In business, globalization is fast and furious, and to compete in a competitive market, global competences and skills are essential. Global competence thus can boost employability. In education, it promotes cultural awareness, and respectful interactions in an increasingly diverse world. Schools play a crucial role in helping young people to develop global competence (OECD, 2018).
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) at The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development provides a comprehensive definition of global competence to include:
the capacity to examine local, global and intercultural issues
understanding and appreciating the perspectives and world views of others
engaging in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures
acting for collective well-being and sustainable development
The definition outlines the dimensions for global competence. These are target goals that provide direction for educators to teach global competence. Let’s look at each item and discuss the potential for it to exist in the classroom and beyond.
The capacity to examine local, global and intercultural issues
This dimension requires literacy in traditional and digital media. Assign students research to conduct on a local, global and intercultural issue of their choice with provided resources as needed (newspapers, news channels, magazines, etc.). Discuss credible sources of information and critically examine explicit and implicit bias in the reporting of the issues.
Understanding and appreciating the perspectives and world views of others
Offer students exposure to other perspectives and cultures through texts, documentaries, news briefs, stories, speakers and interviews. Follow up with extension activities and allow for classroom discussions on findings and learning amongst students. Seeing through another cultural filter can deepen and question one’s own perspectives (Fennes & Hapgood, 1997).
Engaging in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures
Establish norms and rules that guide civil discourse and respectful interactions. This can be determined collectively as a classroom through facilitation and guidance. Ensure all voices are heard and acknowledged.
Tech tools like Flipgrid and Skype or old fashioned pen pals can be used as a way of including diverse perspectives and voices in a class discussion.
Acting for collective well-being and sustainable development
Projects and opportunities to participate in real issues can encourage real-world involvement and help influence impactful engagement. To become globally competent, one must participate to improve conditions in their own communities and build a more just, peaceful, inclusive and environmentally sustainable world (OECD, 2018).
For more conceptual and skills-based information, see the OECD competence framework: https://www.oecd.org/education/Global-competency-for-an-inclusive-world.pdf
Also, UNESCO’s declaration of cultural diversity:
UNESCO (2001), Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity, UNESCO, Paris. Available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001271/127160m.pdf
Why do we need global competence? Leave a response in the comments below.
Fennes, H. and K. Hapgood (1997), Intercultural Learning in the Classroom: Crossing Borders, Cassell, London.
OECD (2016), “PISA 2018 draft reading framework”, OECD working paper, OECD, Paris.