In a world that is increasingly interconnected and interdependent, the Round Square pillar of Internationalism is a crucial component of a 21st century education.

Internationalism, also known as ‘global competence’, can be defined as being open to diversity, concerned for others elsewhere in the world, respectful of other cultures, and able to understand others’ perspectives. However, many educators around the world have grappled with how best to teach global competence and to help students to connect and interact respectfully with people from other cultures. As such, Round Square commissioned a team of researchers from Harvard University and Research Schools International to undertake a study into how Internationalism can best be taught in schools. The study involved over 11,000 students and 1,900 teachers in 34 countries across 6 continents, and identified 5 effective ways for students to build their global competence:

Volunteering services to help people in the wider community
Participating in events celebrating cultural diversity throughout the school year
Learning how people from different cultures can have different perspectives on some issues
Participating in classroom discussions about world events
Learning to solve conflicts with other people in the classroom

The research team leader, Dr Christina Hinton, also added that: “Students will need global competence to engage in international collaborations in fields such as science, health, and technology, navigate an internationally interdependent economic and political landscape and tackle global issues like climate change.” The ability for students to engage in Internationalism in a practical, personal way cannot be understated. One student from Brookhouse school in Kenya, who went to Nepal on a Service trip, noted that: “Prior to the trip, my perception of service was donating money and goods to people in need. However, this project taught me to think of service as a partnership, essentially helping people to help themselves. For the first time, I truly understood the value of extending a hand out as opposed to giving a hand-out.”

Mark Hassell
Dean of Students