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Now in her third year teaching Cambridge Global Perspectives™, Meredith McGinnis can’t imagine swapping it for any other subject. Meredith teaches the course as the core unit in the Cambridge AICE Diploma. Many value the Diploma's positive impact on university applications, but Meredith she says it also has a more important role: making them better citizens.
‘I think every teacher around the world could tell you that your course is only as good as your curriculum and as good as the assessments, so I’m grateful that the material provided by Cambridge International is so good.
‘Other classes that I've taught, and some of the stuff that our states and districts traditionally want us to teach doesn’t feel as valuable. Everything I do for this course is valuable. It's suits me so beautifully as an instructor, I love it.
‘Sometimes people in education think that a small subject is better for a student, but I think the opposite. It is better to throw the kids at the world and see what they come back with.
‘They start to look at the world differently, and to think more carefully about what they see in the media and national discourse. They become not just mindless consumers of information but they are more active and engaged and analytical in their thinking, so I see them as better thinkers, and as one of my students said, they are better citizens.
‘We approach the whole second semester with a local focus that teaches them that they have a responsibility to solve their local problems, and that with global understanding you have local responsibility. That's good for them.
‘The Cambridge AICE Diploma really comes together academically as well. That's the beauty of a holistic diploma programme like Cambridge - the collaboration I experience with my colleagues goes into every classroom.
‘I know in Cambridge International A Level English that students will do projects about global language and English as a global language. In Psychology the methodologies that they study are reflected in our research in Global Perspectives.
‘The skills in responding in writing and creating arguments, and evaluating evidence, are the bread and butter of the entire Cambridge AICE Diploma programme, and Global Perspectives is the bedrock of the entire programme.’
‘The first time I taught the course, and honestly with very little instruction on my part because I was so new to it, one of our students presented on business incubators here in Nashville.
‘She proposed ways of helping our recently-migrated refugee community grow in small business. She had great research, and had gone and talked to local organisations. I was just blown away by her work and just her level of thought. She took three maths classes for senior year and really understood about the economics of the proposal.
‘Most other courses are about ingesting material and then regurgitating what was shared with you originally, but taking something in and creating something new is great for our students. I don't think she would have been able to tie all of her learning together in any other class.
‘I think that is probably my one of my favourite things about Global Perspectives: for my students it's a landing place for all their other learning.’
Meredith McGinnis teaches Cambridge Global Perspectives at John Overton High School, in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. The school has around 2000 students, and offers some Cambridge IGCSE courses as well as the Cambridge AICE Diploma, which is a group award made up of Cambridge International AS & A Levels.