Global learning in Primary Education: moving beyond charity

In an increasingly globalised and interconnected world all citizens should have an awareness and understanding of global issues, poverty and inequalities. This paper considers small scale research carried out in three primary schools in Nottingham that investigated Key Stage 2 children’s understanding of and responses to poverty and global inequalities.

The methodology used was participatory action research (PAR) with the teachers having a critical facilitatory role working with children as co-researchers. The research methods were designed to engage the children respectfully and consisted of teacher-child interaction through dialogue within existing classroom practices. Tisdall et al state that ‘researchers should recognize children’s agency, their citizenship as human beings now and not just in the future, and involve children as (the central) research participants’ (2009: 2).

The paper concludes that young children between the ages of 7 and 11 are:
1. interested in and intellectually able to begin to understand the complexities of poverty and global inequalities
2. able to consider a range of individual and collective responses to these inequalities that go beyond notions of a simplistic charitable relationship in order to explore ways in which they can be part of a move towards a more just and sustainable world.