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Taking Steps Towards Global Competency

"Globally competent students are curious about and engaged in the world. They are increasingly able to investigate the world beyond their immediate surroundings, understand their own and others' cultural perspectives, communicate differences, and take action to improve conditions." - Veronica Boix Mansilla


Beyond oceans, climate types, and capital cities, global competence is an essential component of modern learning. More about projects and solving problems, and less about rote memorization, Edsteps defines global competence as;

"The knowledge, skills and dispositions to understand and act creatively and innovatively on issues of global significance."

Edsteps shared these matrices to support the development of global competency in any academic discipline.

ISTE, International Society for Technology in Education, recently updated their learning standards for students. Standard Seven, Global Collaborator, challenges students to "broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally." ISTE's performance indicators for the global collaborator standard include:

  • use digital tools to connect and engage with learners from other cultures (7a)
  • use collaborative technologies to examine issues from multiple viewpoints (7b)
  • contribute constructively to project teams to work towards a common goal (7c)
  • use collaborative technologies to work with others to explore and investigate solutions to local and global issues (7d)


How can educators help students take steps towards developing global competency?



First, Veronica Boix Mansilla suggests cultivating these global dispositions in the classroom:

  • Disposition to inquire about the world (ask significant questions, explore connections, seek information beyond familiar environments)
  • Disposition to understand multiple perspectives (consider culture contexts, resisting stereotypes, and value human dignity)
  • Disposition toward respectful dialogue (communicating across differences, listening with intent, and sharing generously)
  • Disposition toward taking responsible action (identify opportunities to improve conditions, collaborate with others, mobilizing action)

Dispositions become enculturated when teachers integrate global inquiry, perspective stretching, empathetic dialogue, and responsible action into daily classroom routines.


Second, Will Richardson, states in his recent ASCD article "Getting Schools Ready for the World," educators need to make schools places where students become "voracious, continual learners." Here are Will's suggestions for developing global competency in schools.

  • Articulate needed abilities (identify essential skills that focus classroom activities)
  • Create cultures of deep learning (move from teacher-oriented to learner-oriented school culture)
  • Free students to pursue their interests (empower students to develop their learning processes)

Third, Anthony Jackson, vice president for education of Asia Society, suggests education can be the antidote to intolerance and conflict. Global competence yields a better understanding of diverse perspectives and deeper understanding of cultural issues. Asia Society identifies four learning domains of global competence.

  • Investigate the world
  • Recognize and weigh diverse perspectives 
  • Communicate ideas
  • Take responsible action

Jackson says a cultural shift resulting from global competence is more likely to occur when teachers and school leaders develop their own global competence. Successful approaches include:

  • Create professional learning communities (collaborate to create opportunities for students to engage globally)
  • Target high leverage entry points (rigorous inquiry that references local and national global learning standards)
  • Connect schools, classrooms, and curriculum to institutions and people offering global engagement and perspective
  • Embrace innovative approaches to promoting global competence
  • Gain global competence with a learner's first mindset

Workplace skills, collaborative problem-solving, eradicate extreme aggression; how many schools are producing globally ready graduates? Global competence, in an era of abundant information and ubiquitous connection, is an essential piece of the modern learning puzzle. Global competence is an achievable objective when educators connect, collaborate, and develop digital literacies. Nurture globally focused dispositions in the classroom, create a school culture of learning, and develop personal globally focused competencies, these are recommended steps to becoming better engaged as a global contributor.

References

Mansilla, A., & Jackson, A. (2011). Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage with the World. http://asiasociety.org/files/book-globalcompetence.pdf

Krakower, B., Naugle, P., & Blumengarten, J. (2016). Connecting your students with the world: Tools and projects to make global collaboration come alive, K-8. New York: Routledge.

Getting Schools Ready for the World. (December 2016). http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/dec16/vol74/num04/Getting-Schools-Ready-for-the-World.aspx

Global Literacy and Documenting Learning. (2016, December 09). http://langwitches.org/blog/2016/12/09/global-literacy-and-documenting-learning/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork


Stacy Tornio (2016, November 30). 7 Surprising Ways Teachers Can Connect with Countries Around the World. http://www.weareteachers.com/encourage-global-perspective-classroom/

Robinson, S. (1970, January 01). Empathize Local and Global Needs | #CBL Collaboration Lens. http://seanrtech.blogspot.com/2016/12/empathize-local-and-global-needs-cbl.html?spref=tw


Photo Credit: Pixabay CC0

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