‘Taking It Local’, an Asia-Pacific Regional Global Citizenship Education Network (GCED) workshop for master trainers, 14 to 15 October 2021
While there is global recognition of the central role of global citizenship education in helping to transform societies, relatively little is being done at regional levels to make this vision a reality. National education policies in Asia and the Pacific are beginning to include global citizenship as a key lever; however, there remains a gap between that indicator of progress and what is necessary to achieve at local levels towards enabling young learners to become resilient by possessing the skills, values, and attitudes to become proactive citizens in their communities, and to redress the deeply embedded inequalities inherent in local social organization.
To build on the momentum developing towards taking GCED local in the Asia-Pacific region, UNESCO Bangkok and the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) jointly developed and co-hosted an online training workshop to empower master trainers with skills and knowledge to conduct GCED workshops in their local contexts. The overarching purpose of this workshop was to mutually introduce participants – educators, teachers, master trainers – to skills development activities that collectively serve as a model for master trainers in conducting a ‘GCED: Taking It Local’ workshop in their own communities.
Based on the UNESCO-APCEIU joint publication, Understanding GCED in Asia-Pacific: A How-to Guide for ‘Taking It Local’ (APCEIU, 2020; hereafter ‘Guide’), this 2-day online workshop was held from 14 to 15 October, with facilitation provided by Dr. Darla K. Deardorff, author of the guidebook.
55 participants from 16 countries participated in the 2-day workshop. Opening remarks from both Ms. Margarete Sachs-Israel, Chief of Section for Inclusive Quality Education, UNESCO Bangkok, and from Dr. Hyun Mook Lim, Director of APCEIU highlighted the importance of capacity development for GCED at local levels. Ms. Li Wang of UNESCO Bangkok introduced the workshop and Dr. Faryal Khan, Programme Specialist for Education, UNESCO Bangkok, highlighted the importance of bringing GCED into the Asia-Pacific context as the region rebuilds education beyond the pandemic; she also provided an overview of key resources for the task, with a special focus on the how-to Guide and its approach to GCED.
Story Circles, a key exercise for the first day, comprise a powerful tool in building solidarity and embracing diversity. The Guide proposes Story Circles as a key activity for beginning the workshop. UNESCO Story Circles not only help to bring participants together; in addition, the intercultural methodology it facilitates has been successfully piloted by UNESCO all over the world, as the exercise illustrates the three core GCED notions of (i) respect for diversity, (ii) solidarity and (iii) a shared sense of humanity. Since these notions have existed in root cultures across Asia and the Pacific throughout history, participants were able to experience them through UNESCO Story Circles, which are designed to help participants practice key intercultural competencies. The key exercise on the second day of the workshop was a modified jigsaw activity, which is a highly interactive frame in which participants teach each other about pre-existing, local concepts readily related to GCED. This is done with participants starting in a ‘home’ group, then migrating to a ‘content/concept’ group, after which they return to the ‘home’ group to teach what they have learned from the exercise. Given the online, pandemic-necessitated format of this particular workshop, the jigsaw activity was appropriately modified to accommodate a virtual experience that preserved, as much as possible, the in-person qualities of the jigsaw activity.
In summary, the workshop was received with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Participants submitted both their action plans for implementation in their local contexts and their evaluations of the workshop at the conclusion session to UNESCO Bangkok. Participants described the Story Circles workshop experience as ‘amazing’, ‘fabulous’, ‘collaborative’, ‘wonderful’, ‘harmonious’, and ‘heart-warming’. They further reported that the Story Circles exercise could foster mutual respect and help build a culture of mutual tolerance, noting especially the usefulness of intentionally focusing on listening for understanding. Several recurring themes that emerged from participants’ reflections include the merits of starting local with GCED; focusing on practical actions that can be implemented locally; including more experiential learning activities in GCED workshops (as modelled in this one); and prioritizing how to integrate GCED into classroom activities. Closing remarks by Dr. Khan and Dr. Deardorff focused on the significance of taking this learning further in implementing GCED workshops at national and sub-national levels, and the power of GCED in equipping young learners with the skills, competencies and confidence they need to effectively address challenges they are facing in their respective societies, as well as encountering at the global level.
The workshop was conducted in English.
- GCED network members, officials from member states (i.e., Ministry of Education, National Commissions for UNESCO), teaching professionals, master trainers for teacher training, research institutes and youth networks
Agenda click here
Organisers and Key Partners
UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok) and Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU)
Main photo credit: ©Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia