Lusine Dzhangirian (Jhangiryan), English Teacher, Russia

Passionate about making a real difference to young people’s lives through teaching, Lusine is a Kidlink Global Association Board Member, and a MIE Expert and Trainer. Thanks to her efforts, a lot of educators from different regions of Russia, as well as other countries are connected globally, and are exposing their students to global collaboration, which builds cultural awareness, empathy, and tolerance, and increases the opportunities for them to develop into active, global citizens. A National Geographic Certified Educator, she is a member of the city English Language Experts Commission of the municipal phase of the All-Russian English language yearly Olimpiad. She also actively shares her pedagogical expertise at municipal meetings for English Language teachers, for which she has been awarded a lot of Diplomas by the Education Department of the city of Achinsk.

We all want our children to grow up healthy, happy, successful, well-established, educated and civilized and want them to develop the social, cultural, and moral sensitivities needed in contemporary global society. To achieve these qualities, we need to do our best to enable young people to develop these critical skills that will enhance their future potential. In order to achieve these objectives, we must be role models that show them reliability, responsibility, open-mindedness and confidence. It is through these actions that our students will learn to be curious, adventurous, adaptable, flexible, respectful towards diversity, and globally competent.

Global Projects are an exciting way for our students to connect with peers around the world. It is a wonderful opportunity for them to gain knowledge through working collaboratively, and using modern technologies, to share what they have learned. Exposing students to global collaboration builds cultural awareness, empathy, and tolerance. It increases the opportunities for them to develop into active, global citizens. Using the power and tools of communication, we transcend boundaries and apply the power of education to transform societies, contributing to international understanding.

In modern society, there are changes that affect the sphere of education and require a rapid improvement of the education field. Schools are called upon to prepare their students for new conditions of the interconnected world, to develop qualities of global citizens. The new technologies and social advancements are erasing the boundaries between countries which are no longer insulated and enclosed as they used to be.

The modern teacher strives to use innovative methods and approaches that will help students to prepare themselves with specific, critical multipurpose competencies and be able to develop in a continuously changing society.

The need for global education is a trend that has been developing all over the world. The goal of global education is to break down the walls of the classroom and to integrate digital technologies to teach students to cooperate and collaborate with other students to acquire new knowledge, that among other things can be applied to solving global problems. This is not just about obtaining specific knowledge and skills, but also about gaining the competences necessary for the education of successful citizens of both their own countries along with the global community.

Cooperation, collaboration – these are key concepts that determine the success of any undertaking including international projects. An international organization which promotes and provides opportunities for global education is the Kidlink Association. By the cooperation of volunteer teachers from around the world who lead the projects – Russia, Sweden, USA, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Sri Lanka, India and Taiwan – the Kidlink Association helps schools from different countries interact with each other and thereby creating a global classroom.

The Advantages of Global Projects

In addressing the development of core competences, it is especially necessary to highlight the cognitive, socio-cultural, communicative and value-semantic competencies that determine the successful future of a graduate.

The role of Global Education in the contemporary global society is critical. Drawing students’ attention to international communication, I address their motivation to study the subject that I teach. In practice, this means that children facing difficulties in learning a second language ask a simple question: “Do I need to study it? I’m not going to live in an English-speaking country”. Now they have a live and real-time communication with peers from other countries, they learn that the only way to really communicate is in English, and when their collective tasks are carried out together and shared, the children begin to realize the need of learning a foreign language in the modern world, they have a need to use it as a means of communication. Developing the reading, listening, writing and speaking skills, they feel more and more able to expand their language environment – thereby developing a foreign-language communicative competence.

The modern learning lesson considers more than just accomplishing tasks from a textbook. Modern learning is now a process that requires research and creativity. The teacher plays an important role in this by providing a suitable environment for its implementation. We teachers are called upon to help our students to not only expand their knowledge, but to also develop cognitive abilities, and an interest in learning new things about the world. By interacting with their peers on the other side of the globe, students gain new knowledge and skills and apply their knowledge through teamwork in research and creative activities. The Kidlink international educational projects involve a wide range of school subjects, including history, geography, social science, computer science, mathematics, art, etc. School children have an opportunity to materialize their imagination and transform their ideas. This results in the development of their educational and cognitive competences and creativity.

These learning activities, which are based on the practical paradigm, provide situations of effective communication and contribute to the development of the socio-cultural competence of students. By helping our students discover the cultures and traditions of other countries, we provide them with a foundation, and the ability to understand and represent their own country in the context of intercultural communication. One of the advantages of the global project is that we contribute to the expansion of international friendship within contemporary themes and contexts, which help meet the interests and psychological characteristics of students on different levels and different cultures. These are the advantages of the global project.

Moreover, the development of grass-roots global cooperation helps form the cultural perceptions that lead to learning acceptance, tolerance and understanding, providing students with the tools to look at an unfamiliar world which previously seemed strange, vague and inexplicit, but becomes less strange, less vague and more explicit. Human values and empathy gained in these global projects destroy stereotypes and barriers that prevented the formation of a real image of authentic global, multicultural communities. Thus, they develop value-semantic competence, which is an important condition for the formation of the personality.

Additionally, as students improve their communicative skills with peers and the teacher, they gain responsibility for teamwork, while completing specific collaborative tasks and duties. The projects help them acquire problem-solving skills, critical thinking, enabling them to learn to be open and able to express their own thoughts.

The goal of Global Education is not only to obtain certain knowledge but also to provide other opportunities and advantages that support standard education.

A cooperative project requires attention and commitment as well as leadership and support. Thus, this volunteer project requires teachers to spend extra time beyond the requirements of their job as a teacher. The result of this is an increase of energy and enthusiasm focused on specific experiments with Kidlink global projects and activities, which facilitate a dialogue among both students and teachers. It is critical to remember that there can be no dialogue between students if there is no dialogue between teachers. Nevertheless, my work as a Kidlink volunteer, board member and the coordinator of the “Schools Around the World” project has allowed me to develop professionally, have an opportunity to meet teachers from all corners of the globe, and share experiences with them.

Thanks to this global collaboration young people, with the help of their teachers, discover new cultures, learn new things about the world, make new friends and learn to respect and understand each other. They overcome language barriers, develop communication skills, and come to a new level of understanding others. The educational environment is changing and expanding in exciting and positive ways!

Considering all the positive feedback from the educators who teach at different school levels, as well as the experiences of my students in global education projects, I intend to continue this work. I believe that these projects help students acquire the competencies and skills we aspire to, as teachers. I would like to express my gratitude to all the school staff and students who are engaged in our global collaboration and wish them further success on the way to new educational and social achievements.

Lusine Dzhangirian (Jhangiryan)

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