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Global eyes : considerations of a global education initiative (The Youth Millennium Project) in London, UK and Ystad, Sweden Jones, Shelley Kathleen

Abstract

This work explores how two classes of Year 6 students, one from London, UK and one from Ystad, Sweden, responded to a global education initiative - The Youth Millennium Project. The research explores how these students in their two very different communities - in term of socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic and linguistic factors- conceived of local and global issues and imagined, created and implemented projects to address these issues. The research was conducted from October to December, 2002; the research methodology included questionnaires, observations and videotaped interviews. The parameters of global education are defined by a theoretical framework based on the pedagogical theories of John Dewey and Paulo Freire, current social theories around youth empowerment and child participation, ideological foundations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child, and philosophical grounding in postmodernist thought around contextuality and problematisation. Some key findings include: youth have a strong interest in global issues; children in more socioeconomically affluent, predominantly homogeneous cultural/ethnic communities seem to feel more empowered to effect change in the world than did children from lower socioeconomic, highly diverse cultural/ethnic/linguistic communities; children with Special Educational Needs (both behavioural and/or learning) seem to thrive socially, academically and behaviourally in this kind of learning environment; youth are cognizant of local and global issues and want to do something to address those issues; youth believe that they can make a difference in the world if given the opportunity.

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