As the world continues the struggle against the Covid-19 pandemic, Professor Jerry Lucido from the University of Southern California calls our attention on why developing a global perspective is now more important than ever.
How important is it for students to develop a global outlook from an early age?
On a more human level, a global outlook makes it far easier to tackle problems if we understand each other’s perspectives, cultures, and traditions – valuing what those different perspectives bring. When we bring different perspectives to a problem, we tend to solve it more creatively, and with solutions that have an opportunity to last.
What kinds of attributes do you look for in students?
We want to teach students who have an open mind. Students who are open to evidence and difference, who will challenge us and challenge each other in the classroom. It makes for a much more exciting, productive environment for learning.
We hope to identify students who have a strong academic background and who can build upon multiple areas of study to solve problems, but we’re also looking for individuals who will be engaging and engaged – students who are interested in the world and solving worldwide problems.
How does the Cambridge curriculum, including Global Perspectives, build these attributes?
We see in the Cambridge curriculum in particular, and in some other advanced curriculum offerings, this notion of an engaged active learning environment – where students are presented problems, where they can identify the issues, and where they do some independent research. They draw conclusions and then must communicate them to their peers and to faculty members.
How important is it for students to develop critical thinking skills?
There is so much information out there which is simply incorrect – news that is intentionally fake. For example, information that is delivered over social media. How would you know if a source is trustworthy if you do not start to think critically and understand social media?
How do you begin to develop these critical perspectives and the understanding that you need to look at and check multiple sources? I think for most students, that kind of critical engagement with information is going to be increasingly important during their lifetimes.