Without exception, every international school across the world will claim to promote international-mindedness as a central facet of the school’s identity. International mindedness is a mindset or attitude that values and seeks to understand different cultural perspectives. It involves open-mindedness and willingness to learn from others, as well as a recognition of the interconnectedness of people and communities worldwide. This mindset in an international school is important because it helps create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for students from diverse cultural backgrounds.
According to the Council of International Schools, international-mindedness is a way of thinking and behaving that recognizes the interconnectedness of the world and the need for global understanding and cooperation. It involves being open to different perspectives and cultures and having the ability to communicate and work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds. CIS believes that international-mindedness is an essential skill for students in the modern world, and it is a key aspect of the educational programs and approaches promoted by the organization.
There are many ways that a school can be inclusive of different cultural backgrounds. One way is to make sure that the school curriculum includes information about the histories, cultures, and contributions of different groups of people. This can help students from all backgrounds feel represented and valued in the classroom. Having a diverse student body is one of the key features of international schools, and fostering international-mindedness among students is essential for creating a positive and supportive learning environment for all. When students are open to learning from one another and appreciate the unique perspectives that their classmates bring to the classroom, it can help to break down cultural barriers and promote greater understanding and cooperation among students. In addition to creating a more inclusive and supportive learning environment, international mindedness can also help to prepare students for life and work in a globalized world. By encouraging students to become aware of and engaged with global issues, international schools can help to develop the skills and knowledge that students need to become active global citizens. This can include learning about different cultures, understanding global challenges and opportunities, and developing the ability to communicate and work effectively with people from different backgrounds. In reality, an international school can only be inclusive of different cultural backgrounds, if the faculty and staff of the school reflect the cultural diversity of the student body. If the staff of the school represent a mono-culture or only include one or two “non-white” faces, then how can the school authentically claim to be internationally minded?
A course in Global Perspectives can encourage inclusivity in an international school in several ways. First, Global Perspectives can provide students with the opportunity to learn about the histories, cultures, and perspectives of different countries and regions around the world. This can help students develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the diversity of human experience, which can in turn foster a sense of inclusivity and respect for others. In addition, GP can encourage critical thinking and open-mindedness. By examining a variety of global issues and perspectives, students can learn to think outside of their own cultural frameworks and consider the perspectives of others. This can help students develop empathy and a more inclusive mindset. Furthermore, a course in global perspectives can provide a space for students from different cultural backgrounds to come together and learn from one another. By fostering dialogue and collaboration among students from different parts of the world, a global perspectives course can help to break down cultural barriers and promote inclusivity within the school community. What the students learn about is key to the development of international-mindedness, and courses like GP go a long way to promote inclusivity and diversity, but again it must be stressed that the lived values of the school speak louder than any academic programme that might be followed.
Being genuinely internationally minded may depend on a variety of factors. For example, a school’s leadership can play a significant role in shaping its overall approach to education and promoting a global mindset among faculty and students. If a school’s leadership is committed to fostering international understanding and cultural awareness, this can have a positive impact on the school’s overall culture and atmosphere. Additionally, a school’s mission and values can also influence its level of international-mindedness. If a school’s mission and values explicitly emphasize global citizenship and cultural understanding, this can help to create an environment where students are encouraged to learn about and appreciate different cultures and perspectives. Finally, a school’s overall approach to education can also impact its level of international-mindedness. For example, a school that offers a diverse range of extracurricular activities, such as language classes, cultural exchange programs, or global service learning opportunities, may be seen as more internationally minded than a school that does not offer such opportunities. Additionally, a school that incorporates global perspectives and issues into its academic curriculum may also be considered more internationally minded than a school that does not.
Fostering international mindedness among students in international schools is essential because it can help to create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment, promote cross-cultural understanding and cooperation, and prepare students for life and work in a globalized world. In today’s interconnected world, developing international mindedness is more important than ever, as it can help to foster a sense of unity and collaboration among people from different parts of the world.