The importance of teaching global competence: Part 1

William Woods EDU

Global competence is defined by the Global Competence Task Force — a group of state education agency leaders, education scholars and practitioners — as “the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance.”

Education leaders throughout the world recognize global competence as an important element of the education we provide our students.

“Contemporary societies are marked by new global trends — economic, cultural, technological, and environmental shifts that are part of a rapid and uneven wave of globalization. The growing global interdependence that characterizes our time calls for a generation of individuals who can engage in effective global problem solving and participate simultaneously in local, national, and global civic life,” explain authors Veronica Boix Mansilla and Anthony Jackson in their book, Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World.

“Put simply, preparing our students to participate fully in today’s and tomorrow’s world demands that we nurture their global competence.”

One example of an organization providing educators with the proper tools and training to bring global competency into their classrooms is The National Education Association (NEA) Foundation through their Global Learning Fellowship program.

This year-long, supported, professional development learning experience allows cohorts of public school educators to build global competency skills through international field study, and then bring their findings back into the classroom, using them to develop global learning lesson plans and curriculum to be shared with all educators.

Lesson plans provided by those teachers who participated in the fellowship can be found online:

After spending time in China as a NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow, elementary teacher Nanette Lehmann brought the lessons she learned abroad back with her to the classroom and incorporated them into her curriculum — teaching about global historical leaders and new cultures many of her students had never heard of.

“This unit of study opened a window into another culture that would never have been opened had I not been motivated to close the global competency gap plaguing our adopted curricula.”

William Woods bachelors of education students interested in gaining more of a global perspective have the opportunity to travel through Woods Around the World and other study abroad programs. Visit the Office of Career Services and meet with the study abroad advisor to discuss your options for studying abroad.

Learn more about the NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellowship in the video below and hear from some of the teachers who have participated in this program.

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