [Link new pdf] and have developed a proposed framework based around existing criteria for Citizenship, PLTS, Literacy, Geography and PSHE.  We’d be very interested in your comments about this framework.

Teaching activities

A teacher group has been developing activities and downloadable materials around the impact of globalisation on people and cities.  We hope that you will find the following ideas relevant to your own classroom context.

Globalisation – a problem or a solution?

At Colton Hills Community School, Wolverhampton, teachers have developed a Year 7 integrated curriculum unit, focussing on RE, Geography and PLTS.

Representing global connections

Teachers from the Geography and Textiles departments worked together at The King’s CE School, Wolverhampton, to develop a Year 8 unit, exploring how global connections can be represented, using new technologies.

Dubai – the impossible city?

Students at Bordesley Green Girls School, Birmingham carried out a personal learning project in Geography on sustainable cities.

Further ideas

A key aspect of globalisation is the migration of populations between countries and cities.  Living archives shares an enquiry approach through Geography and History, using archive material to explore people’s migration stories now and in the past.

Can we identify common characteristics for all cities? How would these characteristics help us to think about development and its influence on people’s lives? Dadabb – like a city? [Link new pdf SS] takes a refugee camp in Kenya, as the focus for a student or CPD activity.

Enabling global learning through the KS3 curriculum offers ideas about global learning through cross-curricular approaches, through subjects including Geography, History and Citizenship, and across the whole school.

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