for International Collaboration
Ideas for Globalizing the Classroom
- Put up a world bulletin board related to the
subject you are teaching. If you are giving a lesson on food
habits, for instance, have a section of your board for food
around the world. If you are doing a section
on sports, keep your bulletin board updated with what
is happening in sports around
- Keep a world map in your classroom. Ask students
to talk about the people and places they know about or have visited, either
virtually or physically. Mark those spots on the map. Create
an international illustrated class diary in which students
can write about the different places they know about and
the people they have met online and in-person. Encourage
them to express their feelings and impressions. Add a section
for the places they would like to discover. Consider
adding a clock or clocks set to the time in the country
- Give a purpose to your communication/partnership and share
it with others. Add a global
component to your lesson by asking students questions that would require a
cross-cultural comparison. "What would happen if we
applied the same experiment in …?" Get them curious
to know others by using international writing or artwork
as a class resource. Make sure students know what is expected, establish clear objectives, an agreed upon time frame and
expected outcomes. It is very important to keep students
motivated. Engage them in every step of the project, constantly
update your project bulletin board and post the messages that they have
sent and received. Keep one section of your bulletin board
for time zones, facts about that country and pictures of
their partners. Upon completion of the project, have your
students present their work to others in the school. Keep cultural
packages exchanged for future classes.
Tips on Global Online Communication for Your Students
- Do not assume that students will know if their peers are male
or female by their first name. If you want them to know that they are male or female, tell them.
- Almost all countries use the metric system for measurement.
A temperature of 30 degrees may seem cold to some, but it may be warm
for others. (30 degrees Celsius is 86 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Convert measurements to the metric system. Science Made Simple has
a metric converter that is easy to use (http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/conversions.html).
often students in different countries will have to translate the rest of your students' communication into their first language. If your students use slang expressions, be sure to ask them to explain what these
- Remember how tedious it is to look up words in a dictionary.
Ask your students to use simple English words. Consider how phrases are translated
literally. Can you imagine what someone would think if your student wrote
that he/she has "dirty blond hair?"
- Explain abbreviations when your students use them.
- Remember that most of the world uses a 24-hour clock. Three
in the afternoon would be written as 15:00. (You add 12 to the number
for P.M. hours.)
- Most countries will write dates with the day, month,
year or even year, day, month rather than writing
month, day, year. Write out the name of the month to avoid confusion.
- Remember the reader cannot see your students' faces in communication.
Humor may often be interpreted literally and misunderstood. Ask your students to use emoticons (smiley faces and other symbols) and punctuations such
as asterisks to emphasize. Be certain that your students state their emotions,
do not assume they are known.
- Most of the world learns British English rather
than U.S. English. Words such as centre or colour may look misspelled to your students,
but are correct for their peers.
Working Internationally? With the World at Your Fingertips, Review
this Top Ten List!
1. Manner. When doing a project, it is not just
business as usual. Manners are a big part of the way things are
done. Don't just plow ahead with the work. Take time to get to know
the people in the project you are working on. Read a little about
the culture. Be polite. Test your politeness IQ.
2. Language. In many countries, people take
the time to learn a language and can, therefore, converse in one
of several languages. Learn a language or become familiar with
phrases you may want to know. It is a courtesy to the other participants.
3. Where is this place. Go to http://www.nationalgeographic.comand
look at the interactive map of the country you are working with.
Learn the absolute and relative location, resources
of the region, the landmarks and icons, and the movement of ideas
across the region. A little knowlegde of the history and culture
will help a lot.
4. Cultural map. If you are working with one country, take time to learn a little about its culture. Even
though it is just an online project, if you understand the country
a little more, differences will not be such a daunting problem.
Cultural differences will prove to be quite interesting.
5. High tech to low tech. There are many levels
of technology all over the world. Usually
a project has a certain level of technology that is required, but
be aware of the rules for the project. Some people pay for the time
they are online. Keep with the rules. Don't do extra e-mails unless
it is called for.
6. Politics. It is a good idea to read the newspapers
of the country you are working with. You get
windows of information, information about holidays and special
events, and unusual news and tragedy. There are lots of sites that
give this information.You might also peruse the Embassy website
7. Time. Choose a world time site or set of sites, like http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html.
8. Region. What is the region like in the country that you are
working with? How does this affect the country? What are the resources of the region? The industries? Who are
the people who live there? What is the historical culture?
Indigenous resources? Natural features? What would be on their
9. Religion. Religion is a part of the culture
of a country. What are the prevailing religion/s, and
what are the ways in which this might be reflected in your project?
10. Culture. There is pop culture and there is
culture. We have media culture and fast food culture and some icons
of our country that are a part of world culture based on the media.
As we are a young country, there are elements of culture and history
of other countries that may not be so important to us. But in other
countries, as you work or travel, you will find that culture with
a capital "C" is really important. It is more than Mickey
Mouse, McDonald's and Mattell. Be aware that there may be a lot
of misrepresentation of countries from a cultural perspective in
the U.S. We may also have only a small knowledge of the history as
well. The cultural map may be the most important of all.