National Union Of Teachers: International Education Explained

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is a prominent organisation in the United Kingdom that advocates for the rights and interests of teachers and students alike. This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the NUT’s perspective on international education, which is an educational approach that seeks to promote intercultural understanding and global citizenship.

International education is a broad and complex field, encompassing a variety of teaching methods, curricula, and educational policies. It is a vital aspect of modern education, particularly in an increasingly globalised world. This glossary entry will delve into the various facets of international education as understood and promoted by the NUT.

Understanding International Education

International education, in the context of the NUT’s work, refers to an educational approach that encourages students to understand and appreciate different cultures, perspectives, and global issues. It is about fostering a sense of global citizenship and promoting values such as respect, empathy, and social justice.

International education is not confined to a specific subject or curriculum. Instead, it is a cross-curricular approach that can be integrated into various subjects, from history and geography to literature and the arts. The aim is to broaden students’ horizons and equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate a diverse and interconnected world.

The Importance of International Education

The NUT believes that international education is crucial in today’s globalised society. It helps students develop a broader worldview, understand different cultures and perspectives, and appreciate the interconnectedness of our world. This is not only beneficial for their personal development but also essential for promoting peace, understanding, and cooperation among nations.

Moreover, international education fosters critical thinking skills, as it encourages students to question, analyse, and reflect on global issues and different viewpoints. It also promotes empathy and respect for diversity, which are vital for social cohesion and mutual understanding.

The Role of Teachers in International Education

Teachers play a pivotal role in implementing international education. They are responsible for creating an inclusive and culturally sensitive learning environment, integrating international perspectives into their teaching, and fostering global awareness among their students.

The NUT provides support and resources for teachers to effectively incorporate international education into their practice. This includes professional development opportunities, teaching resources, and guidance on creating a globally-minded classroom.

NUT’s Approach to International Education

The NUT’s approach to international education is guided by its commitment to social justice, equality, and global citizenship. The union believes that education should not only equip students with academic knowledge but also foster values and skills that enable them to contribute positively to the global community.

As such, the NUT promotes a holistic approach to international education, which encompasses not only the curriculum but also the school culture, teaching methods, and community engagement. The union advocates for a curriculum that reflects the diversity of our world, teaching methods that encourage critical thinking and intercultural understanding, and a school culture that values diversity and inclusivity.

Curriculum Development

The NUT advocates for a curriculum that is globally-minded, inclusive, and relevant to students’ lives. This involves integrating global issues and perspectives into various subjects, promoting critical thinking and empathy, and ensuring that the curriculum reflects the diversity of the world.

The union provides guidance and resources for curriculum development, including lesson plans, teaching materials, and professional development opportunities. It also encourages teachers to adapt the curriculum to their local context and the needs of their students, while maintaining a global perspective.

Teaching Methods

The NUT promotes teaching methods that foster critical thinking, empathy, and intercultural understanding. This includes inquiry-based learning, collaborative learning, and experiential learning. These methods encourage students to actively engage with the material, reflect on different perspectives, and apply their learning to real-world situations.

The union provides training and resources for teachers to implement these methods in their classrooms. It also encourages teachers to continuously reflect on their teaching practice and seek ways to improve their effectiveness in promoting international education.

International Partnerships and Projects

The NUT is actively involved in international partnerships and projects that promote global education and teacher exchange. These initiatives provide opportunities for teachers and students to learn from their counterparts in other countries, gain firsthand experience of different cultures, and develop a deeper understanding of global issues.

Such partnerships and projects also foster a sense of global citizenship among students, as they get to see how their actions can have an impact beyond their local community. They also provide valuable professional development opportunities for teachers, as they get to learn from their international colleagues and bring new ideas and perspectives back to their classrooms.

Teacher Exchange Programmes

The NUT supports teacher exchange programmes, which allow teachers to spend time in a school in another country, observe their teaching methods, and share their own experiences and insights. These programmes provide a unique opportunity for professional development, as teachers get to learn from their international colleagues and gain a broader perspective on education.

Teacher exchange programmes also foster intercultural understanding and mutual respect among teachers, as they get to experience a different culture firsthand and see the world from a different perspective. This, in turn, enriches their teaching practice and benefits their students.

Global Education Projects

The NUT is involved in various global education projects, which aim to raise awareness of global issues among students and promote global citizenship. These projects often involve collaborations with schools in other countries, enabling students to learn about different cultures and perspectives firsthand.

Such projects not only enrich the curriculum but also foster a sense of global responsibility among students. They provide a practical and engaging way for students to learn about global issues, understand their interconnectedness, and see how they can make a difference.

Advocacy and Policy Influence

The NUT is a strong advocate for international education and plays a significant role in shaping educational policies in the UK. The union lobbies for policies that promote global education, inclusivity, and social justice in schools. It also works to ensure that teachers have the support and resources they need to effectively implement international education.

The NUT’s advocacy work involves engaging with policymakers, participating in public consultations, and collaborating with other organisations that share its vision for education. The union’s influence extends beyond the national level, as it is also involved in international networks and initiatives that promote global education.

Policy Influence

The NUT’s policy influence is evident in its active participation in public consultations, policy debates, and advocacy campaigns. The union uses its expertise and the collective voice of its members to influence educational policies in favour of international education, inclusivity, and social justice.

The NUT’s policy work is guided by its commitment to the rights of teachers and students, and its vision for a globally-minded, inclusive, and socially just education system. The union’s policy influence extends beyond the national level, as it also engages with international bodies and networks to promote its vision for education.

Collaborations and Networks

The NUT collaborates with a wide range of organisations and networks that share its commitment to international education. These collaborations enable the union to amplify its voice, share resources and expertise, and work collectively towards its goals.

Such collaborations include partnerships with other teacher unions, educational organisations, and international networks. These collaborations not only strengthen the NUT’s advocacy work but also enrich its programmes and initiatives, as they bring together diverse perspectives and experiences.


The National Union of Teachers’ approach to international education is comprehensive and multifaceted, encompassing curriculum development, teaching methods, international partnerships, and advocacy work. The union’s commitment to international education is rooted in its belief in the power of education to foster global citizenship, promote intercultural understanding, and contribute to a more just and peaceful world.

Through its work, the NUT is making a significant contribution to the advancement of international education in the UK and beyond. It is equipping teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to promote global learning, fostering a sense of global citizenship among students, and influencing educational policies to support its vision for education.

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