Creating Agency in Student Responses to Global Poverty — Jeremy Longworth, The Scots College, Australia

  • Global Citizenship (2015-16)

This study employed action research as a qualitative way of exploring how the attributes of an active global citizen might be fostered amongst male students in a Y ear 8 geography class. The primary action integrated individual case studies of exemplary “ world leaders .” These leaders have implemented effective responses to issues of global concern , and have become successful models for active global citizenship. Data were collected from the 19 participating boys through observation, video- recorded student reflections pre- and post-action, and work samples. The research found that while both empathy and awareness of a global justice issue are important for cultivating a sense of global citizenship in students , in isolation they are not sufficient . Where empathy and awareness were the focus, student s tended to remain disconnected and distant from their own realities, as well as overly simplistic and primarily focused on large -scale financial assistance or monetary aid. However, t he research also found that the investigation of an exemplary response to global issues of injustice and the provision of a model of active citizenship, served as catalyst for encouraging a sense of personal agency amongst students. This resulted in more complex, holistic and contextually sensitive solutions in which students saw themselves participating . It is concluded that the combination of empathy, understanding and, most importantly, agency were key for encouraging active global citizenship amongst students.