Taking Global Education Beyond the Classroom

By Mark Otter, VIF COO
“The only way we can make the world better and solve major global issues like poverty, is by including the voices and minds of the marginalized, grassroots organizations, businesses, governments and the entire global community.”

~ Jennifer Vollmann, former head of New Global Citizens

VIF International Education (VIF) is expanding beyond the classroom with its relaunch of New Global Citizens (NGC).
Since 2005, New Global Citizens has worked with thousands of students on hundreds of grassroots, community-driven initiatives to achieve one goal: activate individuals as global citizens. With its classroom, after-school and community-based programs, NGC has been equipping young people with the mindset, skills, empathy and passion to collaborate, think big and create partnerships across borders to help solve global issues.
These programs have often served as the first educational introduction young people have to global competency and service, and because of their experience with NGC, thousands of students will spend their lives helping solve these issues. To make this world better we need millions of global citizens that can focus their talents and energies into solving big problems and helping others.
In an effort to reach and create globally minded citizens, VIF has been dedicated to educating and empowering teachers as a way to reach students for close to 30 years. Everyone deserves access to a high-quality education. Achieving that is our mission, and we continue to work towards ensuring inclusive, equitable access for all students.
“Much like us, New Global Citizens has set out to support the development of knowledge, skills and expertise necessary for students to become mindful, global citizens,” said VIF CEO David Young. “We look forward to relaunching their complementary curricular programs that will enrich our offerings, enabling us to equip teachers with what they need to successfully introduce after-school programs.”
Now, with the relaunch and addition of NGC, VIF has the ability to not only engage teachers, but for the first time reach students as well.

Direct to Teacher

Like VIF, NGC offers a supplemental curriculum for grades 6th‐12th designed to support teachers in all subject areas as they integrate global issues into their current coursework. The NGC Classroom Program offers units, lesson plans, hands‐on student activities and resources for teachers to inculcate their content area with global issues.
The curriculum uses a combination of research‐based pedagogies. These include project‐based and problem‐based learning, activities to strengthen academic and civic discourse and a variety of other tools to give students a deeper understanding of global issues through engaging and thought‐provoking curriculum that is aligned to Common Core Standards and 21st Century Skills.

“Global education cannot be an add-on. It has to be integrated across all subjects and activities. Global education is the lens through which all teaching and learning should occur.”

~ David Young, VIF CEO

The combined professional development (PD) and curricular resources now available through VIF and NGC will offer a holistic and comprehensive approach for K-12 education. Teachers at VIF Global Schools are provided with inquiry-based PD–culturally responsive and dual language instruction–curricular materials, instructional support and access to an online community of educators. One of the most important features of VIF’s PD structure is a digital badging system that has provided VIF global teachers opportunities to demonstrate classroom implementation and growing expertise in their global teaching practices.
As featured last week on Getting Smart, VIF’s recently acquired Participate Learning, a platform for educators to collaborate around resource discovery and professional development. Through this acquisition, visitors to the VIF Learning Center will find an enhanced collaborative learning platform that will include NGC’s content and curricular resources. These resources are designed to develop the key skills and experience in leadership, collaboration, cross-cultural communication, civic-engagement, critical thinking, problem solving, digital literacy and project management every student needs.

Direct to Student

VIF’s theory of action focuses on teacher learning to change and strengthen teacher practice with the ultimate goal: student impact.
For nearly 30 years, VIF has focused on the ongoing development of teachers with the knowledge that they are the most important drivers for student success. What we have observed is that when teachers engage in sustained global professional development, they actively look for opportunities for students to build their global competence through direct action in their local and global community.
Through NGC, an established and respected organization and a leader in international youth development, participating teachers will now be able to provide students the following:

  • Opportunities for international development training
  • Connections to global grassroots projects
  • Resources to create real, sustainable change in their community

Opportunities for students are provided through the NGC Global Projects–grassroots, community‐driven international organizations that expose students to how communities are finding solutions to complex global issues at the local level. The NGC after-school program is a student‐led program designed to provide youth with their first educational introduction to global competency and service.
Students who start a NGC Team on their middle or high school campus are supported by NGC lessons, activities and guides to learn about NGC’s 10 Global Issues (below right) and select an NGC Global Project they want to support throughout the year.
Teams support their global project by educating their school and community about their initiative, advocating to local, national, and international leaders to take action on a global issue, and raising funds to support their project.

Photo Courtesy of PBS.org

For the VIF learning community, a relaunch of NGC strengthens and extends its existing global education initiatives through access to Global Partners worldwide. NGC partners with vetted, sustainable, effective and transparent grassroots organizations around the world that enhances participating schools’ connection to real world issues for students to impact.
Our mission of creating engaging learning environments that integrate technology, cultural literacy and other 21st century skills into classroom instruction continues to expand with New Global Citizens and Participate Learning, both now part of VIF.
We encourage your feedback, ideas and input as we unite these resources and organizations committed to global learning and professional development in the 21st Century. Please leave your comments below or tag us in a tweet using @vifglobaled.
For more, see:

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1 Comment


Enlightening and motivating article...thank you so much, Mark, for all these wonderful thoughts and ideas!!

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