How to engage globally – an introductory guide for educators

How to engage globally - an introductory guide for educators

We are all increasingly aware that our world is a global world. Boundaries - political or geographical - mean nothing when finance is globalised, and we are all subject to the effects of climate change. This page aims to direct teachers to some of the increasing number of resources that help us to add or enhance a global dimension in our teaching.

woman and globe

The resources here come from a variety of countries and organisations. All are in English, and in most cases in English only. They represent a deliberately limited personal selection of resources from the site moderators, intended to be helpful to IB and other educators, and do not represent an "official" IB position or endorsement. Although many resources relate to a particular country or context, all are of much more general interest and relevance. However, you will need to see beyond the context-specific references.

This site also contains a growing collection of other resources and links to other resources online. If you have developed other similar resources that you think would be of interest and benefit to fellow educators, then please post them to this site. Similarly, please share websites or online resources that you have found useful.

What do we mean by international?

The term "international" was coined by the social thinker Jeremy Bentham in the 1780s, at a time when nation states were emerging. Although it retains its original meaning of "existing or occurring between nations", more recently it also relates to matters "agreed on by all or many nations" (definitions from Concise Oxford English Dictionary).

What do we mean by "global"?

The term "global" is more recent - from the 19th century - and relates to the whole globe - all countries, across political and geographical borders.  

It is also used, more loosely, to include all levels from the local, through the national and international to the global. It is often used in this way in referring to "global citizens" - who recognise their membership of communities at all levels from the local, through the national up to the global. In this loose usage, "global" may also subsume inter-cultural perspectives.

This site is concerned with both international and global dimensions as they relate to education.  A "global dimension" is taken to mean a dimension that embraces international, intercultural and more strictly global elements. "Global education" is education concerned with global dimensions, global issues, issues relating to global citizenship education and education for social justice and sustainable living.

Have a look through the possiblities below, and please suggest other resources you know by joining the global engage community and posting them in the 'For Teachers' section.

These anchors will help you jump to the section you'd like to explore first.

Getting started

  • For longer and fuller treatments

Online professional development activities

Adding a global dimension to your subject teaching

Portal websites for teachers' resources on the global dimension

Specific issues

  • Overseas trips
  • Teaching controversial issues
  • School links and partnerships
  • Using Information Technology to bring a global dimension into your classroom

Online educational communities concerned with global education

Other websites for educators

A few selected resources

Getting started

How can we bring or enhance the global dimension in our teaching?

teacher map

Here are links to some of the excellent short resources available free and online that set the scene. Although developed by organisations or education authorities in specific countries, and relating to that context, they all have global interest and relevance. Any one of these would make an excellent start to professional development in this area.

This is a developing area. One of the most significant projects currently underway is the EdSteps Global Competence  project, led by the Council of Chief State Schools Officers in the USA. This is developing a continuum to describe and evaluate what is described as "global competence", which covers all types of engagement with the global world. Follow the developments and help build the continuums. (See also EdSteps in Adding a global dimension to your subject teaching below).

Global education

global perspectives handbook

A 12 page handbook from Global Focus Aotearoa In New Zealand. Focusing on awareness, analysis and action, the guide deals with:

  • Why Global Education?
  • Framing Global Education
  • Developing awareness
  • Generating analysis
  • Triggering action


Education for Global Citizenship: A Guide for Schools

oxfam guide

This 12 page guide (2006) comes from the development charity Oxfam, which has been influential in developing understanding and practice in education for global citizenship in the UK, Australia and elsewhere.  It includes an outline curriculum for global citizenship related to the UK context, but found helpful (and challenging!) elsewhere. One of the most influential short publications in global education.

Getting started with Global Citizenship: A Guide for New Teachers

Packed with practical activities suitable for all age ranges and subjects, this guide, also from Oxfam Education, is an excellent starting point for getting to grips with Education for Global Citizenship. Although its title is "guide for new teachers" it is equally valuable for teachers new to the idea of addressing global citizenship in their teaching.

Version applicable to England

Version applicable to Scotland


Global Perspectives: A framework for global education in Australian Schools

global perspectives 1

A 36 page document produced by the Australian Curriculum Corporation (2008). It provides teachers at all levels of schooling with a concise, practical and philosophical guide to the aims and learning emphases of global education. It includes useful examples of integrating global perspectives within and across learning areas and advice for teachers and school leadership teams about how to implement the framework at a school level. It builds on the earlier (2002) 32 page Global Perspectives: A statement on global education for Australian Schools.


The educational authorities of the UK have been engaged in promoting a global dimension in schools for a number of years. Among the useful documents produced are:

Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship - A common understanding for schools

This document (developed for school s in Wales) outlines how schools can approach  the area at all levels - leadership, management, teaching and learning and through partnerships and community.

Developing a global dimension in the school curriculum

An outline of the components of the global dimension, as identified in England (global citizenship, conflict resolution, diversity, human rights, interdependence, social justice, sustainable development and values and perceptions). It explores the interconnections between the local and the global and how they can be addressed in all areas of schools.

The Global Dimension in Action  - a curriculum planning guide for schools

This includes some practical activities for teachers to consider how they can shape the global dimension in the curriculum. 14 case studies illustrate how schools in England have developed the global dimension in their contexts.

Top tips to develop the global dimension in schools

A  12 page leaflet from the UK Department for Children, Schools and Families giving ten simple ways to enhance the global dimension.



Two PowerPoint presentations on how to enhance the global dimension to your work in schools, used at various IB and other workshops (and posted elsewhere on this site) may be of interest:

"Going  global without going anywhere" is a pdf of a PowerPoint presentation on this topic given recently at a number of conferences and workshops. It includes suggestions of 10 things teachers can do to introduce or enhance a global dimension in teaching.

The role of heads in leading on the global dimension is a pdf of a PowerPoint presentation given at the IB heads conference in Sevilla in October 2009.


For longer and fuller treatments:

Educating for Global citizenship: a practical guide for schools

by Boyd Roberts, published International Baccalaureate (2009)

global citizenship

This book (199 pages) considers how to promote the development of global citizenship at all ages and levels in schools, from the mission statement, through the general ethos of the school, to work in and out of the classroom, in activities and trips, and in assessing and recognising the development of students as global citizens. Written for an international readership and drawing on research and practice in many countries, with lots of case studies, it includes activities for teachers, key questions, reflections, and many references for following up particular areas of interest. It has been used with benefit by individual teachers and as a resource for professional development work in groups in schools.

"This book is a necessity for any teacher who wants to make his/her classroom truly global. I am recommending it to all of the teachers in our 1380 member schools. I just wish it were possible to get a copy into the hands of every public school teacher in America."  

Paul Miller, Director of Global Initiatives, National Association of Independent Schools, USA

Available from the IB Store


Teaching The Global Dimension: key principles and effective practice

Edited by David Hicks and Cathie Holden, published by Routledge (2007)

teaching the global dimension

Written for the UK context, but of much more general relevance, this book explores both the theory and practice of ‘global education' today. It includes chapters by leading researchers and educators in the UK on topics including teaching controversial issues, social justice, human rights, diversity and global citizenship. It combines research evidence with practical strategies and includes two chapters specific to primary and secondary schools. 212 pages $39.95


Educating for Global Competence: Preparing our Youth to Engage the World (2011)

This important resource, developed by Tony Jackson of the Asia Society and Veronica Boix Mansilla from Harvard University's Project Zero, argues that globally competent students must have the knowledge and skills to:

  • investigate the world
  • weigh perspectives
  • communicate ideas
  • take action
  • apply disciplinary and interdisciplinary expertise

This FREE resource, available for download, discusses teaching for global comptence as well as suggestions for educational leadership at the school and public policy levels.


Global Education Guidelines:  A handbook for educators to understand and implement global education (2010)

A comprehensive 85 page handbook developed by the Council of Europe's North -South Centre and available online with five sections:

  • What is global education?
  • Why global education?
  • Concepts
  • Methodology
  • Bibliography and resources

Geared towards practitioners, it has a focus on European Union initiatives and countries, but is of wider interest. Reference lists include few recent resources.

This publication is available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Slovenian.


Educating for global citizenship in a changing world

Ideas and practices for teaching and learning about global dimensions of citizenship and engagement, all  investigated, developed, and piloted by practicing teachers and teacher educators in school settings in the Toronto area of Canada. Published online, it gives comprehensive coverage of the area. Produced by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, with the support of the Canadian International Development Agency's Global Classroom Initiative.


Online professional development activities

A number of online professional development courses are available relating to global education.

water - learn it! live it!

Some require enrolment and a fee. For examples see

Others are free.  Among the free courses are the following:

Putting a Global Perspective into Education Practice - A Program of Study for Teachers

A fifteen-hour professional development program from the Global Education Project, Australia, this introduces teachers to the concept and teaching of global education. ‘Poverty reduction' is used as a case study to introduce a number of teaching and learning activities for the classroom.

Part A focuses on

  • What is global education?
  • Teaching and learning in global education
  • Resources in global education

Part B includes

  • Defining Poverty
  • Understanding poverty
  • Doing something about poverty


A series of online courses, each with several units, developed by the UK Open University and the BBC World Service Trust.

  • Managing the teaching of the global dimension across the Primary Curriculum
  • Managing the teaching of the global dimension across the Secondary Curriculum
  • Teaching and Learning about the global dimension in the Primary Curriculum
  • Teaching and Learning about the global dimension in Secondary Geography
  • Teaching and Learning about the global dimension in Primary and Secondary Science


Developing  global dimensions in your subject teaching

A list of suggestions for ways in which you can incorporate a global dimension in various subjects is available here.

EdSteps Global Competence project

This project led by the USA Council of Chief State School Officers has developed a series of matrices for global competence - a main matrix, and content area-related matrices for Arts, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and World Languages.

boy and globe


Exploring together: a global dimension to the secondary curriculum

The UK Development Education Association has produced a series of short leaflets giving suggestions on how a global dimension can be introduced in subject teaching at secondary level (ages 11 - 18). The leaflets relate to the UK context, but the ideas are readily transferable to other situations.

There are separate leaflets for: Art & Design, Citizenship, Design & Technology, English, Geography, History, ICT, Math, Modern foreign languages, Music, Physical education, Personal/social /health education, Religious education and Science.

All can be accessed at the Global Dimension website at


The UK's Association for Science Education offers "Science Across the World" where students can "gain a global perspectives on scientific issues related to their personal lives, their impacts on the environment and the varying cultural impacts of science on people in different countries." Topics for younger and older students are available in English as well as Arabic, Bulgarian, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Ukranian.

Facing the Future (see below) produces excellent subject-related curriculum resources.

Global Perspectives: A framework for global education in Australian Schools includes useful sections on different subjects.


Portal websites for teachers' resources on the global dimension

There are many resources for teachers available online, or in printed publications - some free, some for sale. There are links to some of the online resources relating to particular issues on this site.

The portal websites below have links to many resources, which you can search by age range and subject. All are in English only.

hands on globe

Global Dimension

This UK website, maintained by the Development Education Association, is funded by the UK Department for International Development.  It is an invaluable searchable guide to books, films, posters and web resources which support global, intercultural and environmental understanding for all age groups and subjects. It is updated regularly. Although most of the resources originate in the UK, some from other English-speaking countries are also included.

From climate change to poverty, water to fair trade, you can find a huge range of teaching resources and background material.

You can sign up for an e-newsletter about the latest resources, produced several  times each year.


CWWS logo

Coverdell World Wise Schools (US Peace Corps)

Coverdell World Wise Schools resources make it easy to integrate global issues and cultural awareness into the core content areas. Resources focus on bringing global education into the classroom through lessons, activities, enrichment projects, programs, service learning ideas, multimedia, and readings that help students learn about geography and culture as well as to become more culturally aware and socially tolerant.

Educators use these materials to teach subjects as varied as language arts, social studies, geography, environmental education, and international economics. Many teachers find that by increasing awareness of cultural diversity through World Wise Schools resources, students come to better value the rich heritage and broad representation of peoples within their own communities.


NPCA logo

Peace Corps education resources

This site from the National Peace Corp Association (supporting returned US Peace Corp volunteers) provides an Educators' Toolbox - brief descriptions and links to websites providing general information on global issues and on the millennium development goals; also to online classroom resources, and professional development opportunities.  While there is a slant towards the US context (particularly in professional development opportunities), many of the resources are general, or can be of value in all contexts.

Also offers an e-newsletter and a forum for educators.


World Savvy

World Savvy provides a comprehensive range of free global education resources that educators across disciplines can use to integrate global issues into teaching and learning, including

  • World Savvy Monitor- current affairs service for educators
  • Global Educators Resource Library- online database of teaching resources –curricula, lessons and units, multimedia resources and books, publications and movies –for classroom use
  • Global Educators Network- monthly updates about the latest resources and opportunities for incorporating global issues into your classroom

Developed by various departments of Ohio State University, USA, this aims to provide K-12 teachers with easy access to high quality scholarship, primary sources, and web-based connections to five world regions, global issues and work in global education.

There are brief descriptions of thousands of recommended resources (online, print, media), with reasons for the recommendation.


Specific issues

Overseas trips

global perspectives 2

"So, you've been asked to take a group of young people overseas to a place of poverty to experience another culture or reality. Perhaps it's to give the group a real learning experience or maybe it's so the group can contribute something to a poorer community (a building, money - maybe even hope). Well, the jury is still out when it comes to the benefits of short-term exposure trips into communities of extreme poverty. Some argue that these trips can have a huge life-changing impact on travelling groups. Others argue that such trips can drain host communities of food, resources and patience. Others say that they can benefit the host community but may, in turn, reinforce stereotypes of poverty and need."

This is how a comprehensive and thoughtful resource on overseas schools trips begins. Exposure trips (published 2010) is one of a series of handbooks for global educators published by Global Focus Aotearoa in New Zealand. Essential reading.


Teaching controversial issues

Many global issues have controversial elements. Teaching controversial issues is another of Oxfam Education's excellent and short guides to global citizenship education. 16 pages of helpful and practical advice on how to teach controversial issues without causing a controversy yourself.


School links and partnerships

Many schools are now forming school partnerships or links, often between schools in different economic situations.  

Building successful school partnerships from Oxfam Education is a 16 page guide outlining considerations for establishing and maintaining such partnerships. It points out some of the potential pitfalls as well as the benefits when such partnerships are set up carefully.

The World Classroom - developing global partnerships in education

A short guide to the benefits of developing partnerships with schools in other countries, and good practice in developing such links. Includes case studies. Although related to the UK context, the principles are general.


Using Information Technology to bring a global dimension into your classroom

There are many opportunities now to establish links with classrooms in other countries. The technology demonstrates the global nature of our world, and can be used for many purposes.  It is potentially most productive when students share perspectives or work together on global issues, or in ways which demonstrate their different cultural or national perspectives


Global education

A  2010 book Global Education - using technology to bring the world to your students by Laurence Peters (published by International Society for Technology in Education) considers the possibilities and pitfalls.


Online educational communities concerned with global education

There is a growing number of online communities specifically for educators interested in global education. Among the most active are:

Global Education Collaborative. This site has nearly 4000 members - students, parents, teachers, administrators, higher education professionals, non-profit organizations, consultants and businesses looking for common interests related to global education.

"The mission is to bring people together in order to build the professional relationships necessary for effective collaboration. Collaboration can take many forms, and it is our intent that people will partner on projects and start conversations on topics related to global education."

TakingITGlobal for Educators is an adjunct to the TakingITGlobal site for young people engaged with global issues and wanting to make a difference in the world. It provides a community of global educators, teaching resources posted by the community, examples of best practice in global education using technology. Annual registration fee.


Other websites for educators

Here is just a small selection of websites for educators. To get an idea of the range of resources available for teachers, use the portal websites above.

Please post information to this site about other sites you have found useful in your teaching about global issues / global citizenship.


Facing the Future

facing the future

Facing the Future is a Seattle-based NGO concerned with

  • Critical Thinking
  • Global Perspective
  • Informed Action

It provides curriculum resources, teacher workshops, and service learning opportunities used by teachers, schools, and districts in all 50 states of the USA and over 100 countries. It provides excellent and widely used subject-related curriculum resources for all age levels, in English language and literature, Language arts, math, social studies and science. Free samples may be viewed, and the full books can be purchased from the site. Some free downloads.



gap minder

This site presents statistics relating to key global issues in a compelling visual form. See the trend in such things as global child mortality or carbon dioxide emissions. Interactive and dynamic , the presentations make statistical information lively and accessible and are ideal for classroom use. There is a special section for teachers.


Global Education

global education

An Australian website initiated and funded by AusAID to support its Global Education Program. It provides very useful resources for teachers including

  • Briefing papers on global issues
  • Country profiles
  • Teaching tools, including teaching activities, quizzes, case studies and learning quests

A students' guide to globalization from the Levin Institute, State University of New York. It includes issue briefs on Trade, Technology, Investment, Health, Culture, Environment, Migration, IMF and World Bank, Development, Women and Globalization, International Law and Organizations, Energy, Human Rights, Global Education, and Global Media.

Also includes news analyses and a section for teachers with lesson plans and ideas for how to use the site in the classroom - at secondary level.


Oxfam Education

oxfam education

Contains some excellent general resources on educating for global citizenship (see above), a very useful series of global citizenship guides, lesson plans etc. These focus on Oxfam's key concerns of human development.



teach unicef

Collected UNICEF-focused resources for educators.

The units, lesson plans, stories, and multimedia cover topics ranging from the Millennium Development Goals to water and sanitation. Explore by topic, age range and media. All TeachUNICEF resources can be downloaded for free.



The world's leading environment organization, active in over 90 countries, is concerned with developing a world in which people live in harmony with nature.

WWF-UK provides information packs for teachers, online curriculum resources and activities, and comprehensive and ground-breaking resources relating to sustainable living for whole school use. It also has an extensive set of case studies illustrating how individual schools have addressed issues related to sustainable living.


United Nations Cyberschoolbus

cyber school bus

This is the UN site specifically dedicated to education in schools. It includes

  • Briefing papers for students on key global issues
  • Curriculum materials, including lesson plans on topics including health, poverty, peace and urbanization
  • Quizzes and games
  • Information on the UN and nation states

The site also acts as the headquarters for the Model United Nations.

Some materials are available in Arabic, Chinese,  French, Russian and Spanish.


One World Education

One World Curriculum provides teacher resources that engage students about culture and global issues and core academic subjects. All resources begin with student reflections. You can browse curriculum units for 12-18 years olds by grade level, topic, and geographical focus. New content is added each month.


A few additional selected resources

Global Issues: Project Organizers for the Middle Years Programme

by Barclay Lelievre, Mike East and others

Published by Oxford University Press (OUP) in cooperation with IB

A series of five write-in organizers, one for each year of the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP).

Each full colour project organizer contains six units, each featuring a different theme drawn from the UN Millennium Development Goals and structured around a unit question. Two or three different subjects are brought together in each unit to help structure and facilitate interdisciplinary study. The organizer also provides information on subject interim objectives and the areas of interaction at the start of each unit. Students will gradually populate and personalize their project organizer, creating a valuable record of achievement for the year. Further information available here.

Available directly from OUP

Global citizenship: the handbook for primary teaching

By Mary Young and Eilish Commins

Published by Chris Kington Publishing / Oxfam

This handbook provides a very valuable resource for primary schools and teachers.

Chapters on:

  • Global citizenship and why it is important in schools
  • Global citizenship in the whole school
  • Activities top bring global citizenship into your school
  • Global citizenship and literacy
  • Global citizenship and Geography
  • Resources and contacts

It includes professional development activities for teachers and also resources for use in classrooms.  Although it relates to the UK context, it is of relevance and interest in all contexts.

Get Global

by Joanne Price and others

get global

This is a teachers' guide for working with students aged 11-18 on active global engagement. It focuses on the skills, methods  and approach to be used, rather than specific content and so can be used in a variety of contexts, in different subjects and with different ages.

A 6 step approach is used:

  • Get asking questions!
  • Get an issue!
  • Get more information!
  • Get planning!
  • Get active!
  • Get thinking about it!

Available to download online or for purchase as a hard copy.

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