Global Competence: The Basics

Whenever you begin a new venture it feels as though you are standing on the bottom of the mountain and what you need in the moment is right at the very top. The space between you and the top of the mountain is the learning curve needed to reach that space, and it often feels tremendous. I’m sure many educators know this feeling well, and just as we know the feeling, we, too, understand how to conquer the learning curve.

Global education and building competencies students will take with them well beyond the classroom are worth every effort you will make to transform your classroom from the ordinary to the extraordinary. It is also not as complicated as you may imagine. Below we will break down the four major competencies, an immediate step of implementation the relevance of each competency.

Global Competencies

The Asia Society breaks down the core global competencies into four categories: student ability to investigate the world, recognize perspectives, communicate ideas and take action. As a humanities educator and debate coach, these competencies fall directly in line with the standards integrated in daily learning. However, these competences are globally centered with the notion that all actions global are in some way connected to our localities.

The Four Domains of Global Competence

Investigate the World

Reintegrating the sense of curiosity in students is vital in creating a sense of ownership over learning. When students, or anyone for that matter, feel they are directing the actions they are taking, they are more likely to put more effort into a project, or learning event. Investigating the world is the essence of global competence. Now, as an educator in our current system I know there are standards to assess and tests to take! One very easy integration method is asking students when a topic is presented to them, what would you like to know? In line with the famous K/W/L charts we all know as educators, hone in on what would you like to know and ask students to create their learning objectives within the targeted unit in addition to the essential questions you have prepared. Take that a step further and ask, how do you think our global neighbors in X country try to engage in the same problem?

Recognize Perspectives

In order to live in a robust democracy and be a global citizen recognizing perspectives is an essential component. I often advocate the importance of debate, not only as an extracurricular activity but an exercise that should be integrated in the curriculum. Hold on for a minute, do not jump to the debate portion yet, in order to have a robust debate, one must understand multiple perspectives of the same topic. In doing so, an individual’s capacity to think broadly is formed.

Communicate Ideas

Building upon the gathering or knowledge, understanding perspective, one must then be able to communicate such ideas and more importantly synthesize one’s own perspective. Being able to communicate ideas is an essential component to global competence and an overall tremendous life skill. Being able to communicate in both written and verbal modes is important. Whenever students are hesitant in class to share their ideas publicly, I reassure them they are not alone. In fact, a staggering 73% of Americans have a fear of public speaking known as glassophobia. However, if you are able to overcome the fear this will impact your interpersonal relationships greatly but also increase your income potential, which usually gets their attention. One of the top skills recruiters seek is oral communication, this is true for a domestic and international market. Not being able to communicate ideas clearly in a verbal manner may very well hold individuals back in their careers.

Take Action

The fourth competency in the global track is taking action. Now that a student has gathered information, has examined perspectives, creating an implementable plan of action is the final step that puts the knowledge into motion. Guiding the student to action as a result of the work they have put in typically requires some brainstorming and an implementable plan of action. In alignment with Bloom’s Taxonomy, not only at this point will students have to think of an action plan but they will have to put it in motion.

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