Teaching Globalisation

Tonight I attended a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, London. This was given by Simon Oakes, who is Chief Examiner for Paper 3. This was a subject knowledge udpate giving general information about globalisation and presenting ideas for how to teach this topic.

This post consists of some of my notes from the event.

Frameworks for Teaching Globalisation

Simon introduced the ideas that there are three different ways to introduce the concept of globalisation:

  1. Issues Based Approach
  2. Concept Led Approach
  3. Historical Approach

Issues Based Approach

  • Splits globalisation into economic, political, social, and cultural.
  • This is a useful framwork becasue it takes an enormous concept into something that students will understand.
  • The framework will then allow for lots of interesting issues; for example dispora as part of social globalisation.
  • This approach can be applied to all age ranges.

Concept Led Approach

  • Looks at globalisation as global networks with longer, deeper and faster connections.
  • This is a powerful way to explain globalisation but difficult for weaker students to understand.
  • Simon stated that the abstact concepts can be explained through concrete examples:
    • Longer Connections – for example Fiji Water imported accross the globe.
    • Deeper Connections – impossible to avoid global, even if deprived living on council estate in Glasgow will still purchase goods produced all over the world.
    • Faster Connectiosns – everyone can communicate with everyone else instantaneously.
  • This concept led approach also introduces the idea of a network looking at nodes, hubs and global flow

Historical Approach

  • This approach looks at globalisation through a timeline; history disguised as geography.
  • If this approach is used it is important that students understand that globalisation is not just an invenvitable chain of events but instead has been punctuated by crisis.

Teaching Globalisation

In the next part of hte lecture Simon looked at how teachers currently teach at globalisation and where based on his experience as an examiner this should be developed.

Examining the Impacts of Globalisation – students are typically very good at looking at the negative; however students need to be able to positve examples. Students should also be able to answer whether globalisation is inventitable looking at limits to globlalisation (checks and balances).

Global Pattern – students should have understandings of the global scale but the Brandt line view leads to problems. Students need to understand that there are billionaires in every continent. Globalisation has caused the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer rleative to the mean.

Technogy – Simon gave an example of a useful case study – BBC World Service giving English lessons in Bangladesh. Students should question why this is happening and is it aid or cultural imperialism.

Fair Trade – students are overelient on using Fair Trade as an example; fair trade does not empower farmers. Kenyan Farmers using mobile phones to get the best price for their goods parallels fair trade but gives farmers empowerment.

TNCs – all students know about TNCs however students need accurate knowledge. Students particularly at higher levels (like IB Paper 3) need to know that TNCs don’t directly own all factories. Students should look at TNC’s production networks not just what they own. They should be able to say whether the TNC is directly having the negaive impact or hte company that has been outsourced to. TNCs monitor their first tier suppliers but not the second or thrid tier.

Cultural Globalisation – when teaching about cultural globalisation it is important that culture is broken into different elements (students need to know what culture is); and students should be able to look at superficial and deep changes in culture. It is particulalry useful when students can say where one aspect is effecting another.

Credit Crunch – this was caused by globalisaton and has had a global impact. It is therefore important that students study this even though it is not explicitly mentioned in the specification.


These are just a summary of my notes and there may be errors.


Posted via email from IB Geography Wiki Blog

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