Active Steps to Help Your Child Become International-Minded

Beyond the 3 R’s of education, another skill is quickly picking up steam as an in-demand quality: international-mindedness. Sometimes also called global-mindedness, this is something the IB programme is deeply focused upon. However, what exactly is international-mindedness? How do we know we are helping our children grow up to be international-minded?

To clear up the definition, an educational consultant, Carolyn Savage, proposed that international-mindedness entails ‘understanding, respecting and valuing different cultures, embracing diversity and knowing that different perspectives have a great deal to offer.’ The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) also states that its mission is to bring up ‘young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world’.

Taken together, we see that international-mindedness is not just about embracing diversity, but also being an informed global citizen who takes active steps to improve the world we live in. Let’s dive further into some qualities an international-minded individual should have, and steps you can take to nurture these qualities in your child.

It’s not all about ‘me’

One aspect of international-mindedness is to be aware of the role of the self in the world. An international-minded person should be conscious of the impact of one’s actions, and be empathetic to the perspective and experiences of others.

For example, it is being careful about what you say on social media, because some sensitive topics may stir up unpleasant sentiments amongst certain communities. It could also be as simple as making the effort to recycle because of the awareness of issues of global warming and sustainability.

How to help your child develop this:

  1. Urge them to consider the consequences of their actions, e.g. ‘What do you think will happen to X if you decide to do Y?’
  2. Engage in discussion about different characters and viewpoints when reading storybooks together.

Know what’s happening in the world

An international-minded individual should be aware of global and societal issues such as global warming, healthcare, politics, and so on. Being well-informed is the first step in developing an interest in solving the world’s problems and making a difference to humanity.

By understanding the world’s needs and investigating the root of our problems, then can we begin to find solutions to make the world a better place.

How to help your child develop this:

  1. Discuss current affairs as a family so your child develops a habit of learning and engaging with the news.
  2. For older children, encourage your child to read the news regularly. Consider making it accessible at home through subscriptions to your local newspaper.

Ability to collaborate with diverse peoples

Being international-minded is not just about having head knowledge, but also about being able to work closely with people of different backgrounds. In today’s globalised workforce, the chances of meeting and collaborating with people of different nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities are much higher than ever.

Apart from being respectful towards people of varied backgrounds, being international-minded is also being able to communicate ideas and perspectives, and working towards a productive goal with diverse team members.

How to help your child develop this:

  1. Give them opportunities to interact with people of other nationalities and cultures, for example, by enrolling them in a school with a diverse student makeup, or making it a point to participate in cultural events.

By breaking down what it means to be international-minded, it should now be easier to reflect upon how your child is doing in this area of growth. Are you doing enough? Is your child’s school doing enough?

It is a well-known fact that the IB syllabus was made with international-mindedness as one of its core foci. A diverse student body also offers the ideal environment for practising and developing these skills. The International School is one of the best IB schools in Singapore for building up international-minded students, thanks to its community that represents over 80 nationalities across students and staff.

If you are looking for an international school in Singapore for your child, International School presents a unique and enriching experience in bringing up international-minded young persons.

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