Global issues

Throughout your course, you will explore global issues. Units of inquiry may encourage you to explore a global issue and your learner portfolio may be organised by global issues. Furthermore, you will explore how a global issue is represented in both a literary work and a non-literary text on your individual oral. But what, exactly, is a global issue? A global issue has three qualities: 

    • transnational
    • significant
    • relevant to local contexts

Many issues meet these three criteria, from 'coming of age' to 'climate change'. The IB has outlined 5 'fields of inquiry' under which global issues should fall. These are broad areas of study and rather abstract in nature.

5 Fields of inquiry

  • Culture, identity and community

  • Beliefs, values and education

  • Politics, power and justice

  • Art, creativity and the imagination

  • Science, technology and the natural world

Examples of global issues

  • The lack of social and economic mobility for the middle class

  • The challenges of raising children in a digital age 

  • The unrealistic representation of young women by global fashion brands

  • The rise of nationalism and xenophobia in an age of globalisation

It helps to think of global issues as themes that appear somewhere on a ladder of abstraction. A 'ladder of abstraction' is a representation of how real-life people and situations connect to abstract ideas. Below is an example of a ladder of abstraction that includes racism. Notice how the words in the list below go from the concrete and specific to the abstract and general. What issue can you realistically explore in a 10-minute oral? 

Ladder of abstraction

CONCRETE > Michael Brown > Ferguson > racial profiling > #blacklivesmatter > racial profiling > racism > discrimination > injustice > ABSTRACT

The units of inquiry on this Language and Literature Support Site encourage you to explore several global issues. Each unit helps you explore the issue by engaging with a range of texts and activities. You should aim to show an understanding of these issues and texts in your learner portfolio, which is a tool to help you develop skills and showcase your work.

Last modified: Monday, 16 March 2020, 2:54 PM