Education for Transition Towards a Global Society
A K-8 Social Science Framework
Education for Transition toward a Global SocietyEEE
Robert Siegel, M.A.
After two world wars, and the creation of the United Nations Organization, there have been many attempts at laying down the contractual framework for what appears to be a painfully emerging global society. By bringing together political, scientific, and socio-economic representatives from around the world to consult on increasingly relevant and urgent issues to the earth’s population (e.g. Rio Earth Summit, Socio-Economic Sustainability Conference in Copenhagen, Women’s Conference in Beijing, to name a few), a heightened awareness of our interdependence has become a platform from which to attempt to solve today’s complex problems. Yet, with all the reactive energies expended out of need, little has been done to proactively consider how we must prepare future generations for living, working, and thriving in an inexorably evolving global society – a future condition in which they are the protagonists.
For twenty-five years, the author has lived, worked and raised a family outside of the United States and participated in numerous international conferences and conventions in Central and South America, Europe and the Middle East. During that time, experience as an international educator and administrator led to an awareness of the need for foundational social and emotional skills and capacities in order to truly capture the spirit of living and learning in a world community. In attempting to analyze where to begin, traditional educational curriculum frameworks seemed to be lacking both the focus and the tools in order to meet such needs, yet the area of the social sciences seemed to be a good place to start. This led to the informational research undertaken for the current work as well as by simulation through the creation of a pilot private educational facility in Chile, South America, which had as one of its core principles, the oneness of humankind.
After five years, the findings and implications far surpassed the intended original outcomes. In order to educate for transition toward a global society, there appears to be the need for an entirely new and inverse approach towards developing a curriculum for the social sciences – an approach which the writer has termed outside-in. The curriculum framework and proposed K-8 scope and sequence is based, therefore, on the premise that first and foremost we are all human beings, and that a wider loyalty exists to our species as a result of that predominant commonality. In other words, the unity of the species becomes the foundation for the study of the social sciences, the oneness of humankind becomes a given, and the diversity of its component parts are accidental and secondary but at the same time an enriching and colorful phenomena.
The implications of the application of such an educational concept are many, the greatest of which is the way in which the young generation of a particular societal culture views itself within the context of its global neighborhood. The spectrum of decision-making is broadened and the playing field is the earth itself. As we live and serve under such a paradigm, we truly become active parts of a whole the outcome of which essentially benefits us all, with far greater significance than any one of us could accomplish alone.
After receiving a quality K-12 education from Chicago suburban schools and graduating with honors, Rob entered the University of California with expectations of being a mathematics teacher. By the end of his sophomore year, however, personal interest took a sharp turn towards discovering the humanities – specifically the social, emotional and anthropological impact of living in an increasingly diverse society. He graduated with a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and an Elementary Teaching Credential from the University of California at Sonoma and the opportunity arose to practice first hand the elements of multi-culturalism. Rob moved to Chile, South America with his wife and small child in 1972, which was so rewarding that they decided to make Chile their home for 25 years, raising four children. Although he always kept the field of education close to his heart, his career turned toward extensive work during 15 years with large multinational firms such as Mobil Oil, NCR and Digital Equipment Corporation as Director of Finance and Administration. Rob was also head of the Education Committee for the US Embassy in Chile, promoting educational understanding between Latin and North American businesses and served on the board of a large USA/Chile partnership in the computer industry. His passion for excellence in education and varied experience in multicultural awareness and appreciation for diversity, along with great interest in global understanding underscored research in the area of the social sciences which became the initial research for his Master of Arts degree in Humanities. When charged with the responsibility for starting an English immersion elementary school in southern Chile, Rob piloted his research in education for transition toward a global society, obtaining curriculum approval from the Ministry of Education of Chile. During that time he also worked with the UN Educational Publications department in curriculum development for the World Summit on Economic and Social Development.
Rob moved to Oregon, USA in 1997 and was hired as Curriculum and Student Services Director for a rural public school district. He participated as a member of the Oregon Social Science Content and Assessment Panel for three years and currently serves on the Oregon Department of Education Assessment Advisory Council. He received a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Oregon and is currently employed as Federal Programs Coordinator for a large and diverse school district in Portland, Oregon, USA.
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