Global Issues - Special Interest Group of IATEFL


Global Issues SIG

The Global Issues SIG, created in 1995, aims to provide a forum among ELT practitioners to stimulate awareness and understanding of global issues, and to encourage the development of global education within language teaching.

Our aims

Fielded discussions


18th July (TBC) July. Critical Citizenship. Speaker : Prof. Guilherme

12th September: English for Sustainability. There will be two speakers: Graham Harper in Thailand and John Eyels in New Zealand. Both are from the E.O.N. Foundation

Past discussions

June 2005: Prof. Peter Patrick on Linguist Human Rights

Nov 2004: GI and Task Based Learning - Jane and Dave Willis

August 2004: English as a Lingua Franca - Jennifer Jenkins

May 2004: ELT as an arm of Imperial Policy - Sandeha Lynch

Jan 2004: Dogme - Scott Thornbury

Dec 2003: ELT and racism

The following shows the contents of a selection of GISIG Newsletters which you can receive by joining the group. If you are a member click here.

Contents of GISIG Newsletter No. 1 - July 1995

Global Issues SIG: Born April 1995
Steve Flinders

GISIG News and Views
Maria Biharine Partos

Integrating Global Education into Language Teaching
Kip A. Cates

Discussing Global Issues as a Classroom Activity
Tatiana E. Sallier

Global Issues and the Raising of Consciousness
Simon Sweeney

Article Review
Patrick Burke

On Track to Century 21: Destination for the 90s
H. Douglas Brown

Linking the classroom to the World: The Environment and EFL
Susan Stempleski

Forthcoming events

Past events



Speakers: Alan Maley, Rama Mathew/Delhi, Arifa Rahman/Dhaka, Kari Smith



Several global issues related presentations took place throughout the conference:






This is a selection of webquests created by participants in previous sessions of the four-week course "The Internet: Collaborative Tasks and Project Work" run by The Consultants-E [ more details here... ] and sponsored by the British Council Peacekeeping English Project.

Lena Naumova & Marina Mshvidobadze - Are you ready to be a Peacekeeper?
Find out about peacekeeping operations all over the world in this WebQuest, and write a report about them. Aimed especially at adult learners of English for peacekeeping purposes at intermediate and higher levels, this WebQuest can be used as a supplementary material for Campaign or any other Military English course.

Triinu Soomere - Child Soldiers
This WebQuest deals with the issue of child soldiers, and is aimed especially at adult learners of English for peacekeeping purposes. However, only minimal adaptation is needed to use the WebQuest with general English learners. Aimed at intermediate and higher levels.

Marin Markos - Get ready for the Partnership for Peace
This WebQuest deals with the organisation Partnership for Peace (PfP), and is aimed especially at upper intermediate adult learners of English for Peacekeeping Purposes. The WebQuest explores several PfP/ NATO member countries and their armed forces, and especially how this affects Serbia and Montenegro . However, teachers in other countries who teach military English can easily adapt the WebQuest to suit the needs of their own learners.

Tanja Teodosic - Women in combat
This WebQuest explores the role of women in combat, from both a historical and current perspective. It is aimed especially at adult learners of English for peacekeeping purposes. However, it is also suitable for use with general English learners. Aimed at intermediate and higher levels.

Global Issues: EFL/ESL Specific Sites

BaFa BaFa: Does it Work with University EFL Learners? : BaFa BaFa is a simulation to teach cross-cultural awareness. Participants find out what it feels like to be the one person in a group who is different. RaFá RaFá is the elementary version

BBC World Service - English Learning Down to Earth: Support and stand-alone materials for the 'Down to Earth' English programme on environmental topics: the earth from space, the atmosphere, soil depletion, Gaia theory, sustainable development, conservation for people, green imperialism, poverty, climate change, etc

Breaking News English: Daily lesson plans and ideas based on current news stories

British Council Peacekeeping English Project: The aim of PEP is to reduce, resolve and prevent conflict worldwide through improved English language communication. PEP also provides free online language development for military personnel, border guards and police through the British Council's LearnEnglish Military website

DEN wolf project: Do wolves deserve their reputation? Innovative reading / writing / listening EFL site using slides and audio samples. Great resource from the Digital Education Network

English Country Schools: Teaching English through projects in the natural environment

German Culture Pages: Produced by students of English (EFL) at the Institut für Anglistik/Amerikanistik, Technische Universität Dresden (Germany). Their aim is provide information about their culture, other cultures and issues related to student life in Dresden/Germany and abroad

JALT Publications: Publications of the Japan Association for Language Teaching

The Language Teacher Online: Volume 20 - special edition on global issues in foreign language teaching

The New Internationalist in Easier English: A brilliant resource for both students and teachers of English

One World, One People: Monthly updated EFL/ESL lessons on global and local environment issues

Peace as a global language - the first conference: Using the media to teach peace

Peace education with Dr. Seuss: 'You can teach a Sneetch!' - Using the stories of Dr. Seuss in the EFL classroom

SEAL: UK 'Society for Effective Affective Learning'. Book here for 'Learning in Harmony', the April 1999 Conference in Warwick, UK. Conflict resolution, self esteem, nonviolent communication, etc. for your classroom

Smoking: A debating resource

TESL Science Section: EFL/ESL lesson plans on plant biology, weather patterns, etc

TOPICS, An Online Magazine for ESL-EFL Learners: Not just global issues, but some useful stuff. eg. the effects of TV violence on children 

Global Issues: Other Education Sites

American Forum for Global Education: Includes a useful list of links by country to Africa, Asia and Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East, Western Europe, Eastern Europe

Association for the Study of Literature & the Environment: Encourages new nature writing, traditional and innovative approaches to environmental literature

Ancient Trees Project: Learn about your local ancient trees and branch out by sharing your findings

Association for Experiential Education: With an emphasis on learning through technology and the Great Outdoors

BULLYING: Kidscape is a UK charity for / about children who are suffering bullying. Child violence is a US site with a self-help book and some free articles.

Counterpunch : CounterPunch is the bi-weekly muckraking newsletter edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. Twice a month we bring our readers the stories that the corporate press never prints. We aren't side-line journalists here at CounterPunch. Ours is muckraking with a radical attitude and nothing makes us happier than when CounterPunch readers write in to say how useful they've found our newsletter in their battles against the war machine, big business and the rapers of nature.

Critical Pedagogy : part of the 21st Century Schools web site. "Critical pedagogy considers how education can provide individuals with the tools to better themselves and strengthen democracy, to create a more egalitarian and just society, and thus to deploy education in a process of progressive social change."

d i s i n f o r m a t i o n: A wonderful site for conspiracy theorists. Use the search mechanism (eg. search for 'Gaia') to find many provocative articles on global issues.

Dragonfly: Nature project activities 'for investigators of all ages'

EarthWeek, A Diary of the Planet: Locate natural and man-made current environmental events using maps and symbols, then learn about them with the accompanying background information

The Education Revolution : non-profit organisation that seeks to advance learner-centered approaches to education

ePALS Classroom Exchange: Connecting classrooms around the world

Foxfire : teaching approach and publication advocating learner-centred, community-based education.

Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network : GLSEN is an education organization creating safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

GeoGame Description: Project from the Global Schoolnet Foundation to teach children geography terms; to read and interpret maps; to increase awareness of geographical and cultural diversity

Global Classroom: Exchange scheme promoting inter-cultural learning and personal development

Global Schoolhouse: Joint Global SchoolNet / Microsoft venture aiming to bring educational resources to students, educators, parents and the extended learning community

The Globe Programme: Global Observation and Learning to Benefit the Environment

Great Ideas Global Issues: A lesson plan for children 7 - 12 to offer a visual symbol of the interlocking nature of 10 global issues

Green and Growing: Environmental education project - lesson guide for teachers - History of Agriculture, Sustainable Development, Soil, Agriculture and Chemicals, The Real Cost of Food, Everything Connected.

Green Teacher Magazine: A magazine by and for educators to enhance environmental and global education across the curriculum. 50 pages of ideas and activities 4 times a year. The Green Teacher Site Search provides excellent links by alphabetical order to many other sites of interest.

Hewitt's Global Issues page: Course outline for global issues course in a Michigan high school. Examples of student work and useful links to other global issues sites

The International Education and Resources Network (iearn): Enables young people to make a meaningful contribution to the health and welfare of the planet and its people

IMUNA: Not-for-profit NGO dedicated to furthering global issues education at the secondary school level

The Informal Education homepage: Excellent site describing how learning can be achieved outside schools, colleges and other formal educational settings

InMotion Magazine: multicultural, online U.S. publication about democracy.

Intercultural E-Mail Classroom Connections: Free service to help teachers and classes link with classes in other countries and cultures for email classroom and pen-pal project exchanges

InterLink Project: Description of a British Council project bringing together schools in New Zealand and Britain across the World Wide Web. Useful for other teachers who'd like to do the same.

Language futures Europe: Site on language policy, multilingualism, global language structures, and the dominance of English

Model United Nations: Participants learn about other people, cultures and international relationships while developing a global perspective on real issues in the world community today. The Elementary School version of this United Nations simulation can be found here.

Radical Teacher: various articles from the magazine which focuses on critical teaching practice, the political economy of education, and institutional struggles.

Rethinking Schools : Rethinking Schools believes that classrooms can be places of hope, where students and teachers gain glimpses of the kind of society we could live in and where students learn the academic and critical skills needed to make that vision a reality. Contains some wonderful teaching ideas such as Understanding Large Numbers.

Second Nature - Starfish: Second Nature, a Boston-based environmental education organisation, recently introduced a comprehensive collection of on-line databases with the release of Starfish. The resource was developed to help educators infuse environmental and sustainability concepts into their teaching.

Sharing Nature Foundation: Site established by Joseph Cornell, author of 'Sharing Nature with Children'. Info. about programs for adult leaders, books and resources, activities.

Simulation Training Systems: Simulations designed for non-profit institutions and schools - eg. 'Star Power' is about the uses & abuses of power; in 'What is No?' participants discuss the intentional and unintentional ways misunderstandings and hostile environments are created.

Social Studies School Service: Section on global studies includes a web exercise on the United Nations and its related agencies; elementary and middle level activities to recognise global diversity; etc. : promoting meaningful student involvement in schools

Teachers Without Borders: A non-profit, non-denominational corporation devoted to global educational change at the high-school level for an information age.  TWB creates an appropriate match between worldwide research on learning with effective, personalized educational solutions at the local level.

UNICEF Voices of Youth Home Page

Understanding Global Issues: 'concise, fact-packed unbiased briefings' on various topics in the news for sale at L2.95 each

Using the web: Examples of teachers using the Web for communicating, publishing, accessing information, collaborating

THE VIDEO PROJECT: 'Media for a safe and sustainable world': Educational Videos on the Environment, Violence Prevention, Human Rights, Nuclear Issues, Conflict Resolution and Related Concerns 

Global Issues: General Interest

A piece by Howard Zinn on the war: Discussion about the war with Iraq

Adbusters: Great site debunking advertising campaigns with spoof paper ads and 'uncommercials'

Amnesty International

Artists Against Racism

American Friends Service Committee : an antidote to NATO. Website on peace initiatives and militarism.

Association of World Citizens

Crosspoint Anti Racism: Amsterdam-based group supporting everyone in the field of anti-racism. Searchable by country.

EcoNet: Working to support ecological sustainability and environmental justice

Environmental Organisations WebDirectory: A good place to start on any environmental topic

Forests, Trees and People Programme: Iinformation and articles on community forestry activities in many countries - Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand, Nepal, etc.

Friends of the Earth: Homepage of a major environmental group

Global Issues on the UN Agenda: Topics addressed by the UN system and information resources

Global-Issues.Net: Website maintained by the non-profit organization FTF: (Facing the Future: People and the Planet)

Global Issues.Org: A personal website (by "Anup Shah") providing links on global issues

Globalization and Unilateralism: An analysis of the origins and effects of globalization and unilateralism

Greenpeace: Homepage of a major environmental group

The Independent Media Center : "..a network of collectively run media outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media's distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity."

Life after Capitalism: Looking at alternatives to capitalism

Multinational Monitor On-Line: Watches over corporations worldwide

NEPAD: A site looking critically at the New Partnership for African Development and also looking at the relationship between G8 and the African continent

New Internationalist: A simple English site examining some of the crucial global issues of today

One World: A brilliant site regularly updated with current information on global issues. First stop for students who want to find out what's going on in the world.

OneWorld Magazine: Includes many articles on different aspects of environmentalism worldwide

Our Changing Planet: "US global change research program supports activities that provide information on policy relevant to understanding about the coupling of human activities and the environment across a broad range of issues, perspectives and interactions." (These people need help. Contact The Plain English Campaign -Website imminent - fax +44 1663 747038).

PeaceNet: Invites visitors to take action for positive social change in peace, social and economic justice, human rights and the struggle against racism

Programs Curriculum Materials: Excellent resource section contains downloadable info. on conflict resolution, global connections, the environment, international organisations

United Nations

U.S. Global Change Research Program: Helping to understand, assess, and predict global change

VSO home page: Voluntary Service Overseas

World Wildlife Fund



Global Issues: Newsgroups

IATEFL Global Issues SIG has its very own discussion list which is open to all.

Peace Education Commission: teachers and students at all levels are invited to contribute to a discussion about education for peace.  Put nothing else in the message. You will be sent further instructions.

The EnviroLink Network: a good source of current news on environmental topics. You will be sent further instructions.


Global Issues: Books and offline journals


Rachel Martin, Listening up:reinventing ourselves as teachers. (Boynton Cook 2001): A challenging book that raises questions about women's work in our societies, patriarchy, the myths we all have about this.


Lester Milbrand, Learning to think environmentally while there is still time (Suny 1996): written in a language and format that is very accessible, this is a Socratic dialogue between neighbors over the backyard fence, so to speak, about many pressing environmental issues. Kind of book high school kids can follow and have found neat from NY to Portland. How to treat complex issues in simple language is an art in itself.

Steven Widdows & Peter Voller, Open Minds: Exploring Global Issues through Reading and Discussion (1996) (ISBN 0-472-08358-9 pp. xxiv+179) You can read a review of this book here.

Radical Teacher: " independent magazine for educational workers at all levels and in every kind of institution. The magazine focuses on critical teaching practice, the political economy of education, and institutional struggles. " See web site here.