Let's Talk More About Global Learning

What is global learning?

Global learning is essentially education for a fair and sustainable world. In other words, a world free of poverty where all human beings are treated with respect and dignity and where individuals, communities, businesses and countries behave in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. Key global learning concepts include poverty, global inequality, social justice, sustainable development and global interdependence.

Global learning helps pupils make sense of the increasingly globalised, complex and rapidly changing world in which they live. It enables pupils to think critically about world issues and to develop an awareness of the impact our own actions can have on others.  A holistic approach to global learning equips young people with the essential knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions that will enable them to realise their potential and make a positive contribution to our world.

Why global learning?

Studies have shown pupils have a great interest in learning about the world around them. A 2009 survey by Ipsos MORI revealed that 92% of young people thought it was important to learn where the things they use, such as food, energy and water, come from. Another piece of research, published by the Centre for Global Education in 2010, highlighted the desire of Northern Irish pupils to learn more about global issues, as well as their willingness to engage actively in change to make the world a better place.

Research carried out by the Global Learning Programme (2014-2018), shows the positive impact global learning can have on schools. Read more about this here.

How does global learning support the NI curriculum?

Global Learning is not an add-on to the curriculum, but rather provides an important lens through which to explore and enhance the existing curriculum strands, topics and skills. Global learning can be incorporated into any subject/topic taught within the classroom. For example, in maths lessons pupils can examine statistics on global inequality, while in music they can explore songs about injustice from around the world. 

Global Learning helps schools meet existing curriculum requirements, promotes connected learning, and strengthens the quality of teaching within areas such as Personal Development and Mutual Understanding (PDMU), The World Around Us, Local and Global Citizenship, and the Key Elements. Additionally, it complements other initiatives and award schemes, such as Eco-Schools, Fairtrade Schools, International Schools and Rights Respecting Schools.

See this page for examples of how global learning resources can be used at primary level to meet requirements and this page for some post-primary examples. Ultimately, the aim of global learning is to ensure pupils leave school ready to contribute to developing a fair and sustainable world.