Author: Tom Vander Ark and Emily Liebtag

Educating for Global Competence: 6 Reasons, 7 Competencies, 8 Strategies, 9 Innovations

December 29, 2017 by

This post originally appeared at Getting Smart on September 5, 2017.

Everything is global–trade and economics, media and information. Young people are more likely than ever to interact with people from different cultures while at home and on the road. As we become more connected, more interdependent, how do we prepare young people for the world they will inherit? We see six reasons, seven competencies, eight strategies and nine innovations.

6 Reasons Global Competence Matters

The Asia Society Center for Global Education notes five reasons why global competence matters and we should be engaging young people now in learning experiences that focus on developing these skills, attitudes and dispositions. We added an additional benefit.

1. Global competence is the toolkit that a productive, involved citizenry uses to meet the problems and opportunities of the world. In the curriculum, global competence challenges students to investigate the world, consider a variety of perspectives, communicate ideas and take meaningful action. A globally focused curriculum engages students in their own learning and motivates them to strive for knowledge and understanding. And a curious, inspired student strives to learn more in school and beyond.

2. A new generation of students requires different skills from the generations that came before. The world is changing fast. Boundaries—literal as well as figurative— are shifting and even disappearing altogether. The culture that once lived halfway around the world now lives just down the block. The ability to thrive in this new and rapidly changing environment is grounded in a globally focused curriculum.

3. More than ever before, individual actions reach around the globe. Environmental concerns, economic shifts, global poverty, population growth, human rights and political conflict can seem intractable and overwhelming, yet they absolutely require thoughtful action. In a globally focused curriculum, students learn that the world needs them to act, and that they can make a difference.

4. Global competence integrates knowledge of the world and the skill of application with the disposition to think and behave productively. Global competence is not restricted to knowing about other cultures and other perspectives. In addition to knowledge of the world, a globally competent citizen exhibits habits like critical thinking, rational optimism, innovation, empathy and awareness of the influences of culture on individual behavior and world events.

5. Success in career and life will depend on global competence, because career and life will play out on the global stage. Already, government, business and cultural institutions are called to solve the world’s problems cooperatively. Engaging in these challenges requires high-order knowledge and thinking skill, as well as shared language and cultural understanding. In a globally focused curriculum, students prepare to approach problems from multiple perspectives and to thrive in a global future.

6. Working with and building relationships with people who have different backgrounds adds meaning, depth and joy to your life. Varied perspectives and worldviews enhance our own understandings and constructs (both mental and social).

In Education for Global Competence: Preparing our Youth to Engage the World, Asia Society expounds upon these reasons for preparing for global competence and details exactly what they feel the four skills of globally competent students are: (more…)

Developing Self-Directed Learners

December 22, 2016 by

gsmart3This post originally appeared at Getting Smart on December 6, 2016.

“I haven’t met many self-directed teenagers,” said a frustrated high school teacher during a recent presentation.

As we contemplate the vast problem of teenage disengagement and the apparent low level of self-direction, we have to ask, “Is it our kids or our schools?”

We’ve seen enough high engagement schools where most teens were self-directed to suggest that it may be the design of American secondary schools that’s the problem—not the kids.

For a century, the primary design meme of American schools has been compliant consumption. Students read, practice and regurgitate in small chunks in siloed classes in regimented environments. Low levels of self-direction shouldn’t be surprising—it is inherent in the traditional secondary school design.

High engagement schools start from a different conception—knowledge co-creation and active production. They design a very different learner experience and support it with a student-centered culture and opportunities to improve self-regulation, initiative and persistence—all key to self-directed learning.

Why Does Self-Direction Matter?

Growth of the freelance- and gig-economy makes self-direction an imperative, but it’s also increasingly important inside organizations. David Rattray of the LA Chamber said, “Employees need to change their disposition toward employers away from work for someone else to an attitude of working for myself—agency, self-discipline, initiative and risk-taking are all important on the job.” (more…)

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