The Need for Global Awareness
An New Important Skill in Our World
Why Has Our Society Become Globally Unaware?
Our society's lack of awareness can be traced to an attitude known as anti intellectualism. Anti-intellectualism can be seen today by looking at common American citizens.
- There are plenty of statistics that prove common citizens are becoming less educated as time continues.
- Citizens that are under educated cannot make informed decisions about problems they may face every day.
- Thomas White with the Huffington Post proposes an example for comparison in his article "Why Anti-Intellectualism is Dumb". In summary, he proposes the idea that if nearly 25% of Americans do not believe climate change is a direct result of human waste and pollution, then how can we make decisions to implement programs to help this problem?
- This lack of education effects areas such as political leadership, foreign policy, environmental safety, and even our ability to innovate.
How This Attitude Influences Society
- Americans today look at an issue and come to a conclusion based on what we think we know, instead of taking the time to research and think more critically of the information we find.
- David Niose, a revered psychologest,proposes this theory in an article he wrote for Psychology Today. He uses the Charleston shooting of 2015 as an example. When looking at this specific shooting, we may assume this to be the product of a racist, angry, and maybe even psychotic boy. This could cause us to be angry at current gun control policies or even white supremacist ways of thinking. Niose suggests these are surface level solutions, while the critical thinker would recognize that these both stem from individual ignorance and hatred. Once the real problem is recognized, society can begin to work to find a solution.
- However, a society that does not allow itself to think critically, and instead blames the first issue that comes to mind, will result in a never ending search for solutions.
- Irrational thinking and lack of education causes a society to be stuck in a loop that prevents the advancement of that society.
Why You Need This Skill in the Business World
- Most of the business world is international (you could work for an international company!)
- The United States GDP rests on the importing and exporting of goods, as seen in the graph below
- In the second graph, it can be seen that twenty-five years ago, we were primarily trading goods, which doesn't require much knowledge of country's culture
- Today, we are trading goods in services, which requires customer-provider interaction
- This information comes from the Economist, so check out their article on why we have more trade deals
- According to the Committee for Economic Development in their report on the skills employers are looking for in new hires, businesses are looking for candidates that have "awareness and experience of diverse cultures", "the ability to work with/get along with others from diverse cultures", and "the ability to 'operate' in different cultural settings".
- To learn more about this & to see what other skills they are looking for, check out the article here.
- Business schools are trying to develop skills in their students to make them more globally aware
- Some skills important for business students that this scholarly journal released in the Journal of Teaching in International Business are the ability to use resources outside the nations borders, understanding of business practices and standards across the world, local culture/geography/history and its influence on the business context of countries, how two people from different cultures perceive things very differently, communication differences with different cultures, and building relationships with people of different cultures.
- Cultural competency training has been determined as an important skill for the future medical workplace
- In this scholarly journal, they explain that this training could help towards "eliminating disparities in health and health care" and "improving the quality and availability of health services and improving health outcomes in diverse population"
- Don't you think it's important that your doctor understands your culture? (language, diet, exercise patterns, etc.)
Global Unawareness in the United States
Global Unawareness: Current Events
Current events play a big role in everyone's lives, even if you cannot tell that they do. It is important to be aware of current events not only for your benefit but also the benefit of those around you. Unawareness about global events is a growing issue. It is very important to keep up with currents events because it gives you an idea of what is going around the world and how it can affect you and those around you. It can also change the way you view certain topics. You could see something going on around the world and you might want to do something about it or change the way you live your life. Both of these realizations cannot happen if you don't keep up with world news. The world is a big place shared by everyone and if you want to have a positive impact on it then you need to know what is going on in it.
Current Events: Unawareness in America
Another factor of unawareness is our fast paced lifestyles. Information moves faster than ever and so much of it is thrown in our faces everyday. We are bombarded with information about the latest music, movies, trends, and sports updates all the time, but there is really never anything about global news thrown at us, save the big stories. We get so caught up in our own schedules and our own lives because of how fast we do things and how fast we have to live that we forget that it is important to keep up with current events and know what is going on in the world. Current events are very important and I'll telly you why.
The Importance of Global Current Events
Alexandra Levit, a workplace expert and award winning author, was interviewed on FOX, and she said, "A new and up-and-coming skill is global competence, which is what multinational companies are looking for at their senior level." She goes on to say that even something as simple as reading a newspaper and having a good handle on global industry news is a good way to showcase that skill. As a professional looking for a job, you can put yourself above everybody else in the field by showing that you have great knowledge about what is going on in the world and how global events affect your industry.
Understanding global events can also help you as a person and influence how you live your life. Knowing what's going on in the world can have a profound effect on you. You might see something and say that you're going to start volunteering more or give to charity more often. At the very least you will be thankful for the opportunities you have.
American does have an issue with global unawareness but things can get better. I encourage you to keep up with current events as much as you can. We all live in this world together and we each have a responsibility to know what's going on and can each have a positive impact on the world.
The Effects of Social Media on Global Awareness
Something so big must have an effect on society's global awareness, right?
The answer is yes. Social media influences our world education both positively and negatively. Let's start with the main negative.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can harm people’s critical thinking skills.
- A person’s ability to reason is strengthened through practice. Social media sites spread opinions to large numbers of people. This can be harmful because users may accept the opinions of others without critically analyzing a situation for themselves.
- According to Time Magazine, a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface shows that individuals are five times more likely to answer a hypothetical problem with an answer they found off of a social media website than arriving at it themselves. People do this because it is much more convenient than sifting through data and weighing conclusions.The effect of this phenomenon is that people may become less likely to research happenings for themselves and therefore will be less informed on topics.
Now that we've delved into how social media harms us, let's explore its benefits, both now and in the future.
Social media allows people to broadcast information to large groups of people in an efficient manner. This allows us to achieve amazing things in the name of education.
- Teachers, for example, have the ability to communicate with their students much faster than before. Students are also taking advantage of this quick communication. According to Gwenn O’Keefe in the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Middle school and high school students are using social media to connect with one another on homework and group projects… this allows students to collaborate and exchange ideas”
- As long as students are doing their own work, it is beneficial for them to be exposed to differing viewpoints.
- It is when they accept these viewpoints as fact and steal creativity that a problem arises.
Beyond the classroom, social networking users are taking advantage of the easy access to news and current events.
- According to Sebastian Valenzuela of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, the use of social media outlets seems to be having a positive effect on civic participation and engagement.This can include voter participation, community service projects, and grassroots political campaigns. Social media was a large driving factor in the start of the Arab Spring in the early 2010s.
- However, this spreading of information has some limitations. According to Chei Lee from Computers in Human Behavior, most users are only motivated to post about topics that they feel will bring them social gratification.This can halt many from sharing potentially valuable information.
Social media is currently being designed to be specifically integrated into learning outlets.
- According to Kevin Brady in the Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 82% of college students surveyed agreed that the use of blogs and wiki type software aided them in communicating about scholastic subjects outside of class.
- Websites such as “Ning.com” and “Socialgo.com” are currently being designed to allow users to create their own social work spaces. These work spaces can be adapted to fit a school's curriculum. Trials have been limited to a handful of colleges, but the future looks bright for social media in the classroom.
Solution #1: Change the Way Courses are Taught
- The most obvious solution to fixing the lack of global awareness in our country is to either require students to take a class to learn about international events or to incorporate it into existing courses.
- Any core course can easily incorporate some sort of global culture or international event into the classroom without trouble. Even the creators of Mac and IPhones agree! According to Apple, the world has changed drastically, however education has not kept pace. Only about 21% of Americans own passports and less than 9% of students take a foreign course in university. In order to fix this, as stated by Apple, is to infuse the entire curriculum with global content and culture.
- Examples of how this can be done is ancient Mesopotamian history can be tied to sectarian violence in war-torn Iraq. In a less obvious example, a math course can teach a little about the founder of a particular theory. We can learn about Leonhard Euler, who was a Swiss mathematician.
- If you want to read more, here is a direct link to the Apple article.
Solution #2: Increase Incentives for University Students to Travel Abroad
- As we all know, the best way to learn is not to learn by sitting in a classroom, but to go out and learn by doing and gaining on hands experience.
The second solution to solving the lack of global awareness is for students to study abroad and learn about different cultures and environments. However, as stated by Taryn Stansbury in this article, studying abroad is extremely expensive! The average cost of studying abroad for one semester was $17,785. Some fees included in this hefty number are, housing, travel, and food.
- As you can see, cost is the number one reason why students do not study abroad. Here are some viable ways we can add incentives to studying abroad.
- Universities can increase the amount of scholarships and financial aid given to students.
- Universities can provide more transferable credit courses that apply to a student's degree.
- The home university can also work with the study abroad university to reduce tuition fees.
According to this scholarly Journal of Intercultural Relations co-written by Phillip H. Anderson, studying abroad increases student’s intercultural sensitivity. In summary, this means that they will also be better prepared to interact with cultures of a variety within the US. Programs that allow students to have face-to-face contact with people with different backgrounds help increase global awareness. Go here for a more detailed explanation.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do students in all majors, not just business and medicine, need to be globally aware? YES! Business students and medical students are excellent examples, but students from majors of all disciplines with be conducting business in our global world and need these skills. -Claire Fiorenzi
- What is Anti-Intellectualism? Anti-Intellectualism is a school of thought that holds hostility towards education, self enlightenment, and being aware of what is going on in our society and in our world. It prevents the advancement of society and can be detrimental to a community's health.
- How do we know we are less globally aware and in an anti-intellectual society? There are numerous statistics that can be researched and found that will show that the United States is falling behind in terms of our education. One example was given by the Pew Research Center in the section entitled "Global Unawareness in the United States".
- How can I keep from falling into the social media mind trap? The answer is simple; if you don't want to lose your creativity, don't! The ability of social media to syndicate information so effectively is a great benefit to us. We can read news articles, watch artistic videos, and contribute to the zeitgeist by the swipe of a finger. All these things are amazing, it's only when we let others do the thinking for us that we put our own abilities in jeopardy. Therefore, always remember that no matter how easy it is to simply agree with something, doing so will not help you.
- How can I make it easier to know what is going on in the world...I'm always os busy? I recommend downloading a news app on your phone and just taking five minutes a day just to browse some articles and get an idea of what is going on in the world. You'll be surprised at how much information you can retain and gather jut by doing that each day.
- How does what happen in other countries affect me in the United States? The United States is a country that is heavily involved in the world economy and foreign policy. Knowing what your country is doing not only domestically but abroad as well can give you a better understanding of America and how other countries interact with America.
- What are some steps already being taken to improve global awareness?
In an article by Jermey Sutcliffe of The Guardian, teaching children about global issues is extremely important and can solve the lack of global awareness we see in many people today. According to Robert Campbell, “Teaching children global awareness makes for a more vibrant and more encompassing school community.” Therefore, the IB program, International Baccalaureate, has already focused their program on cultural awareness. More schools are trying to adapt the IB program. -William Chou
Will I get behind if I study abroad? It depends on the type of study abroad that you do. Some programs offered are classes that are already required for you to graduate. Additionally, study abroad programs are also usually offered in the summer, so unless you pick a program that is during the regular semesters and does not apply to your major, you should not get behind! -William Chou
- Aggarwal, Raj, and John W. Goodell. "Developing Global Awareness In International Business Education." Journal Of Teaching In International Business 23.3 (2012): 173-175. Education Source. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
- Anderson, Phillip H., Leigh Lawton, Richard J. Rexeison, and Ann C. Hubbard. "Short-term Study Abroad and Intercultural Sensitivity: A Pilot Study." International Journal of Intercultural Relations 30.4 (2006): 457-69. Sciencedirect. Elsevier, July 2006. Web. 06 Dec. 2015.
- Brady, Kevin P., Lori B. Holcomb, and Bethany V. Smith. "The Use of Alternative Social Networking Sites in Higher Educational Settings: A Case Study of the E-Learning Benefits of Ning in Education." Journal of Interactive Online Learning 9.2 (2010): n. pag. Www.ncolr.org. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/pdf/9.2.4.pdf>.
Cushman, Linda F., et al. "Cultural Competency Training For Public Health Students: Integrating Self, Social, And Global Awareness Into A Master Of Public Health Curriculum." American Journal Of Public Health 105.(2015): S132-S140. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
- Desilver, Drew. "U.S. Students Improving – Slowly – in Math and Science, but Still Lagging Internationally." Pew Research Center RSS. N.p., 02 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015
- Elias, Rafik Z. “The Impact of Anti-Intellectualism Attitudes and Academic Self-Efficacy on Business Students’ Perceptions of Cheating.” Journal of Business Ethics 2009: 199. JSTOR Journals. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.
Ferenstein, Gregory. "Most Americans Are Unaware Of [Insert Issue Here]." TechCrunch. AOL, 25 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
Gil De Zúñiga, Homero, Nakwon Jung, and Sebastián Valenzuela. "Social Media Use for News and Individuals' Social Capital, Civic Engagement and Political Participation." Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 17.3 (2012): 319-36. Onlinelibrary.wiley.com. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2012.01574.x/full>.
- "Global Awareness and Education: America's Test for the 21st Century." Apple, 1 Feb. 2007. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
Herk, Monica. "The Skills Gap and the Seven Skill Sets That Employers Want: Building the Ideal New Hire." Committee for Economic Development, 11 June 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
- Institute of Education Sciences. "Fast Facts." Fast Facts. Program for International Student Assessment, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
Kinsman, Michael. "The Importance of Global Awareness." Sandiegoreader.com. San Diego Reader, 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.
- Lee, Chei S., and Long Ma. "News Sharing in Social Media: The Effect of Gratifications and Prior Experience." Computers in Human Behavior 28.2 (2012): 331-39. Www.sciencedirect.com. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
- Levit, Alexandra. "What Employers Want That Job Seekers Aren’t Mentioning." Interview. Smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com. FOX News Network, LLC, 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
- McCarthy, Niall. "Infographic: America's Most Trusted News Channels." Statista Infographics. Statista Inc., 1 June 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
- Niose, David. “Anti-Intellectualism Is Killing America.” Psychology Today 23 June 2015: n. page. Web.
O'Keefe, Gwenn S., and Kathleen Clarke-Pearson. "The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families." American Academy of Pediatrics 127.4 (2011): 800-04. AAP Gateway. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800..info>.
"Social Media Is Making You Stupid." Time.com. Time Magazine, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
Stansbury, Taryn. "Thinking of Studying Abroad? It's Not All About Cost." Fox Business. Fox, 14 June 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
Sutcliffe, Jeremy. "Why Global Awareness Matters to Schools." The Guardian. The Guardian, 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
- White, Thomas. "Why Anti-Intellectualism Is Dumb." Huffington Post 23 Feb. 2014: n. pag. Print.
- "Why Everyone Is so Keen to Agree New Trade Deals." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 6 Oct. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.