Empathy-Based Pedagogical Approach to Global Citizenship Education: Kazakhstani Secondary Schools Context

Natalya Hanley (née Kan)
University College London (UCL), Institute of Education (IOE)
May 2020

The fast-growing interest in Global Citizenship (GC) and Global Citizenship Education (GCE) has brought changes, challenges and opportunities to the area of education, particularly within secondary schools. It has created the tension to encourage young people to become more engaged with global issues and challenge them with practical implementations and actions in their local communities. Many Global Citizenship Education approaches and models have been offered over the last decade, however, in the pedagogical area there is a need to address which approaches should be used in the learning process. One potential route for this is through an Empathy-Based Pedagogical Approach (EBPA) which can be a valuable mechanism for transforming a learner’s view about themselves and their roles in the global and local community.

The purpose of this research study is to investigate the relevance of the discourse in Global Citizenship Education to how secondary school students in Kazakhstan can learn about global issues through ‘walking a mile in the shoes of other people’. Based on the work of different scholars and the initiatives of various non-profit organisations, the study develops an Empathy-Based Pedagogical Approach within Global Citizenship Education. The research was conducted in three secondary schools in Kazakhstan which use three different educational systems (National Curriculum, Nazarbayev Intellectual School (NIS) and International Baccalaureate (IBKAZ)). The outcomes provided very strong evidence that ‘walking in the shoes of other people’ helped the students to deepen their knowledge, become emotionally engaged with global issues and participate in critical discussion. The analysis was able to identify a number of challenges which were highlighted during the current study. The study provides a discussion on how the found challenges could be addressed and implemented in the area of policy, curriculum and practice within the secondary schools in Kazakhstan.