As the school curriculum in Britain and in the U.S. has changed from a subject-centred and national approach towards a child-centred and multicultural one, global citizenship – a new set of values to do with respecting the environment, diversity, and human rights – has been imposed on almost every subject and geography in particular.
For its supporters, the turn towards global citizenship represents a belated opening of education to the real problems facing the world. It is a change that has the potential to connect children’s lives to global problems and to show how, by modifying their lifestyles, individuals can contribute to the wellbeing of the planet and of humanity. For its critics, the teaching of global citizenship is a moralistic attempt at behaviour modification which undermines the integrity of school subjects and children’s understanding of the world. Far from creating better citizens, it fails to develop children’s capacity for autonomous judgment.