Building global perspective and cultural awareness in the world of education

William Woods EDU

Global education practices for teachersAccording to the most recent survey by The National Center for Education Statistics, the number of English language learners (ELL) in U.S. public schools increased by an estimated 300,000 from the year 2002 to 2013. More so, as a result of the most recent wave of immigration, classrooms in public schools across the U.S. are more culturally diverse now than ever, with the number of Hispanic and Asian students having increased by five million since the 1990s.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, in the state of Missouri alone there were 103,299 children under the age of 18 in 2013 who had one or more foreign-born parents. And schools in Missouri in the 2012-2013 school year were home to more than 27,000 ELLs, a 106% increase in ELL enrollment from the 2002-2003 school year.

In light of the recent International Education Week, Global Education Conference (GEC) held its sixth annual meeting — this year from November 16-19 — as a free online event featuring keynote speakers from all around the globe, who each offered unique experiences and perspectives on education.

The Global Education Conference (GEC) is a worldwide initiative designed to “significantly increase opportunities for building education-related connections around the globe while supporting cultural awareness, recognition of diversity, and educational access for all.”

Topics discussed at this year’s conference were based around presenting ideas, projects and techniques that create international and national connections, foster global competency and inspire action towards solving real-world problems. Recordings of these presentations can be found on the GEC website and are free to access.

A knowledge of global education practices and a strong cultural awareness are important for those looking to teach abroad and also domestically. This type of global understanding can be gained through opportunities like the GEC, but also by observing and experiencing new ways of teaching across cultures through stepping outside of the classroom.

The opportunities for William Woods University students to expand their global perspective in the classroom — through courses like EDU201 Multicultural Education — and outside of the classroom — through international programs like Woods Around the World and partnering study abroad organizations, are countless.

And for education students there are a variety of opportunities to teach abroad offered by the U.S. Department of State for those students who are interested in less-traditional teaching career paths following graduation.

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