World Studies Extended Essay

Rigorous academic pursuits such as in-depth, interdisciplinary investigations into issues of contemporary, global importance (e.g. the global food crisis, climate change, global health, contemporary intercultural influences in the arts, the digital revolution, migration) are effective ways to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

This exploratory study examined the learning demands of interdisciplinary investigations and their resulting essays on students, and described what their experience revealed about the nature of global consciousness. A key finding from this work is the articulation of three distinguishable emerging forms of global consciousness. By looking into students’ work, thinking and reflections on their experience with the World Studies Extended Essay, we identified the learning challenges and opportunities that students experience when conducting quality interdisciplinary research about topics of global significance, and uncovered the nature, markers and supports for global consciousness. Our work also includes recommendations for researchers and practitioners interested in further examining how students develop interdisciplinary and global competence.  

This project was funded by the International Baccalaureate.