Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

Education as a Vital Global Marketplace Represents the Future

Explore the many ways students are taught around the world.

January 11, 2008

Much is made of the idea of the global marketplace, and few of us are unaffected by it. But the expansion of trade between the world's nations, for all its far-reaching effects, is a phenomenon involving commodities, products, and money. In other words, stuff, and the prices paid for it.

Another vitally important global marketplace exists, however, in which ideas rather than things are what count: the great international bazaar of education, a flourishing and bustling agora occupied by thousands of notions, traditions, theories, and practices devoted to the universal need to teach successive generations of the human race. Education is not oil, or electricity, or soy beans, or gold, but it represents something more important than any of those: the future.

For our second annual window on the world of education, we have gone looking for examples of how students are taught in places as different as Austria and Uganda, Chile and Pakistan. In some cases, our writers have found ideas that offer innovations to American educators; in other stories, they show us unique situations that may not hold out practical solutions to teachers in Cheyenne or Chicago, but still serve to broaden and deepen our knowledge of what works best a world away from our schools. Always, we are reminded that in the end all humans are connected through the global, and noble, act of passing along knowledge.

Join us on a world tour:

Owen Edwards is a contributing editor for Edutopia and Smithsonian magazines.

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