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Teaching Global Citizens: Following the News
Unformatted Document Text:  Jennifer Rutledge and Serena Laws “Educating Global Citizens” **DRAFT ** Instead, for most of the interviewees the goal of the class was related to encouraging critical thinking skills and making the subject matter relevant to the lives of the students. Several people mentioned that they wanted students to be able to analyze what they hear on the news. In addition, there was an emphasis from many of the interviewees that the goal of the class was to challenge students’ assumptions. These two strands of thinking were encapsulated by one instructor who commented: “I want them to look at the world outside of themselves and have the tools to understand it.” There was an interesting division between instructors and professors regarding the goal of the class. The professors both expressed the opinion that the Intro class was a ‘gateway’ class for the department that would, hopefully, encourage students to take more political science classes. There was a very instrumental sense of the course from the professors not exhibited by the graduate instructors, who focused much more on teaching critical or analytical thinking and giving the students tools with which to understand the world. One instructor also commented specifically on what she saw as a citizenship aspect of the class – that one of the goals of the class was to help students better understand their role as citizens. She argued that, given the leadership role the US has in the world, students need to understand that role in order to be better citizens. When the discussion turned to the issue of current events many of the interviewees discussed using current events as illustrative of issues or to contextualize the issues covered in class. Current events were thought to make the material ‘less dry.’ Several interviewees discussed using current events, or contemporary concerns, as ‘hooks’ to get students interested and focused on the concepts of the class. For instance, one professor starts his class with the issue of nuclear proliferation and talks about that subject in terms of Iran gaining nuclear 14

Authors: Rutledge, Jennifer. and Laws, Serena.
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Jennifer Rutledge and Serena Laws
“Educating Global Citizens” **DRAFT **
Instead, for most of the interviewees the goal of the class was related to encouraging
critical thinking skills and making the subject matter relevant to the lives of the students. Several
people mentioned that they wanted students to be able to analyze what they hear on the news. In
addition, there was an emphasis from many of the interviewees that the goal of the class was to
challenge students’ assumptions. These two strands of thinking were encapsulated by one
instructor who commented: “I want them to look at the world outside of themselves and have the
tools to understand it.”
There was an interesting division between instructors and professors regarding the goal of
the class. The professors both expressed the opinion that the Intro class was a ‘gateway’ class
for the department that would, hopefully, encourage students to take more political science
classes. There was a very instrumental sense of the course from the professors not exhibited by
the graduate instructors, who focused much more on teaching critical or analytical thinking and
giving the students tools with which to understand the world. One instructor also commented
specifically on what she saw as a citizenship aspect of the class – that one of the goals of the
class was to help students better understand their role as citizens. She argued that, given the
leadership role the US has in the world, students need to understand that role in order to be better
citizens.
When the discussion turned to the issue of current events many of the interviewees
discussed using current events as illustrative of issues or to contextualize the issues covered in
class. Current events were thought to make the material ‘less dry.’ Several interviewees
discussed using current events, or contemporary concerns, as ‘hooks’ to get students interested
and focused on the concepts of the class. For instance, one professor starts his class with the
issue of nuclear proliferation and talks about that subject in terms of Iran gaining nuclear
14


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