Forging the Next Generation of World-changers

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Forging the Next Generation of World-changers

BY Dr. GianFranco Conti, Modern Foreign Language teacher at GIS

In the 21st century learning, it is pivotal for educators to shape the current generation of students into becoming world-changers.

The concept of forging “Global citizens” is already at the heart of our school ethos. However, this term does not capture the full scope and urgency of the role that the current generation of children will have to take on as they come of age.

‘World-changers’ does.

Visionary. Entrepreneurial. Ethical. Empathetic. Globally aware. Technology savvy. Designing a 21st century curriculum that lays emphasis on these six attributes calls for an approach to education that aims at giving rise to a “Need to Know” but also, more importantly, to a “Need to Act” and become innovative agents of social change.

The traditional European global citizenship or Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) that provides awareness-raising lessons does not lead to skill acquisition and habit formation. Extensive practice and deep cognitive and emotional arousal and investment do. Lessons, assemblies and trips that raise student-awareness of socio-economical, educational, health-related or environmental issues do help no doubt in shaping attitudes and beliefs.

However, ultimately, in order to acquire the skills that refer to those key attributes, the next generation of world—changers need more than awareness-raising and community service trips where they feed the homeless or donate to orphanages. They must receive extensive practice in solving problems – real or simulated – which refer to today’s societal (local and large-scale) issues.

At Garden International School, a group of visionary and socially engaged educators have found ways to integrate and implement a strong component of ethical world-changing education in the traditional curriculum.

This pedagogy of ethical, visionary, technologically-supported, socially-engaged entrepreneurship is demonstrated through a three-day large scale socially-oriented enquiry event carried out in the school annually. Students aged from nine to thirteen work in a team of three or four to address one of the 17 UN global goals by creating an entrepreneurial solution which would be actionable by children of their age.

The implementation of this innovative learning programme has won GIS the Innovative Learning Program Award by 21st Century Learning. Beating entries from 26 countries, GIS is the only school in Malaysia to have received the Global Innovation Awards 2016 which recognise those who demonstrate exemplary values and best practice in teaching and learning in 21st Century schools.  

“Garden International School is both proud and delighted to receive the award. The Large Scale Enquiry Program has grown and developed over the past four years and is something of which we are very proud. It provides wonderful experiences for both our students and staff whilst also acting as a driver of innovative pedagogy and the effective use of technology to aid learning,” says Director of Innovative Learning James Wellings who has led the design and construction of the program.

GIS students will be presenting the results of their work during a three-day exhibition from 4 – 6 May 2016. Everyone is welcome to learn more about the Large Enquiry Project and its outcome from GIS students. For more information, please contact

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