Bringing globalization to American classrooms

All it takes is a few strategies and the quality of education in the Unites States could be improved, said Merry Merryfield, a professor of global education at Ohio State University.

Merryfield said Monday it is the strategies of globalization and internationalization that American classrooms need if teachers want to see any improvements among their students.

In her lecture titled “Teaching Global Perspectives: World-Centered Education in American Classrooms,” Merryfield, also a professor of social studies, discussed how to internationalize U.S. education.

Barbara Cruz, a professor of social sciences at USF, brought Merryfield to campus.

“I think she is the leading thinker, writer and educator in America,” she said.

During the lecture, Merryfield presented alternative ways for American K-12 teachers to instruct their students about globalization.

“In most places in this country, we are not preparing young people to understand globalization or showing them how to take a role in shaping it,” Merryfield said.

She said that global education addresses these issues in two ways.

First, she said, was the inclusion of interdisciplinary learning from many cultures.

“This means not just scholarship from Americans or Europeans but bringing in scholarship from other parts of the world,” Merryfield said.

The second way to help educate children about globalization, Merryfield said, is by the inclusion of issues and concerns of people who are often invisible in the American curriculum.

“I would guess that probably 80 percent of the world’s people never have their voices heard, never have their literature read and never have their issues and concerns heard,” Merryfield said.

In addition to the ways global education addressed teaching globalization to children, Merryfield discussed four strategies teachers can use to help educate their students better.

The three strategies included examining the legacy of imperial worldviews, confronting stereotypes and lack of information through multiple perspectives, as well as analyzing how power and status shape knowledge.

Merryfield added that the way teachers view the world and present their ideas and teaching materials can also have an effect on how children learn.

“What seems to distinguish global educators from other educators is their attention to the synchronicity and interconnectedness of the human experience, instead of the us-or-them philosophy,” Merryfield said.