Teacher to Teacher: Global Competency

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Taken by Team Mentor Noemi Gonzalez

Written by Lisa Glenn, NGC’s Education Coordinator, for ANEE 

Globalization. From turning off the alarm clock made in a distant land to
communicating effectively with the person in the next office, we all interact with
the rest of the world on a daily, if not hourly basis. Unfortunately, it seems that the
US education system has not yet caught up to the needs of students in this global
context. The even more unfortunate truth is that students who do not develop global
competency are destined to lag behind their foreign counterparts in the workforce
and in academia until we take the time to evaluate our education system and include
global competency training in our curriculum.

So, what does global competency look like? Students who are globally competent
can investigate the world around them, recognize and value diverse perspectives,
communicate ideas about global issues, and take action as it is needed. Basically,
global competency is simply an extension of the already great teaching that most
educators do on a daily basis.

Teaching global competency falls in line quite seamlessly with the Common Core
State Standards (CCSS). Here in Arizona, as we begin to implement the CCSS, we
would be well served to also consider how we are teaching students to become
Global Citizens. College and career readiness certainly includes the ability to write
and read, to investigate mathematical theorems, and to apply the Scientific Method.
But our students are living in a world where they must also be able to interact
with and understand people from diverse backgrounds and countries. At ASU,
NAU, Grand Canyon, UA, and other institutions, our students will collaborate with
researchers from around the world. As professionals, our students will create
partnerships with global organizations. And, if we are so fortunate, our students will
become leaders who will interact with others on a global scale. If we do not provide
our students with the tools and skills needed to succeed in these arenas, then we
have truly failed.

We must use this critical time in the education field to seize upon the strength at the
base of the Common Core standards—that is, the Habits of Mind. The great benefit
of these standards is that they do not, in many cases, prescribe to the teacher exact
content to be taught. As a result, we as teachers can choose to teach the Habits of
Mind through the lens of global issues. We can choose to implement projects on how
to use public health information to make responsible decisions instead of simply
researching disease transmission. We can examine a systems-based approach to
armed conflict in addition to teaching Civil War history.

By embracing global competency, we open our students up to a whole new world of
engaging content. According to CommLaw Conspectus, 43% of US students say that
they think their homework is never or only sometimes meaningful. As educators, we
can link the concepts that students must grasp to developed and engaging content
that students are excited about and in so doing, support them in becoming Global
Citizens to ensure their successful tomorrow.

Reach Lisa Glenn at lisa@newglobalcitizens.org