How bilingual international schools shape global citizens.
The world is an increasingly globalized place, where physical boundaries can be easily overcome with a click on the internet. Just press a key to connect with people of any nationality – an extraordinary leap from a past not so long gone. To act on this interconnected planet, the new generations need to be constantly encouraged to open up to different ways of living and thinking.
“It is not only a second language, but a tool that enables immersion into various cultures, job opportunities everywhere, and more access to knowledge,”
The basic passport to enter the global village is English, a language spoken universally. “It is not only a second language, but a tool that enables immersion into various cultures, job opportunities everywhere, and more access to knowledge,” says physicist Ronaldo Mota, scientific director of Digital Pages, specialized in technology for education. He sums it up: “These days, being a global citizen is no longer an option.”
In addition to English, the academic trail to train children and adolescents in this direction involves the emphasis on essential values to do well in the most diverse scenarios. And what are they? The list is vast, but it would definitely include:
1) The flexibility to dive into the unknown and assimilate the new
2) The understanding of diversity and all the richness contained in it
3) Tolerance with differences
4) A transformative outlook.
Bilingual international teaching contributes decisively so that students become agents capable of understanding their reality in the light of global issues, wishing to transform it to the better in a critical, engaged and creative way. The engine for this is a curriculum that covers beyond cognitive skills, but also socio-emotional skills with disciplines that include design thinking, entrepreneurship, financial education and others that encourage practical connections with the real global world.
By adopting the IB (International Baccalaureat) program, Brazilian schools, as well as those from more than 140 countries, speak the same language – and it is universal, as it should be. “This curriculum model allows students to delve deeper into the topics in which they have the most interest, as is already the case at the university level,” explains Paula Lozano, an expert in educational policies. If a young person wants to solidify their knowledge in history, for example, why not offer them reading articles from respected academic journals? And in literature, why not dive deep into dense works that have become classics? Those who nurture love for numbers can begin to flirt with calculus.
Recognized around the world, the IB program provides this nature of experience, which hardwires preferences and skills from an early age. “The international curriculum expands the world view and ingrains a global way of thinking in students,” says Sofia Esteves, president of Cia de Talentos, which recruits young people for large companies. “This type of teaching also etches behavioral skills that the market, in Brazil and abroad, requires, among them curiosity and the ability to relate to others,” she asserts.
Research shows exposing two languages concurrently to the brain powers it up thoroughly. “It is proven that this way people gain mental flexibility and a power of understanding and interpreting complex subjects,” Ronaldo Mota points out. Together with English, all these attributes are essential so that the young people of our time can face a planet of increasingly diluted borders and can masterfully exercise their transformative role as global citizens.