Education seems to be becoming more and more of a controversial subject not only among government, but also with school boards, teachers, parents, and even the students. Some of this controversy is attributed to the normal routine things such as starting times, funding for clubs and sports, and more recently the rise of violence in the schools, as well as outcries from the church for the return of religion in the schools. However, people of todays society are even more confused by the recent additions of new subjects not only the college curriculum but also in the curriculum of grade schoolers as well.
These additions include the study of non-western cultures, the study of women and ethnic minorities in the U. S. , and finally the study of human sexuality. In addition, people are wondering what exactly education has to do with being a world citizen? Is the life experience enough to become a world citizen? According to Nussbaum, a world citizen can be understood in two ways, the first being the strict of the two is the ideal of citizen whose primary loyalty is to human beings the world over, and whose nationalityare considered distinctly secondary (1).
An example that one could use to paint a picture of this type of world citizen could be Ghandi or Mother Teresa who both put others, no matter their race or gender, above themselves. The second way is much more relaxed and states that however we order our varied loyalties, we should still be sure that we recognize the worth of human life wherever it occurs and see ourselves as bound by common human abilities and problems to people who lie at a great distance from us (2). An example that fits this description could be Princess Di or the Reverend Jesse Jackson. But, how exactly does one become this so-called world citizen?
In The Old Education and the Think-Academy, Nussbaum gives us three of the numerous steps needed in order to become a good citizen. Nussbaum tells us that there are three essential ingredients for becoming a world citizen, the first being the critical examination of ones self, which is simply examining your life, where you have been and where you are going. The second of these is to see oneself as not just a citizen but as a group. Nussbaum is simply telling us that to often we get so wrapped up in our labels that we tend to forget that we are all human beings, and that we are all connected to one another.
The last ingredient is that of the narrative imagination, which is the ability think about situations in an objective manner by putting yourself in someone elses shoes. But, the question still remains what is the importance of education versus lifetime experience in becoming the good citizen? According to Martha Nussbaum, educating the young has everything to due with becoming a world citizen. A prevailing theme that seems to occur in Martha Nussbaums literary essays entitled The Old Education and the Think-Academy and Socratic Self-Examination seems to be the equality of all whether it be in everyday life or in education.
We are now trying to build an academy in which women, and members of religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian and gay people, and people living in non-Western cultures can be seen and also heard, with respect and love, both as knowers and as objects of studyan academy in which the world will be seen to have many types of citizens and in which we can all learn to function as citizens of that entire world, (3)is the statement Nussbaum uses to make the point that equality is needed in todays education.
Imagine an academy in which one can learn about all aspects of life with the freedom to question and explore? A teachers task, according to Socrates, was to provoke people into thinking for themselves, rather than to teach them anything they did not already know. Nussbaum proves this to be true when she tells us about the University of Chicago and how the chain-link fence out back of the law school parking lot marks the line between the university campus and the impoverished black community that surrounds it. )Nussbaum, being a philosopher, a scholar, a teacher, as well as a student, appears more than sufficiently equipped to deal with the educational aspect of a person. Nussbaum, as well as Socrates, tend to think that the educational background of the student as well as the curriculum they are taught effect the outcome of the student as far as becoming a world citizen is concerned.
According to the World Citizen Organization, a world citizen is an inhabitant that embraces all considerations… aware of the Global Learning Framework; including perspective awareness, health of planet awareness, systems awareness, being involved being prepared, and a life-long learner aware of the inter-connectedness of all things; oneness, aware of environmental inter-relatedness of the four E’s: economics, energy, ethics, and health, having a preferred worldview (5).
It would seem that there is a unifying theme amongst all of this that the world citizen is simply a well-rounded person who simply takes the time to learn about, and understand others. Without education though, one cannot obtain the proper tactics needed in order to question and understand not only ones own culture, but also the many diverse cultures that exist on our planet.