What can teachers do in this global age to help students with citizenship education and diversity?

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One general problem with the United States as a country is that it tends to be extremely insular, in part due to its size and in part due to its culture.

The first major step in preparing for life in a globalized world is learning multiple languages. As well as teaching courses on foreign languages, teachers could use a variety of phrases and terms from languages other than English even outside language courses to counter the monolingual mindset that is often common in the United States.

Next, it is important that all students know world history. Thus even when teaching US history or literature, teachers can emphasize the way the US has always been connected to other countries and borrowed ideas, technologies, and traditions from them.

Finally, it is important to emphasize that the United States is actually a blend of many different cultures, starting with Native American ones and then formed by many successive waves of immigration.

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There are two main ways in which teachers can help students understand and accept diversity in this globalized age.  By doing so, they can help students to be better citizens.

First, teachers can choose their lessons with issues of diversity in mind.  This is, of course, easiest for people who teach things like social studies.  Such teachers can teach units on the cultures of other countries.  They can teach about the history of the entire world instead of simply focusing on the United States and other countries dominated by people of European descent.  However, even teachers in other subject areas can contribute.  English teachers, for example, can choose fiction, essays, poems and other works written by non-white authors and other members of diverse groups.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, teachers can model respect for diversity.  When talking about things that happen in the world, they can be certain not to disparage people who are in some way different.  When dealing with their own students, they can be sure that they treat any ethnic minorities, any gay students, or any students who are simply unusual in just the same way that they treat their white, straight, and “normal” students.

By doing these things teachers can help students learn to value diversity and to be better citizens in our globalized world.

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