Global Citizenship Series
Why is it cool?
The Global Citizenship Series, a two-course series offered by the OU Extended Campus Center for English as a Second Language, is an interactive way for students in CESL's Academic English Program to learn how to think critically about social and ecological issues in the community while strengthening their academic English language skills.
The series consists of two classes - Social Justice and Ecojustice. Both classes get students out of the classroom and into the community while reinforcing their English proficiency skills. Students spend time in the classroom learning content-based vocabulary and improving their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills before volunteering for programs in the community that promote social and environmental consciousness.
"Students are always coming back and telling me how this series has helped them in other classes."
"Some of our students never leave their dorms," said instructor Janna Corn. "This gets them out of the classroom, off campus and into the community. When they see what's going on around them, they can compare and contrast these organizations and issues with those in their own countries."
Corn said the Social Justice course highlights the value of equality, human rights and diversity through gender, sexual orientation, race, age, religion, ability and social class. It also examines the connection between privilege and marginalization. Students engage in advocacy and service learning projects through involvement in community programs that promote social consciousness and inclusiveness, she said. Past activities have included volunteer work at Food and Shelter for Friends,Full Circle Adult Day Center, Thunderbird Clubhouse and Mission Norman.
Ecojustice explores diverse issues regarding the ecosystem, its inhabitants and its future. It also focuses on the complex relationship of self and nature. The class encourages students to reconnect with nature, become aware of environmental concerns, explore and engage in community programs and service learning, and think of solutions to matters troubling the planet, Corn said. Past activities have included planting trees at the Duck Pond on Arbor Day, gardening in the OU Wellness Community Garden, collecting donations for Earth Rebirth and volunteering at the Norman Animal Shelter.
In addition to learning about social issues and the community, the series prepares students for classes they'll take when they begin their degree programs at OU.
"I really want students to have a heads up before they go into these classes," Corn said. "This series really sets them up to participate and be successful in a lot of classes at the university. Students are always coming back and telling me how this series has helped them in other classes."
The classes even encouraged at least one student to change his major, she said.
"I had one student come back and tell me after taking Ecojustice twice he had decided to change his major from petroleum engineering to environmental engineering," Corn said.
After completing the series, students will have a better understanding of social justice and ecojustice issues, be able to compare and contrast cultural perspectives and assumptions and explore alternative patterns of thought that promote healthy solutions.
CESL students must be at an advanced level to take to take the Global Citizenship Series. Contact a CESL instructor to see if this class is right for you.