Exploring our Global Village

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The idea of a Global Village comes from the work of cultural theorist Marshall McLuhan. It was originally connected with the idea of media and networks, and the way that the world was becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent. It has since become linked with the idea of technology.

This online CPD course is designed for individuals or, more effectively, geography departments to guide discussions around the way that global learning is embedded in curriculum planning and assessment. It provides a mixture of questions, resources and discussion prompts which aim to introduce some of the key elements of the Global Learning Programme, but in the context of the development of a new unit of work.

The course can be used in different ways. Individual units can be accessed, and there is no requirement to work through it in any particular order.

This once again reflects the interconnectedness of our Global Village and brings the unit to a close by providing a new scheme of work for the new KS3 curriculum.

Global Learning Programme

The Global Learning Programme (GLP) has been working across the UK to develop students’ and teachers’ appreciation of global themes at primary and secondary level.

The GLP focuses on the following key themes:

  • knowledge of developing countries
  • knowledge of the basic elements of globalisation
  • knowledge of different ways to achieve global poverty reduction and development, and the arguments around the merits of different approaches
  • knowledge and understanding of the concepts of interdependence and sustainability
  • supporting enquiry and critical thinking about development and development issues.

As a result, the programme will:

  1. help young people understand their role in a globally-interdependent world and explore strategies by which they can make it more just and sustainable
  2. familiarise them with concepts of interdependence, development, globalisation and sustainability
  3. move them from a charity mentality to a social justice mentality
  4. stimulate critical thinking about global issues both at a whole school and at student level
  5. promote greater awareness of poverty and sustainability
  6. enable schools to explore alternative models of development and sustainability in the classroom.

The course

This online course introduces a proposed new scheme of work for KS3 geography suitable for the 2014 national curriculum, which makes use of web tools to explore our ‘Global Village’. Technology can allow access to a range of topical and contemporary material, which can then be used alongside existing publications and other resources to construct a number of stories.

These pages draw on the importance of the ISM (initial stimulus material) that Margaret Roberts refers to in ‘Geography through Enquiry’, and this online course provides a number of options for developing appropriate hooks, followed by the opportunities to investigate the issues in more depth.

One important element of this course is the creation of more nuanced arguments when considering notions of development and global inequality. The work of Hans Rosling and others has started to inform the debate on whether terms such as ‘first world’ and ‘third world’, even ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ are appropriate anymore. There is also the notion of Aid and charity and the importance of avoiding stereotyping and a particular view on the relationship that the UK and other EU countries might have with former colonial territories.

We also need to connect the work with this statement from the updated national curriculum:

A high quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives

(DfE, 2013)

There are five sections to the course, plus a page of associated resources and links. You may wish to browse the pages in numerical order, but each of them is self-contained and provides guidance and ideas for the creation of global learning materials around the idea of our ‘Global village’ where all students and teachers live. There are also activities which are designed primarily for teachers rather than students, and intended to act as pointers for thinking, or for discussions within department meetings. Some could also be used as prompts for conversations with students, perhaps in sessions where curriculum change or lesson content is negotiated.

Global Village course units

  1. Global learning in the curriculum
  2. Web tools for global learning
  3. Exploring inequality
  4. Creating global stories
  5. Global village unit

Further reading


This resource was written by Alan Parkinson, former Secondary Curriculum Leader at the GA. He teaches at King’s Ely: a Global Learning Centre of Excellence, and is also a GA Primary Champion and serves on the Secondary Phase Committee. He tweets as @GeoBlogs and blogs at livinggeography.blogspot.com.

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