Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Introduction This assignment provides you an opportunity to reflect on the course and the key things you learned. Directions 1. Reflect on the val | WriteDen

Introduction This assignment provides you an opportunity to reflect on the course and the key things you learned. Directions 1. Reflect on the val



This assignment provides you an opportunity to reflect on the course and the key things you learned.


1. Reflect on the value of studying global education. Suppose you are trying to convince someone as to why he or she should take this or a similar comparative education course. What would you say?

2. What are some of the two or three things that you have you learned during your global education studies you might apply to your own teaching or eventual policy making?

due in 12 h


800 words

An Attainable Global Perspective

Author(s): Robert G. Hanvey

Source: Theory Into Practice , Summer, 1982, Vol. 21, No. 3, Global Education (Summer, 1982), pp. 162-167

Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.

Stable URL:

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Robert G. Hanvey

An Attainable Global Perspective

The need for education that promotes a global perspective is increasingly apparent. What is less clear is just what constitutes such a perspective, particularly one which young people might actually be able to attain in the course of their formal and

informal education. In what follows, I will describe certain modes of thought, sensitivities, intellectual skills, and explanatory capacities which might in some measure contribute to the formation of a

global perspective. What is a global perspective? As conceived

here a global perspective is not a quantum, some- thing you either have or don't have. It is a blend of many things and any given individual may be rich in certain elements and relatively lacking in others. The educational goal broadly seen may be to socialize significant collectivities of people so that the important elements of a global perspective are represented in the group. Viewed in this way, a global perspective may be a variable trait pos- sessed in some form and degree by a population, with the precise character of that perspective de- termined by the specialized capacities, predispo- sitions, and attitudes of the group's members. The implications of this notion, of course, is that di- versified talents and inclinations can be encouraged and that standardized educational effects are not

required. Every individual does not have to be brought to the same level of intellectual and moral development in order for a population to be moving in the direction of a more global perspective.

Robert G. Hanvey, a writer and educator with a special interest in global education, resides in the Bloomington, Indiana, area.

With these thoughts in mind we can identify five dimensions of a global perspective. These are:

1. Perspective Consciousness 2. "State of the Planet" Awareness

3. Cross-Cultural Awareness

4. Knowledge of Global Dynamics 5. Awareness of Human Choices

Perspective Consciousness

The recognition or awareness on the part of the individual that he or she has a view of the world

that is not universally shared, that this view of the world has been and continues to be shaped by influences that often escape conscious detection, and that others have views of the world that are

profoundly different from one's own.

Few of us in our lives can actually transcend the viewpoint presented by the common carriers of information and almost none of us can transcend

the cognitive mapping presented by the culture in which we grew up. But with effort we can at least develop a dim sense that we have a perspective, that it can be shaped by subtle influences, and that others have different perspectives. This recognition of the existence, the malleability, and the diversity of perspective we might call perspective conscious- ness. Such an acknowledgement is an important step in the development of a perspective that can legitimately be called global.

One must make a distinction between opinion and perspective. Opinion is the surface layer, the conscious outcropping of perspective. But there are deep and hidden layers of perspective that may be more important in orienting behavior. For example,

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in the deep layers of Western civilization has been the assumption that human dominance over nature is both attainable and desirable. This, until recently, has not been a matter of opinion but assumed as a given.

One of the interesting things that reform and protest movements do is to carry out mining op- erations in the deep layers. They dredge to the surface aspects of perspective that have never be- fore seen the light of day. Once made visible, these may become the foci of debate, matters of opinion. The environmental movement surfaced the as-

sumption of man's right to dominion over nature and thus posed some philosophical choices that had previously escaped notice. The feminist move- ment raised the consciousness of women and men

with respect to "women's place." They labeled the most commonplace behaviors and attitudes "chau- vinist," and thus revealed the deeper layers of perspective in action.

I have suggested that with effort we can de- velop in the young at least a dim sense, a groping recognition of the fact that they have a perspective. And this is very different from knowing that they have opinions. At the present time the schools and the media socialize all of us to be traders in opinion. We learn this through discussion and debate, through the contentious format of forums and organizational meetings, through talk shows and newspaper col- umnists. We learn, especially, that the individual is expected to have opinions and to be willing to assert them. And we learn tacit rules about "tol-

erating" differences in opinions so asserted. We can also learn, if we approach the task

with a sure sense of purpose, how to probe the deep layers of perspective. A variety of specialists and social commentators regularly operate in these realms and there are well-developed methods and techniques. Some of these methods can be learned and practiced. For example, some (but not all) val- ues clarification exercises can heighten awareness of otherwise unrevealed aspects of perspective. At the very least it should be possible to teach almost any young person to recognize a probe of the deep layers when he sees it. Such probes come in many forms, from the ironic humor of a "Doonesbury" cartoon strip to the pop sociology of a book like Future Shock.

"State of the Planet" Awareness

Awareness of prevailing world conditions and de- velopments, including emergent conditions and trends, e.g. population growth, migrations, eco-

nomic conditions, resources and physical environ- ment, political developments, science and technology, law, health, inter-nation and intra-nation conflicts, etc.

For most people in the world, direct experience beyond the local community is infrequent-or non- existent. It is not uncommon to meet residents of

Chicago's neighborhoods who have never traveled the few miles to the central business district, or

sophisticated New York taxicab drivers who have never been further south than Philadelphia. If this is true for a geographically mobile society like the United States, it is even more a fact for other parts of the world. Tourism, urban migrations, commerce, and business travel notwithstanding, most people live out their lives in rather circumscribed local


Communication Media and Planet Awareness

Direct experience is not the way that contem- porary peoples learn about their world. Nonliterate village or suburban housewife, it doesn't matter that one stays close to home. Information travels rapidly and far through the mass media. News of a border crisis in the Middle East reaches within

hours the shopkeeper in Nairobi, the steel worker in Sweden, the Peruvian villager. There is now a demonstrated technical capacity for simultaneous transmission of messages to almost the entire hu- man species. The character of the messages is something else again. Here we must ask, do the messages received on those millions of transistor radios and television sets contribute meaningfully to a valid picture of world conditions? That question matters because it is difficult to imagine a global perspective that does not include a reasonably de- pendable sense of what shape the world is in.

Generally speaking, the media in almost every country will transmit news from around the world. Unfortunately, the fundamental quality of news is its focus on the extraordinary event. An outbreak of influenza is news; endemic malaria is not. A rapid decline in values on the world's stock exchanges is news; the long-standing poverty of hundreds of millions is not. So, there are significant limits and distortions in the view of the world conveyed by news media. Nonetheless, the prospect is not en- tirely bleak. For one thing, the characteristic inter- ests of the news media can be exploited; events can be staged in such a way as to call attention to world conditions not ordinarily judged newswor- thy. A world conference can be convened on food or population or pollution problems. The conference

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itself is news. More importantly, the condition that gives rise to the conference takes on a new level of visibility-worldwide. And the news media are the instruments of this increased awareness.

Limits to Understanding

There are other sources of distortion. Political

ideology chokes off the flow of some information, the defense and security syndrome of nations blocks still other information, and the selective disinterest of audiences constricts yet other channels. As an instance of the first, Americans until recently have had little access to information about Cuba under

Castro. As an example of the second, the testing of nuclear weapons by the French and the Indians in recent years produced few hard details about site, yield, fallout, etc. (Governments have ways to obtain the information; publics do not.) As for pat- terns of audience interest and disinterest, consider how little attention is paid to the affairs of small nations, or to conditions in the rural areas of the world; and with no complaint from the audience.

Finally, there is the matter of the technical nature of world data. There are now unprecedented resources for generating information about the state of the planet, and for sharing and processing the information in order to obtain a sense of the im-

portant patterns. But the procedures are highly technical and the results expressed in technical terms. A certain level of education is required to see the full significance of the data.

Overcoming the Limitations

This is an instance where the energies of the schools, properly directed, might resolve the ques- tion in favor of the general populace. If from the earliest grades on students examined and puzzled over cases where seemingly innocent behaviors- the diet rich in animal protein, the lavish use of fertilizer on the suburban lawn and golf course- were shown to have effects that were both unin-

tended and global in scope, then there could be a receptivity for that kind of technical information necessary to understand many global issues. Sit- uations such as the depletion of ozone in the at- mosphere from aerosol sprays would not seem forbidding, it would be another instance of a model already documented. Students would have a frame- work within which to handle it. As for the technical aspects of something like the ozone situation, these do not seem beyond the reach of science and social studies departments that focus cooperatively on the technical dimensions of significant planetary conditions. It may be true that school programs are

164 Theory Into Practice

not typically organized for such a task, but it is not outside the boundaries of our predilections or our capacities. Cross-Cultural Awareness

Awareness of the diversity of ideas and practices to be found in human societies around the world, of how such ideas and practices compare, and including some limited recognition of how the ideas and ways of one's own society might be viewed from other vantage points.

This may be one of the more difficult dimen- sions to attain. It is one thing to have some knowl- edge of world conditions. The air is saturated with that kind of information. It is another thing to com- prehend and accept the consequences of the basic human capacity for creating unique cultures-with the resultant profound differences in outlook and practice manifested among societies. These differ- ences are widely known at the level of myth, prej- udice, and tourist impression. But they are not deeply and truly known, in spite of the well-worn exhortation to "understand others." Such a fun-

damental acceptance seems to be resisted by pow- erful forces in the human psychosocial system.

Several million years of evolution seem to have produced in us a creature that does not easily recognize the members of its own species. That is stated in rather exaggerated form but it refers to the fact that human groups commonly have difficulty in accepting the humanness of other human groups.

The practice of naming one's own group "the people" and by implication relegating all others to not-quite-human status has been documented in nonliterate groups all over the world. But it is simply one manifestation of a species trait that shows itself in modern populations as well. It is there in the hostile faces of the white parents demonstrating against school busing. You will find it lurking in the background as Russians and Chinese meet at the negotiating table to work out what is ostensibly a boundary dispute. And it flares into the open during tribal disputes in Kenya.

There was a time when the solidarity of small groups of humans was the basis for the survival of the species. But in the context of mass popu- lations and weapons of mass destructiveness, group solidarity and the associated tendency to deny the full humanness of other peoples pose serious threats to the species. When we speak of "humans" it is important that we include not only ourselves and our immediate group but all four and one half billion of those other bipeds, however strange their ways.

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This is the primary reason for cross-cultural awareness. If we are to admit the humanness of

those others, then the strangeness of their ways must become less strange; must, in fact, become believable. Ideally, that means getting inside the heads of those strangers and looking out at the world through their eyes. Then the strange becomes familiar and totally believable. This is a most difficult trick to pull off, but there may be methods that will increase the probability of success. Further, there are lesser degrees of cross-cultural awareness than getting inside the head; these more modest degrees of awareness are not to be scorned.

Knowledge of Global Dynamics

Some modest comprehension of key traits and mechanisms of the world system, with emphasis on theories and concepts that may increase intel- ligent consciousness of global change.

How does the world work? Is it a vast, whirring machine spinning ponderously around a small yel- low sun? Is there a lever we can push to avert famine in South Asia, or one that will cure world inflation, or one to slow the growth of world pop- ulation? Is it our ignorance of which lever to move that results in tragedy and crisis? Is it our ignorance of how the gears intermesh that causes breakdowns in the stability of the system?

Or is the machine useful as a metaphor? Is it perhaps better to think of the world as an organism, evolving steadily in response to the programming in its germ plasm? Are wars and famines merely minor episodes in the biological history of a planet serenely following a script already written?

The latter view is not a comfortable one for

people in industrial societies, raised to believe that almost anything can be engineered, including the destiny of the world. But the machine image doesn't quite work, either, although we continue (as I have done) to speak of "mechanisms." The idea of a machine suggests an assembly of parts that inter- connect in a very positive fashion, so positive that when you manipulate one part you get immediate, predictable, and quantifiable response in other parts. That does not seem to describe the world as we know it.

But both machines and organisms are systems of interconnected elements and it is the idea of

system that now prevails. How does the world work? As a system. What does that mean? It means we must put aside simple notions of cause and effect. Things interact, in complex and surprising ways. "Effects" loop back and become "causes"

which have "effects" which loop back … It means that simple events ramify-unbelievably.

But let's begin to talk in more concrete terms. What exactly might the schools teach about global dynamics? The answer proposed here is very se- lective, with the criterion of selection being, does the particular learning contribute to an understand- ing of global change; because the control of change is the central problem of our era. There are changes we desire and seem unable to attain. There are

changes we wish to constrain and, as yet, cannot. There is also another kind of change: in spite of our difficulties we are growing in our capacities to detect and manipulate change. A global perspective that fails to comprehend both the problems of change and promise of improved control will not be worthy of the name.

Three categories of learning about change sug- gest themselves:

1. Basic principles of change in social systems -the ramifications of new elements in social

systems -unanticipated consequences -overt and covert functions of elements

-feedback, positive and negative 2. Growth as a form of change

-desired growth in the form of economic development

-undesired growth in the form of exponential increase in population, resource depletion, etc.

3. Global planning -national interests and global planning -attempts to model the world system as re- lated to national policy formulation

Awareness of Human Choices

Some awareness of the problems of choice con- fronting individuals, nations, and the human species as consciousness and knowledge of the global sys- tem expands.

Throughout I have talked of changes in aware- ness. Awareness of our own cultural perspective, awareness of how other peoples view the world, awareness of global dynamics and patterns of change. In this final section I wish to emphasize that such heightened awareness, desirable as it is, brings with it problems of choice. As an instance, in a "pre-awareness" stage the undoubted benefits of pesticides in agriculture, forestry, and the control of diseases such as malaria provide clear justifi- cation for prolific application.

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But then information about the dangers of pes- ticides begins to accumulate. DDT is found in the tissues of organisms far removed from the points of application. Some species are threatened with extinction. Risks not only to present human pop- ulations but to future generations are identified. In some countries the use of certain pesticides is halted altogether. A change of awareness has oc- curred and new behaviors have resulted-in some

parts of the world. Where is the problem of choice? It lies in the

fact that pesticides like DDT are still in use. Widely. Hundreds of millions of people depend on DDT to control malaria and agricultural pests. Ask someone in the developed countries if DDT is still in use and he will likely say no, answering in terms of his own country's practices. But pose the question on a world basis and the answer is yes. Viewed as a collectivity, the human species continues to use DDT.

This continued use constitutes a de facto hu-

man choice. In a conflict between the rights of living populations to control obvious and immediate threats to health and the rights of other living and future populations to freedom from subtle and long-term threats to health and subsistence, the former wins out. The immediate and the obvious triumph over the long-term and subtle. But although the choice seems to have been made, the problem of choice remains. There is a new cognition in the world. We now know that there are long-term and subtle risks. Once we did not. We now admit that other people and future generations have rights. Once we did not. This new knowledge has not had the power to halt the use of DDT where life and health are

under severe threat, but it has had the effect of blocking its use in many other parts of the world. To put it simply, there are now two possible be- haviors with respect to DDT:

-if it will solve a problem, use it -even if it will solve a problem, don't use it

The second of these behaviors originates in the new cognition, the new awareness of risks and rights.

The DDT situation is simply an instance, a small manifestation of the major cognitive revolution that is now under way. But it is a representative one. Many practices once essentially automatic, whose benefits were assumed, are now questioned. They are questioned because we know new things. We know how to measure minute quantities. We know that factors interconnect in complex ways. We know

166 Theory Into Practice

there are limits to the resources and carrying ca- pacity of the planet. In the context of the new cognition, action does not proceed automatically. Calculations of advantage and disadvantage be- come explicit and detailed. Choosing a course of behavior becomes a more reasoned process. That shift-from the automatic to the calculated-is a

very important expression of the cognitive revolu- tion we are now experiencing.

That cognitive revolution involves a shift from a pre-global to a global cognition. In the pre-global stage, rational consideration of goals, methods, and consequences tends to be limited to the near-the near in time and social identity. The preoccupation with the short-term and the neglect of the long- term has been particularly characteristic of Western industrial societies.

Pre-global cognition is characterized not only by a constricted view of the future but by a relatively simple theory of linkages between events, a linear theory in which some things are causes and other things are effects. This theory leads in its most exaggerated and magical form to the conclusion that conditions are the result of single causes, sometimes personified. In primitive societies this is the basis of witchcraft and ghost beliefs. In a so- phisticated society like our own we have the recent example of two presidents who employed the CIA to locate the sinister foreign influence that must surely have been the root cause of the antiwar movement.

The emergent global cognition contrasts sharply with the pre-global. Long-term consequences begin to be considered. Linkages between events are seen in the more complex light of systems theory. Social goals and values are made explicit and vul- nerable to challenge. And nations begin to note that their interests and activities are not separable from the interests and activities of others. Further, sys- tematic attention is given to problems that tran- scend the national, regional, or coalitional; human problems. A global cognition has certainly not been achieved. Pre-global forms of knowing continue to orient much of human behavior. But the transition

is under way, driven by the convergent energies of a variety of social movements.

In summary, we are in a period of transition, moving from a pre-global to a global cognition. Global cognition is characterized by new knowledge of system interactions, by new knowledge in plan- ning human action. As such, knowledge and its rational use expands, human choices expand. An awareness of this expanded range of choice con-

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stitutes an important dimension of a global per- spective.

I have discussed five dimensions of a global perspective. Are there more? I am tempted to be waggish and say no, this is it, the final crystalline truth. But of course there are more, as many more as anyone cares to invent. Such dimensions are inventions, constructs of the mind. This particular set is just one assemblage, a collage of ideas selected and shaped by one individual's proclivities and prejudices. This is not to say there are not

real changes under way in human consciousness. I am convinced there are and that they are in the direction of something that can be called a global perspective. But any particular description of that phenomenon is properly suspect. Even this one which is, by coincidence, my favorite.

Note: This essay is a summary of a more detailed discussion of global perspectives by the author available from Global Perspectives in Education, 218 East 18th St., New York, N.Y. 10003 at $2.00 per single copy. Bulk rates available on request.


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  • Contents
    • image 1
    • image 2
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  • Issue Table of Contents
    • Theory into Practice, Vol. 21, No. 3, Summer, 1982
      • Front Matter
      • This Issue
      • Why Should American Education Be Globalized? It's a Nonsensical Question [pp. 155 – 161]
      • An Attainable Global Perspective [pp. 162 – 167]
      • Global Education in the Classroom [pp. 168 – 176]
      • A Community-Based Approach to Global Education [pp. 177 – 183]
      • Cross-Cultural Experiential Learning for Teachers [pp. 184 – 192]
      • The Meaning and Status of International Studies in West-African Schools [pp. 193 – 199]
      • The Global Awareness Survey: Implications for Teacher Education [pp. 200 – 205]
      • Teacher Training in Global Perspectives Education: The Center for Teaching International Relations [pp. 206 – 211]
      • Developing a Global Dimension in Teacher Education: The Florida International University Experience [pp. 212 – 217]
      • Education for International Understanding: A View from Britain [pp. 218 – 223]
      • Global Education: A Report on Developments in Western Europe [pp. 224 – 227]
      • Goals for Global Education [pp. 228 – 233]
      • Back Matter [pp. 234 – 236]


The US Education system in Global Perspective

Some Issues we prefer to Ignore


Building Blocks of a World-Class Education System

Problematic Comparisons

Real causes of US underachievement

Comparison of India and China

Goals for Improving Chinese Education

Next Week’s Assignment

Question: What are some key elements of a world class school system?

Write a complete sentence related to these elements and then place them in a list in terms of their importance

Disadvantaged students

Health care

Early childhood



Post Secondary pathways


School Leadership

Some answers

Improving Supports to Address Problems Faced Outside School

Access to high-quality healthcare and childcare

Ensure students will be able to profit from a high-quality education with access to good jobs

Resources focused toward students from less-advantaged backgrounds

Attempt to get the best teachers into the schools with students who need the most support

Improving Pathways to Postsecondary Success

Issue qualifications showing courses and grades rather than simple high school diplomas

Provide effective systems of vocational education that enroll at least 40% of students

Emphasize training in real-world settings

Encourage the involvement of industry and apprenticeships


Improving Teachers

Recruit teachers from the top ranks of graduating high school classes

High-quality teacher education programs that only accept the best candidates

Teachers develop a mastery of the subject they teach

At least one year is devoted to o


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