May 25, 2018

What is International Mindedness
and why is it important?


 Author:
Matthew Locker

What does it mean to be internationally minded? It is a query that has many different answers to many different people.

It is also a question that is increasingly more relevant in the modern world. We are all used to the idea of the modern world becoming smaller and more connected. Phrases like “It's a small world!" or thinking of the world as a "Global Village" are testament to this. In fact, in our politically fraught modern world, one could argue that this quality of being internationally minded becomes more and more important.

Inherently, we understand the idea of "self" from birth. As we grow we try to develop our understanding of "other".

As teachers and parents, we try to prepare our students and children for their future. So how do we best do that? One way we do that is to give them the skills to be internationally minded. We teach them to be multilingual, we teach them to respect multiculturalism whilst appreciating the culture they live in. We ask them to positively impact their communities through their actions. We include global content into our school curriculum.

So what can we do to help our students and children become even more internationally minded and how do these qualities shape their lives?

“The IB is built on the vision of education for a better world, and we believe strongly that a commitment to the principles of international-mindedness, a global outlook and intercultural exchange are foundational to that vision,” says Dr Siva Kumari, Director General of the International Baccalaureate.

The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

As IB learners, we strive to be like the learner profile attributes.

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-Takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective

Inquirers

We ask children to be more inquisitive. We teach them to ask lots of questions. We encourage and support our children in finding out for themselves. We encourage them to take action to learn more.

Knowledgeable

We prepare students to think before they act. We encourage them to help their friends and so develop their understanding. We require students to make responsible, good choices.

Thinkers

We prepare students to think before they act. We encourage them to help their friends and so develop their understanding. We require students to make responsible, good choices.

Communicators

We teach students to be clear and confident communicators in more than one language. We ask them to be active listeners and to be respectful towards others.

Principled

We encourage the students to feel proud of who they are. We teach them to be independent and capable. We help students decide to make honest and fair choices.

Open-minded

We teach our students to be aware of our similarities and differences and to respect both. We expose our students to new cultures and experiences. We value trying to learn in multiple ways.

Caring

We care about other people. We help because we can help others. We respect and care for our environments.

Risk-takers

We explore unfamiliar things, whilst making sure it is safe to be so. We try new things with a positive attitude. We take the chance to be wrong sometimes.

Balanced

We understand the right times to work, to play and to rest. We interact with many different people. We take the rough with the smooth.

Reflective

We think about ourselves and how we can improve. We assess our work and analyze where our strengths and weaknesses lie.

How do we try and incorporate international-mindedness into our school and education?

There are other ways we strive to educate students towards international-mindedness and global citizenship; at DSK we aim to live our school’s philosophy and to create shared values and ethics.

Our commitment to international-mindedness will influence the governance and management practices of our school. Our curriculum construction, assessment, standards, and benchmarks, should reflect international and multicultural perspectives.

Our school community’s diversity needs to be explored, incorporated and celebrated at every opportunity. This means that students grow up in a setting where cultural diversity is the norm, whilst at the same time, our school helps students to discover and interact with the local community, and share their own personal cultural values.

Our school is the cornerstone of the educational experiences that students develop a sense of international-mindedness. We create opportunities for students to explore their role and their understanding outside the classroom. Through both field trips and extra-curricular activities.

In our school, we incorporate English, German and Japanese into the programs and curriculum in many creative ways. Language will not be a barrier to cultural understanding.

The ecological, economical and political global situation is at a point where nobody on our planet can continue thinking just for themselves, their family or country. We believe that mankind needs to take action to save the world. We want our students to be prepared to take over responsibilities, to become leaders in the future and to make a difference for a better world in the future.

In the words of Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, “I do think the 21st-century is about a more global view. Where you don’t just think, yes my country is doing well, but you think about the world at large”.

I would love to read more like this, take me back to the blogs!