Do you remember when you were a student? What kind of subjects did you have at school? How about your interests that time? How about technology? Did you use it as much as today?

Your interests have changed of course and technology is an everyday routine. How about the children and the young people who are growing up in a globalised world and can’t live without technology?

As teachers we have to think about that and change the way we teach. Language, maths, reading and writing are important, but children have to learn more in order to be able to cope with the challenges of the real world. Skills like critical thinking, digital literacy, collaboration, tolerance, understanding are necessary nowadays. 

As language teachers, we are lucky, since we can combine a lot of subjects and make our students cultivate more skills than just plain language learning.

So here are some ideas that I already use with my students, so that they can be citizens of the world:

Searching online

This is a very critical skill, the Internet has made it possible for us to have all information we need without getting into much trouble. We just switch on the computer, go online and search.

It is tricky though, since young children cannot sometimes realise if what they are reading is true or not.

What we do in class is, when we talk about a subject, students get as homework to find information about this subject and share it with their classmates in class in the next lesson, as a powerpoint or poster  presentation.

This can be done with lower levels as well, using pictures. The teacher could talk to them about fake news and even show them apps that can detect them. 

Using an online dictionary

We know what’s happening when our students use Google translate. Sometimes they “get it” sometimes they don’t. Teachers can practise with them, by giving them links from online dictionaries and they could translate or talk about an authentic text. 

Projects with classes around the world

There are various ways to connect with classes in other countries, talk via skype, exchange information, work on the same subject, write emails, write traditional letters,  visit each other’s country. There is no limit to what you can do with or without technology. 

Raise awareness

Introducing subjects like the protection of the environment, disabilities, poverty,  migration is not uncommon. What you can do as a teacher, though, is have students take part in activities that could actually help. Raising money or gathering  food (clothes etc) for the poor / the refugees / people with disabilities, taking part in cleaning actions (the park, the nearest beach etc), visiting old people’s homes are some of the things that students, teachers and parents could do. Students can even write articles (in English) about it on the school’s blog or newspaper to include the “learning a language” part, as well.

If you try any of these activities, I’d love to hear how it went!

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