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Teaching Global Citizens: Following the News
Unformatted Document Text:  Jennifer Rutledge and Serena Laws “Educating Global Citizens” **DRAFT ** evidence indicates that, while volunteering occurs in great numbers in the last year of high school and in college, the levels of volunteering drop greatly once these people graduate from college (Galston, 2004). While we applaud efforts to increase civic engagement in many ways, including service learning, we believe that prior to any meaningful engagement, students need to have a basic understanding about what is going on in the world, and how to find out about it. We believe that actively encouraging our students to follow the news is a simple method by which to educate future global citizens. We are also interested in making a further argument however that one who follows the news is a more engaged global citizen. News or current events coverage can provide precisely the broader perspective that global citizenship requires. Not only could political science classes teach the tools with which to analyze political events, but the classes could also teach the skills of being aware of political events. This is a basic, necessary precondition for global citizenship. Our concern in undergraduates' knowledge of current events is two-fold. The first is pedagogical: if college students know little about politics, how can they be expected to understand the more abstract political science concepts they encounter in introductory political science courses? In our experiences as teaching assistants in several introductory political science courses, we often observed this disjuncture between students' general lack of understanding of politics and professors' primary focus on more abstract concepts. The pedagogical advantages of teaching with current events are numerous: not only do they provide illustrative examples with which to understand theory-driven concepts and help concepts to ‘stick’, but more importantly, they provide political knowledge about the contemporary world. In addition current events can create the political interest that is necessary for political 5

Authors: Rutledge, Jennifer. and Laws, Serena.
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Jennifer Rutledge and Serena Laws
“Educating Global Citizens” **DRAFT **
evidence indicates that, while volunteering occurs in great numbers in the last year of high
school and in college, the levels of volunteering drop greatly once these people graduate from
college (Galston, 2004).
While we applaud efforts to increase civic engagement in many ways, including service
learning, we believe that prior to any meaningful engagement, students need to have a basic
understanding about what is going on in the world, and how to find out about it. We believe that
actively encouraging our students to follow the news is a simple method by which to educate
future global citizens. We are also interested in making a further argument however that one
who follows the news is a more engaged global citizen. News or current events coverage can
provide precisely the broader perspective that global citizenship requires. Not only could
political science classes teach the tools with which to analyze political events, but the classes
could also teach the skills of being aware of political events. This is a basic, necessary
precondition for global citizenship.
Our concern in undergraduates' knowledge of current events is two-fold. The first is
pedagogical: if college students know little about politics, how can they be expected to
understand the more abstract political science concepts they encounter in introductory political
science courses? In our experiences as teaching assistants in several introductory political
science courses, we often observed this disjuncture between students' general lack of
understanding of politics and professors' primary focus on more abstract concepts. The
pedagogical advantages of teaching with current events are numerous: not only do they provide
illustrative examples with which to understand theory-driven concepts and help concepts to
‘stick’, but more importantly, they provide political knowledge about the contemporary world.
In addition current events can create the political interest that is necessary for political
5


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