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How NOT to be ignorant about the world.

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Hans Rosling, TED.com

“Fame is easy to acquire. Impact is much more difficult.” 

Update, 2018: As a Rosling fanboy, using their work on i-Biology since about 2008, I was saddened to hear of his death in 2017. However, his recent book #Factfulness, is fantastic and well worth reading. More below. 

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Another great Hans Rosling TED Talk, this time with his son, Ola.

Here Dealing with misconceptions, bias, ignorance of global issues and a little formative assessment*, they discuss how we can be better informed about the world, with a fact-based world view… and how we could (eventually) perform better than chimps on a global issues quiz. I have blogged about how this might be used in IBTOK or science classes on i-Biology.

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Should a fact-based world view be the core curriculum of an international school?

Early in the talk, Ola recognises the influence of early bias of students and outdated curricula on the world view held by students – and how these are compounded by an ill-informed media. Through their project, they are trying to measure these misconceptions and propose a ‘global knowledge certificate’ that candidates (or organisations) might use to stay informed, to be competitive and to think about the future.

It seems to me that the fact-based world view would make for an excellent set of content-knowledge standards for an international school, and might pair nicely with the IB programmes as we seek to create knowledgable young inquirers who seek to make a positive difference to the world around them. How can they achieve this if they are learning outdated concepts of development or using stereotypes to paint the world in an ugly shade of ill-informed?

Hattie’s meta-analyses note that the power of prior learning (including prior mis-learning or misconception) has a very high impact on students’ future learning (d=0.67). As we generate scopes and sequences for courses or set up units of inquiry, should we be looking to the research not only on misconceptions in our own content domain but in global literacy in order to give students the tools they need to inquire in a changing and often-misunderstood world?

Is globally-literate the same as internationally-minded?

It is hard to define international-mindedness, though we can recognize it in our own settings. We might observe the behaviours of a globally-engaged student (or teacher), and might use assessments of students’ fact-based world-views as a measure of their international-mindedness. To this end, a globally-focused national school might be a more effective ‘international school’ than a more narrow-focused overseas expatriate school.**

You read about the ignorance project here on CNN, or find more classroom resources (including a world-view card game) on Gapminder’s education page. The Guardian also has a selection of global development quizzes, which you can take for fun or in class.

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*making great use of the audience-response clicker system pioneered by Eric Mazur.

**this is part of the idea of my web-chart of the IMaGE (IM and Global Engagement) of a school in my MA work.

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“Please return your brain for a free upgrade.”

Edit 2018: Rosling’s posthumously-published book (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)is out. Here is an excerpt in the Guardian.

Author: Stephen

International Educator in Japan, via Indonesia & the UK. MYP HS Science & IBDP Bio teacher, MYP Coordinator. Twitterist (@sjtylr), dad and bloggerer. MA International Education.

4 thoughts on “How NOT to be ignorant about the world.

  1. Pingback: Educate for hope, not despair, for a fair and sustainable world. | i-Biology | Reflections

  2. Pingback: Content & Inquiry in a Google World | Ripples & Reflections

  3. Pingback: Wayfinding: Ripples & Reflections | Wayfinding & Learning

  4. Pingback: Defining Inquiry (again) | Wayfinder Learning Lab

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