Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So, is it five, six, or seven continents?

It was approximately two months ago...  I live in a Latin American country which includes a bilingual system within its educational.  These are private schools which teach major subjects in English (mostly American English).  The only classes served in Spanish are the ones pertaining own´s country, e.g. "Español, Estudios Sociales".

As the world is becoming smaller, we become world citizens that develop a greater sense of belonging in a constantly globalized world.  But what does this really mean?  What is the idea behind being global?  As educators, we are compelled to develop global skills on our students, to aid them into becoming responsible digital citizens of the world.

Ok, but going back to my two-month-ago story:  It suddenly hit me that in my bilingual school, my Social Studies teacher would tell us that the world had five continents.  However my "Estudios Sociales" teacher would make us color a world map of seven continents.  So, I addressed a question to my PLN on Twitter:

How many continents do you teach your students there are?
I did get few responses from American teachers which reported they were five.  One of them asked if that number had changed.  Another inquired in Wikipedia to find out that the number of continents varies according to location!  Now, as I don´t really want to make a case about continents, I do ask you:  When you teach this particular topic how do you do it to help your kids think global?  Do you teach them it is five continents as if that were a stone-graven truth?

How do we teach our students to think globally and to be world citizens?  How do we make them aware of the fact that there is a world out there which thinks pretty different than what we do?  As you become an innovative and connected teacher, take advantage of such connections to not only enhance your teaching, but also to enrich your content.

So next time your students ask you how many continents is the world divided into, what will you answer them?

For more ideas on how to be global, please read my guest post on Lisa  Nielsen´s blog.

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