The basis for the Global Citizenship Program at Rysensteen Gymnasium
Rysensteen Gymnasium’s underlying values since the 1990s have been democratic, both in the classroom and in the school’s culture in general. Students have always had a say in many decisions. They have participated in the formation of evaluations, and have often taken responsibility for the planning of the school’s activities and events.
Both the democratic culture and the high academic level, which is another characteristic of the school, did earlier have an international perspective through student participation in, fx,MEP (Model European Parliament) and MUN (Model United Nations) as a way to implement the Danish Ministry for Education’s paragraph 1.5 of the national high-school curriculum for STX (gymnasium), which states that:
“Students should… acquire the prerequisites for active participation in a democratic society and an understanding of the possibilities for individually and collectively, to contribute to the development and change, and understanding of both the local, the European and global perspective”
But the initiatives were individualiised and not part of a fully structured program, until Rysensteen in 2011 chose to approach the implementation of the paragraph in a much more ambitious and structured way – through the introduction of the Global Citizenship Program
The Global Citizenship Program, or just GCP, provides a framework in which the school’s students can broaden their understanding of the challenges that exist in educating and developing oneself in a globalized world, and where the local, the regional and the global meet, with all the dilemmas and demands on cultural understanding that this creates. The GCP should be understood as a providing a perspective to the students’ education within subjects that they already receive during their 3 years at gymnasium.
The program is adjusted according to the students’ course of study. However, it also involves projects, to which all classes are introduced, where students gain an understanding of the implicit educational perspectives and values, which are characteristic for and particular to Danish culture.
Curriculum for the Global Citizenship Program
Identity and purpose
The Global Citizenship Program is a frame work for an internationally oriented approach to knowledge and competences and a renewed general education concept - called global citizenship - to accommodate the influence of globalization on the teaching of STX. The internationally oriented approach to knowledge and competences should, through the use of concepts, theories and methods from various disciplines, enable students to relate reflected to the surrounding society and develop their understanding of cultural values and cultural differences, and in this way develop their abilities to commit in and critically and constructively to their own and foreign cultures. The internationally oriented approach to knowledge and competences also gives the students practical insight into the possibilities and requirements for both education abroad and to work in an internationally oriented business. In this way we will prepare Rysensteens students and motivate them to study at foreign institutions and seek work in companies that operate in an international market and develop their abilities for innovation and entrepreneurship across national and continental borders.
Global Citizenship Program
The goal of the renewed general education concept is that students develop into global citizens. This means citizens who understand themselves as both individuals and as part of a local, national and worldwide community in a globalized age. Global citizens have the ability and courage to reflect on both their own and others' values in encounters with the diversity of foreign cultures. They respect, with a strong grounding in their own democratic values, differences in tradition, language, religion, customs and way of life, and is set to - differences notwithstanding - understand and take responsibility for solutions to global problems.
Global Citizenship consists of three main components:
- Understanding the complexities that underlie current global issues.
- The ability to contribute to solutions to these global problems.
- The ability to reflect on own and others' values in encounters with foreign cultures and meeting these cultures with openness and empathy.
The understanding of global issues is created by the students' constant dealing with changing key global issues in both mono-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary courses. The teaching of both mono-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary courses also contribute to students' ability to solve global issues. For example, through a strong focus on the knowledge of how to influence relevant policy-making processes or insight or how to implement science-innovation can solve challenges such as global warming, water shortages or famine.
The ability to reflect on own and others' values in encounters with foreign cultures, and meet them with openness and empathy is formed both through traditional academic teaching and through cooperation with students from a partner school abroad. The acquisition of this ability is an end in itself, but is also a prerequisite for students to use their above abilities constructively to contribute to solutions to global problems. Global problems are solved not by knowledge and good ideas alone, but just as much through the ability to communicate and collaborate across cultural and national boundaries.
Program objectives and course content
The following academic objectives relate both to the acquisition of factual knowledge and obtaining skills and competences. Together they form the foundation for students to use their own opportunities in the globalized world and act as responsible citizens of the world.
These objectives are:
- To increase students` knowledge of political, geographical, science, culture and historical conditions in such a way that they see their own and other countries' possibilities and limitations in this light.
- To understand other cultures through these cultures artistic and aesthetic expression.
- To develop students' language skills.
- To increase students' understanding of today's global problem complexes. These problem complexes will continually change, but are at the moment: democratic problems related to economic globalization, the relationship between culture and nation as well as the relationship between economic growth and environmental sustainability.
- To develop students' innovative skills to enable them to engage in processes that can help address today's global challenges.
- To enable students to engage in dialogue across cultural boundaries, including how at national and international cooperation can create solutions to today's global problems.
- To let the students be acquainted with how the concept of citizenship has evolved as a way to understand how to be a global citizen today differs from the earlier thoughts on the concept and thereby also enable the students to assess the obligations that come with the idea of global citizenship.
- To develop students' local, national and especially international network in such a way that they can be themselves and their networks to benefit after the completion of STX.
Organization and didactic principles
The teaching of the Global Citizenship programme is organized mainly problem-oriented and project-organized with the involvement of cases for exemplifying and analysing issues.
We work from ”a laboratory approach” with the following fixed program points:
- A short field study in 1.g based on the partner school's geographic location.
- A brief presentation through exemplary texts of the different disciplinary and cultural understandings of man.
- At least two Internet-based projects with students from the partner school (if it can be done with a partner school).
- Exchanges with the partner school.
- Follow-up conference during the students' senior year in high school, where the respective cohorts global citizenship-experiences are presented to the other cohorts
The selected topics / key problems are based on the respective cohorts' field of study. In connection with the teaching external partners such as company representatives, entrepreneurs and experts are involved. It is paramount that the chosen teaching methods promote students' ability to structure, formulate and communicate technical issues in an intercultural framework of understanding.