We know, as educators, that our students’ early experiences shape their world view. I’ve already written about how my childhood experiences traveling with my family had a great impact on me. But those experiences are not available to many of our students, which is why formal education needs to adapt to provide students with the chance to acquire the skills necessary to become globally competent citizens. So what is global competence and why is it so important? Education that focuses on creating globally competent students forges “more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies…it gives people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st century” (source). In a world that is more connected than ever before thanks to advances in information and communication technologies, nations working together to tackle today’s biggest issues is more attainable and increasingly more important. UNESCO (United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization) notes that challenges including sustainable development, climate change, human rights, equity, and acceptance of diversity can be improved through education to improve global competence.
These very issues confront us daily in the headlines screaming from the news: Terrorist attacks, refugees, children attempting to escape the fate of a war torn land only to drown in a capsized boat. We read of individuals blinded by fear and misinformation that lack empathy for these individuals and of world and spiritual leaders that are grappling with the complexity of how to help. We read of communities with no access to clean drinking water, no sustainable agriculture, no gender equity or socioeconomic equity in the type of education that children receive. These issues confront us daily, and there are no easy solutions. The first step comes in educating future generations that a global community is best equipped to confront them.
What does globally competent education look like? An excellent article by Andrew Jackson of the Asia Society (please read it in its entirety here) highlights that globally competent students have the knowledge and skills to 1) Investigate the World, 2) Weigh Perspectives, 3) Communicate Ideas, 4) Take Action, and 5) Apply Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Expertise. You are probably incorporating many of these ideas into your lessons already. We can teach kids to identify the problems that exist in their own life and help them connect it to larger issues faced in other communities and parts of the world. We can facilitate understanding through reading of age appropriate current events. We can focus on project based learning that allows students to explore their world through research, analysis, and innovation. To continue thinking about how we can improve our ability to prepare students to become globally competent citizens, I’ve gathered some resources below. The resources include ideas that you can start using in your classroom tomorrow, including lesson plans, rubrics, age appropriate current event sites for students, professional development opportunities for teachers, and further reading. I hope you find this round up helpful.
Are you already teaching with global concepts in mind? What are your favorite lessons that incorporate global concepts? Feel free to share ideas and discuss in the comments below.
Resources for Use in the Classroom:
Lesson Resources Searchable by Subject
Performance Outcomes and Rubrics for Leadership, Language, Mathematics, Sciences, the Arts, Social Studies and History, and English Language Arts
Performance Outcomes for Grades 5, 8, 10, 12
Comprehensive List of Teacher Resources
Current Events Websites for Students:
Times for Kids
Student News Net
CNN Student News
New York Times Learning Network- This site includes lessons plans and quizzes daily to help incorporate current events into the classroom.
Professional Development Opportunities:
Teachers for Global Classrooms Program
E-Courses offered by TIGEd
Grant Opportunities for Generation Study Abroad Program
Educating for Global Competence
Global Citizenship Education
Global Citizenship Education: An Emerging Perspective