Blog & Opinion
25 January 2019 • Rajash Rawal
Global citizenship: don’t wait for instructions
Over the last few months, some colleagues have raised queries about some elements of our educational vision. “I like the vision. However, I would like to know, how do we do this?” It feels like people are waiting for the Executive Board to tell them how to make, for example, global citizenship ‘happen’, or how to ‘implement’ internationalisation.
I am afraid I will disappoint some of you, because we will not tell you how to do it. The reason for this is twofold. 1) Giving instructions does not work because we first need to understand the ‘why’ and have ownership of the ‘how’ and ‘what’. 2) There is no silver bullet magical approach.
Expose students to the ‘different’
Be honest, do you really think it would work if we – as Executive Board – tell you what to do with global citizenship or with internationalisation as a tool to develop global citizenship skills? I am convinced it only works when you define it in your own study programme. Working within Engineering Physics you will probably come up with other ways to work on a global perspective than within Social Work. I sometimes have the impression that some lecturers think that global citizenship is a touchy, feely thing. It’s not, or it doesn’t have to be. It’s not ‘just’ about meeting other cultural perspectives, norms and values. It is also about comparing the technology or systems you use to those of other countries for engineering. Or looking at how societal experiments developed over the years for social work. So basically, find ways to expose yourself and your students to ‘the different’ because this is how we can then develop a global perspective, a multi-perspective approach and create new solutions. In other words, encountering “the different” helps students develop key employable skills and knowledge.
I am happy to help you dialogue on the “why” and discuss your issues to help you find your answers or point you in the direction of people in our institution who are the real experts, such as our new Lector for Global Citizenship Laurence Guérin.
Experience tells us you can’t do global citizenship or internationalisation in just one or a couple of modules. It’s not a subject you can tick off. Developing global perspectives is a process and a quite personal one too. There is no pass or fail moment. Students should become aware of their personal barometer and set personal goals, so they can measure themselves. While this goal is personal, it is not individual. The global mindset develops through collaborative learning between colleagues and with and between students. By going on study abroad for example you show an open mind-set. You expose yourself to another culture, another practice, another context, another perspective. The good news is, this can also be found right here at our home campus. Realising there’s more to experience you might get more critical on how much of a global citizen you already are. It’s important to assess your personal goals and set new ones. Lecturers have a role in facilitating this process for their students and empowering them.
Keep in mind, it’s a process. You are not done once you finished teaching your module. Personal development and growth are key factors that play a role here, and of course, students need to be guided through this process. And here, again, I am happy to dialogue with you on how this can be done.
Round table discussion
Still puzzled? Feel welcome to join the round table discussion on global citizenship on Tuesday 5 February 2019 from 4– 5.30 pm in OV1.39. Or join one of our HCTL courses (World Citizenship or Internationalisation) or learning communities. These will enable you to develop your own views in interaction and discussion with colleagues.
Rajash Rawal, as of 1 September 2018 member of the Executive Board, has been affiliated with THUAS for 20 years. Started as an exchange student, became a teacher and grew to programmemanager and director of the Faculty of Management and Organisation. Besides his role as a member of the board, he remains active as a lecturer. His task list consists of Education & Internationalisation, Quality Assurance and Diversity.