Tag Archives: global citizenship

Global citizenship and teaching – full article

By Dr. Marion Lehner und Karin Brown

Global citizenship is the notion that in our increasingly globalised and interdependent world, all people have real obligations not only to their local context, but the global one as well. Global citizens are aware of how their individual actions can impact globally and are committed to reducing their own negative impact on the world and the people who live in it (Oxfam, n.d.). As Bialik, Bogan, Fadel and Horvathova (2015) state: “Facing the challenges of the 21st century requires a deliberate effort to cultivate in students, personal growth and the ability to fulfil social and community responsibilities as global citizens.”

The vision and mission statement of ETH echo this sentiment. It implies that teaching staff at ETH have an explicit mandate to ensure graduates are not only capable of “finding solutions to our world’s most urgent problems” (ETH, 2014) but are also motivated to use their capabilities for this very purpose.

Failing to address character in the classroom, may mean missing a valuable opportunity to educate graduates who are not only knowledgeable, skilled but who also have the attitudes and values needed in order to contribute to the development of sustainable and reasonable solutions to global problems.

Two key questions then arise. Firstly, which values and attitudes should teaching staff consider for deliberate development during their teaching? Secondly, how should teaching staff go about planning this development of attitudes and values?

21century skills

Bialik, Maya; Bogan, Michael; Fadel, Charles; Horvathova, M. (2015). Education for the 21st Century. Boston, Massachusetts.

The 21st Century Education framework (Bialik, et al., 2015) is one model that provides a clear description of attitudes and values that students are likely to need in order to thrive in our rapidly changing world. Other places where teaching staff can look in order to identify additional values and attitudes are graduate profiles or discipline-specific literature. Many teaching staff will also be able to identify relevant values and attitudes of their own accord based on their understanding of the professional and research context.

An example of a familiar value is that of ethics. Ethics play an important role in the scientific and academic conduct of students, researchers and academics. In order to become an ethical practitioner, students need to develop not only knowledge and skills in relation to ethics, but they need to develop an ethical approach to their work. In other words, a personal commitment to behaving ethically.

Attitudes can‘t be observed directly, but can be made visible through behaviour and articulated intentions (Eagly & Chaiken, 2007, S. 584). One way to do this is by creating a learning environment where students can apply their attitudes. For example, active involvement in role play results in stronger development of attitudes than only passive observation of role plays (Janis & King, 1954, S. 218). A follow-up study shows that active improvisation of arguments is even more effective for developing attitudes compared to only reading given statements (Janis & King, 1956). “If, however, people frequently “practice” the new attitude – think about it, discuss it with their friends, act on it – the attitude may become habitual, replacing the prior implicit attitude. In short, the process of attitude change may often require more time and practice than previously thought” (Wilson et al., 2000, S. 121).

Therefore, teaching staff can first identify the desired attitudes or values to be developed. Then, because the development of attitudes occurs in distinct stages or levels (Krathwohl, Bloom and Masia, 1964), they can determine to what degree they wish their students to progress, then provide suitable input and develop matching learning activities. Finally, teachers should provide students with both formative and summative feedback on their progress.


Krathwohl, D. R., Bloom, B. S. & Masia, B. B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook II: Affective domain. New York: David McKay Co.



Bialik, Maya; Bogan, Michael; Fadel, Charles; Horvathova, M. (2015). Education for the 21st Century. Boston, Massachusetts.

Eagly, A. H. & Chaiken, S. (2007). The Advantages of an inclusive definition of attitude. Social Cognition, 5, 582-602.

Janis, I. L. & King, B. T. (1954). The influence of role playing on opinion change. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 49(2), 211-218.

Janis, I. L. & King, B. T. (1956). Comparison of the effectiveness of improvised versus non-improvised role-playing in producing opinion change. Human Relations, 9, 177-186.

Krathwohl, D. R., Bloom, B. S. & Masia, B. B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook II: Affective domain. New York: David McKay Co.

Oxfam (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/education/global-citizenship

Wilson, T. D., Lindsey, S. & Schooler, T. Y. (2000). A model of dual attitudes. Psychological Review, 107(1), 101-126.

Developing character while learning

Date and time: February 6th, 12:15 – 13:15

Location: ETH Zentrum, HG, D 18.1

Developing character while learning. Global citizenship in the classroom

The further we push the frontiers of research, the more urgent it becomes to answer questions concerning the impact of our progress on humankind and our environment. This is why it is increasingly necessary to ensure that students are able to grapple with the ethical questions which will undoubtedly arise in their working life. These questions will require them to work with others and to examine their own assumptions as well as the role they play in answering these questions. In this Refresh Teaching event, we aim to provide examples of how the subject of ethics and personal values can be explicitly addressed in ETH courses.

Our speakers on the day are Prof. Dr. Thomas Bernauer, Dr. Claude Garcia and Dr. Sybille Zürcher. They will discuss their perspectives on the importance of student character development and share insights from their own experience.

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