I was delighted to visit a seventh grade social studies classroom in the small city of Burlington, North Carolina and meet well-behaved students who are very curious about the world. Unlike many US high school students I have encountered, they have heard of and know something about Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the country of Turkey where I lived and taught at the university level. They were awestruck that I have visited more than 40 countries. Other students, even on the college level, are non-plussed or shrug their shoulders at the idea of ever visiting a foreign country. I tell them that students who understand globalization and world history are likely to succeed in the world, those who don’t may be stuck in low-paying jobs that pay by the hour.
I explained to them how, when the US economy collapsed in 2009, my wife and I found work abroad, and traveled to more places than we ever could have dreamed.
I attribute the global curiosity of these seventh grade students to their excellent teacher, Alison Davis, who has decorated her classroom in such a dynamic way and is creatively introducing her students to concepts that I have taught at the university level, such as globalization, and the historical foundations of Western thinking. She teaches at Hawfields Middle School, which has a higher than average share of students from low wealth or high poverty backgrounds. And yet because of this classroom and well-organized school environment, these students are excelling. What an inspiration to be in this school for a day.
At a young age, these middle school students are taking responsibility for their own learning, something many high school students do not do. These students will go far in life, I am sure.
These were two banners prominently displaced in Ms. Davis’ classroom:
There was also a banner on the impact of globalization on health care, especially in developing countries.
A banner on the impact of globalization on the environment:
A banner on globalization’s impact on the world economies, and national economies:
and the impact of globalization on national cultures: