The world is becoming smaller. That’s a phrase that we hear when people talk about the degree of separation in the world these days and how we see stories about other places just like they were taking place in our own neighborhood. One of the most valuable things our students can learn currently is how to better understand the perspectives of others when they are different from their own.

One way of doing this is by encourage a more global perspective in the schools. Odds are, as the students grow up and get jobs, they will be working with people from all over the world. They need to understand more about how other cultures believe and do things, and how the environment they are in shapes their beliefs.

This process of thought is called globalization in education. There are several opportunities and programs that teachers can use to bring a more global perspective to their classroom. Here are a few ideas to make your class more global friendly and diverse.

First, bring in stories about people around the world. There are books about children all over the world for every age group. For the middle school crowd, my favorite is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a story of a boy working to improve his community.

When you travel, bring your own experiences into the class. Sharing your experiences with the students gives them a firsthand account of what it’s like in another country. Better yet, with older children, plan a trip for the class.

The last idea I will mention in this article is a pen pal program. This is not only a great way to have students practice another language, but it gives them the chance to find out about another culture. You can even pen pal with another teacher across the globe.

As you can see, there are many ways to make your classroom more global friendly. I’m sure you can come up with some of your own as well.