I have yet to meet a fellow educator who does not share the belief that we should strive to instill within the children we interact with the values of becoming good global citizens. In these troubling political times of exclusion and non-acceptance I am very lucky in the school that I work in that this is becoming a focal point of development.
As libraries are, or should be, central to any school, we are in an excellent position to promote our community’s beliefs and values. This has been very much the case when reflecting on global citizenship in my school. Our latest library displays boldly show our values and our library house competition has enabled students to explore these values within books that they are reading.
When reflecting on how and why libraries help develop skills of global citizenship I keep coming back to the importance of developing what my colleague, Stephen Murgatroyd and I have coined the three Es. Empowerment, Empathy and Ethics.
By helping our students develop a love of reading we are helping them learn how to connect to other people’s emotions; entering into a different world to their own is a key way of connecting with different worlds and experiences and thus develops empathy amongst our students.
Becoming good researchers and helping our children learn how to use online, book, physical and human sources to search for information and gain knowledge, without plagiarising is empowering and encourages ethical behaviour.
The two strands of encouraging a love of reading and becoming skilled researchers go hand in hand. So from choosing excellent resources and sharing books; to engaging our children in fun competitions; to interacting with visiting authors; to running poetry competitions, Readers’ Cups; to Readers Theatre competitions; to completing research projects, including good old fashioned referencing skills, libraries and librarians are all part of what we do day to day to help our children be empowered to become ethical and empathetic global citizens.
I recently caught the tail end of a TV interview where the explorer being interviewed use a librarian’s role negatively to present how little they impact on the real world in comparison to their own. I beg to differ.