At its simplest level the global dimension in geography means learning about places or themes at the global scale. But global understanding requires more than describing the world. The global dimension is concerned with exploring interconnections between people and places. It asks us to observe the similarities and differences that exist in the world and relate them to our own lives.
The ultimate goal is to stimulate thinking about the responsibilities of ‘global citizens’. It can begin with looking closely at everyday experiences. For example, the corner shop may be taken for granted in the local neighbourhood. Scratch below the surface and a range of ‘other worlds’ or contexts can be discovered, as this story indicates.
The account can be analysed in several ways. To enable older students to do this, ask them ‘In what ways does the storyteller place her/himself as a global citizen?’.
Geography provides a structure of concepts to make global understanding possible, these include:
- scale (local, regional, national, international and global)
- interconnectedness (not only of places, but of the physical, economic, political, and social contexts in which we live)
- universality (global systems)
- uniqueness (local outcomes).
The educational power of geography lies in understanding the relationship between the uniqueness of a place and the universal processes that impact on us all. It helps students see how the economic, social, political and environmental contexts in ‘I’m just popping out…’ operate simultaneously, and inter-penetrate to contribute to their overall understanding or impression of a locality.
Through geography students come to understand our increasingly complex world and develop a positive and responsible attitude towards it.