Global Citizenship

Global Citizenship is a term which has become widely used. It has different interpretations, but with a focus on young people’s positive response and action. It is an integral part of global learning, with a variety of frameworks which illustrate its many facets. A number of different definitions of Global Citizenship exist. They may look different but all tend to encapsulate preparing young people to engage positively with a globally connected (and globally challenged) world. Global Citizenship is a prominent part of most interpretations of global learning.

There are a variety of frameworks which encapsulate what global citizenship means. They tend to draw from one of 3 ethical approaches (humanistic, environmental and political). Their content usually shows knowledge relating to awareness of global issues and themes, skills relating to critical understanding and participation, and values/attitudes underpinning positive action and human relationships. The choice of which to use is entirely contextual – what they all offer is a wide and multifaceted understanding of Global Citizenship that can support school based planning to promote a wider and more holistic approach.


Characteristics of ‘deeper’ Global Citizenship
  1. Deeper interrogation of issues – including their history.
  2. A recognition of power relations – including through ideas and language around what should be done by who (with critical literacy being an important tool).
  3. Not considering actions solely as in terms of the ‘actor’ and ‘recipient’ – which reinforce narrow charitable views of action.
  4. Ensuring time is spent to consider a wide range of possible responses by various actors in relation to a given issue.


Activity idea

Think about some sort of ‘Global Citizenship’ activity you might have carried out with pupils (or yourself). To what extent did it meet any of these 4 criteria? If some were missing, how could you have done them differently?