ERIC Number: ED498827
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Reference Count: N/A
Educating American Students for Life in a Global Society. Policy Briefs: Education Reform. Volume 2, Number 4
Lansford, Jennifer E.
Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University (NJ1)
Progress in travel, technology, and other domains has contributed to the breaking down of barriers between countries and allowed for the development of an increasingly global society. International cooperation and competition are now pervasive in areas as diverse as business, science, arts, politics, and athletics. Educating students to navigate among cultures in these and other endeavors is crucial if they are to be safe and competitive in a global society. There is, however, widespread concern that American students do not know enough about the rest of the world, including its religions, cultures, and languages, to succeed in it. In the wake of September 11, this concern has increased and has been transformed into specific educational initiatives. For example, on October 25, 2001, President Bush announced the formation of the Friendship Through Education consortium to promote communication between U.S. elementary school students and those in Islamic countries. The main forms of communication include e-mail exchanges between students at partnered schools and "laws of life" essays in which students describe the rules and principles by which they live. More recently, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill became a center of controversy after mandating that all fall 2002 freshmen read sections of the Koran and commentary in Michael Sells' book "Approaching the Qur'an," write a paper in response, and participate in group discussions, with the goal of promoting understanding of Islam. These and other efforts raise the question of how educators should prepare American students for life in a global society. Key efforts to date have included attempts to promote acceptance and awareness of different cultures, enhance communication skills, and reduce prejudice and discrimination. In addition, there is renewed emphasis on having American students help children in other societies learn more about the United States and its peoples. Four main types of education initiatives have been designed to meet these goals: (1) teaching geography, comparative religion, world studies, foreign languages, current events, history, and related subjects within the classroom curriculum; (2) implementing targeted interventions within schools to promote tolerance and cultural understanding; (3) giving families from diverse backgrounds opportunities to share their cultural heritage with other families and students in schools; and (4) hosting exchange students in American schools, offering study abroad programs for American students, and facilitating other forms of direct contact between students from different cultures. This policy brief discusses which among these methods is effective. (Contains 19 endnotes.) [This brief was produced by the Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University, Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy.]
Descriptors: Religion Studies, Elementary School Students, Multicultural Education, Current Events, Cultural Awareness, International Cooperation, Educational Change, Foreign Countries, Communication Skills, Global Approach, Social Values, Competition, Cultural Pluralism, Second Language Learning, International Relations, Friendship, Islamic Culture, Computer Mediated Communication, Essays, College Freshmen, Writing Assignments, Group Discussion, International Studies, Geography, Intervention, Foreign Students, Consciousness Raising
Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University. 257 Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Box 90264, Durham, NC 27708-0264. Tel: 919-613-7319; Fax: 919-681-1533; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: Duke Univ., Durham, NC. Terry Sanford Inst. of Public Policy.
Identifiers - Location: United States