Global Learning: The Difference Between Education and School

If you are a high school teacher, you have probably seen Prince EA’s “I Sued the School System“, which is a 6-minute video clip on the faults of the school system with 23+ million views. Clearly, it resonated with many individuals, including students I have taught and my own children. In the comments section, the pinned question with 100,000+ responses is “what is the difference between education and school?” Judging by the public response to this video, it is apparent for the most part, the school system is not staying the course to meet the demands of the 21st century. I will argue that transforming the educational experience for 21st century children, the generation of students who have access to information at a rate my generation could only fathom, is essential and a globally competent curriculum is the practical route to travel.

The Difference Between Education and School

Recognizing the system which was designed to produce workers for an industrial age is no longer an effective means of education. According to a report by the Mckinsey Global Institute, The future of work in America: people and places, today and tomorrow, many of the jobs that exist today will not exist in 2030 due to automation. This report was published in 2019 and does not even account for the Pandemic implications on what the economy will look like, as that is still unraveling at the time of this writing. So where does that leave educators? This puts us in a position to guide students to the necessary skills they will need to be adaptable, creative, resilient, socio-emotionally aware and collaborative.

The skills developed in a school should equip all graduates with the skills necessary to meet the demands placed upon them in adulthood. This is the distinction between school and education. In school you receive the tools necessary for a lifelong education.

Where does Global Education Fit into an Evolving Future?

Being globally competent gives students the tools to understand complex problems. It teaches students not to be intimidated by complicated ideas. It also gives students the tools to work through the problems toward sustainable solutions. You can find more on this concept in this ebook, Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World. In this ebook you will find several examples on integrating global competencies across the curricula. But you must also be wondering, how do I do it? The good thing is that you do not necessarily have to revamp your entire curriculum (unless you really want to). What you can do is extend your content/activities/standards through a global competence checklist. The images below are extracted from the ebook linked above and walks you through the evaluation process for your unit of study.

Checklist for Global Competence

Part One

The check list begins with assessing the “glocal” connection, that is the global and local connections that are presented in the unit. Having students understand the linkage between what happens where they are and a place that may be thousands of miles away helps bridge the geographic and theoretic divide.

Part one of the checklist assesses the “glocal” connections

Part Two

The second part of the checklist assesses where you are in the curriculum and its connection to the global community. Again, going back to the notion that you do not necessarily have to revamp your curriculum in its entirety but you do have to extend the content. Examine the learning goals you have developed, are they meaningful? Do they allude to students receiving an education (as defined prior) or are you simply sitting in a school?

Are students receiving an education’?

Part Three

The third section of the checklist asks whether your unit or content area addresses the four global competencies. Have you incorporated student ability to investigate the world, recognize perspective, communicate ideas and take action? This may move you to give students the ownership to make connections beyond the classroom. How is what they are learning translate to the real world? Are you engaging students on multiple levels including social-emotionally or simply front loading the content to them?

Examine the four global competencies and your learning objectives

Part Four

The final component of the checklist is the assessment. In a traditional sense, assessments can be a burden to teachers. No one really enjoys grading, unless that work is project based and moved by student motivation, then grading becomes a completely different experience. Meaningful assessments have the power to transform the experience not only for students but for educators as well.

Global competence-centered assessments

This checklist is broken down into parts here but you can find the checklist along with other valuable resources in the free ebook Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World.

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