Monday, November 28, 2011

Global Competence: A Visionary Framework for Students and Teachers

Dear Friends,

     Recently, I attended the Project Zero Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  The conference was hosted by the Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education (CASIE) with Project Zero and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  

     While there, I had the very good fortune of attending many sessions with speakers such as David Perkins, Ph.D., Howard Gardner, Ph.D. and Veronica Boix Mansilla, Ph.D.  Their topics supported the conference theme of, “Educating for Today and Tomorrow; Arts, Ethics and Learning in the 21st Century.”

     Among the sessions I attended was a plenary session on “Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth for Today’s World,” by Veronica Boix Mansilla, Ph.D..    In her book, “Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World,” written with Anthony Jackson (2011), she offers several reasons for why our students need to be prepared to be active participants of positive change in the world.  She also talks about the four competencies that we can offer our students to empower them to be this agent of change.

     In this blog post, I will offer just the basics of this visionary framework that will shape our curriculum on the local, state, national and global levels.  I will share her insights on the three “forces” that are leading to a shift in how we prepare our students as well as the competencies themselves.  To learn more about her work and to download a free copy of the book, you can go to:

     Mansilla and Jackson, (2011), point to the following “forces.”  These are taken from, "Educating for Global Competence, Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World."  This report was also written with and for the Council of Chief State School Officers EdSteps Initiative and Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning, Copyright 2011 by the Asia Society.  

     The “forces” Mansilla and Jackon’s report (2011) include that contribute to the need for Global Competencies include:
1.  The flattened global economy and changing demands of work.
2.  Unprecedented global migration.
3.  Climate Instability and environmental stewardship.

     From this, Mansilla shared with us, the "Global Competence Matrix" offering the four skills that students need to be effective agents of positive change in the world and how these skills filter throughout the curricular areas of school.  The "Global Competence Matrix", was created as part of the Council of Chief State School Officers’ EdSteps Project in partnership with the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning in 2010 by the Council of Chief State School Officers, in Washington, DC.  They define Global Competence as, “the knowledge skills and dispositions to understand and act creatively and innovatively on issues of global significance” (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010).

     The four skills noted in the Council of Chief State School Officers report (2010) are:
1.  Students investigate the world beyond their immediate environment.
2.  Students recognize their own and others’ perspectives.
3.  Students communicate their ideas effectively with diverse audiences.
4.  Students translate their ideas and findings into appropriate actions to improve conditions.

     This framework is visionary because it takes character education to a new level and standard.  The elements of this help us to empower students to know that they can help to make a difference not only in their local community but in the world too.  It helps them to have a greater compassion for the needs of themselves and for others and to see how they can work together to help the world.  It allows the skills of the classroom to be integrated and applied for good.  It also helps students to not only think about ways to help but encourages them to take action and to bring solutions to life, whether they are in Kindergarten or Graduate School.

     In this post, I have offered a very brief introduction to the Global Competency framework.  It is a small but important step in continuing to broaden the horizons, conversations, and teachings we offer our students.  I am encouraged by teachers and students that allow learning to go well beyond the walls of the classroom into the hearts of the world.  Wow!

Thank you,
Kimberly Borin
Learning Specialist