As I sat reflecting while preparing for an upcoming conference, I realized how globally entwined my life has become. This morning I chatted with a colleague in Tunisia to plan for a discussion we would be facilitating together the following day. I exchanged emails with a teacher in Columbia who is interested in writing for this blog. I prepared for an upcoming webinar with colleagues in Australia and Singapore twelve hours apart. And I did all of this from the comfort of my home in the middle of the woods in Vermont. Being connected is truly amazing, but for some reason as teachers, we can be reluctant to support our students in these connections.
One reason for my global existence is because of the nature of my work. Being a "global educator," I work in educational contexts all over the world. I'm involved with international organizations like ISTE where my colleagues span timezones. But the other, more pressing reason is that this is just how the world works now. We are not bound by our geographic locations anymore. Just like we have a responsibility to teach our students reading and math, we should be teaching our students how to engage with the world, how to collaborate across cultures, and how to use different technologies in meaningful ways.
There are some great tools out there to help with global connection, but the tools alone are not enough. Ultimately it comes down to us educators to become comfortable with engaging with the world and developing our own skills and global competencies. Because without that, students are left navigating a wide-open digital space susceptible to the rabbit holes of social media and constant content consumption.
It's not one more thing, or it shouldn't be viewed that way. Global education is a shift in how you structure the classroom environment. It's facilitation at its finest because once you lay the groundwork for your students, they will take the lead. But changing your whole learning environment is much bigger than this blog post (I'll get into all of that in later posts). For now, let's start small. What can you do right now to take your global competency pulse?
Challenge: Take an inventory of who you talk to each day, what you read, and the content you view online. It's ok I understand Stranger Things is up on Netflix. We've all been there. I'm not asking you to give that up.
- Am I insulating myself from diverse opinions?
- Are all my friends and colleagues confined to my local area?
- Is the digital content I'm consuming helping me learn?
- Have I ever collaborated with someone online? If so, how did I feel about that experience?
- What am I doing to grow personally? Professionally?
Choose one area where you think you want to improve or explore further. Then do one thing to shake it up. Follow someone on social media who you wouldn't normally follow. Watch a documentary about a new topic, or talk to someone in your community who you have never spoken to before. Set a small goal to expand your network. Then do this tomorrow and every day after that. And share your experiences with your students.
Then, when you're ready, take it to the next level with the following resources:
ISTE Standards for Educators- areas to focus on in your professional development to help your students become global citizens like being a collaborator, designer, and facilitator.
ASCD global competency rubric- for when you are ready to do some serious self-reflection. This resource will help you see where you are and set goals for future improvement.
9 Amazing Benefits of Technology in the Classroom- here's a comprehensive review of resources and reasons to incorporate more tech in your classroom.
Then come back to this blog and share your experiences! Global citizenship is a lifelong process that takes reflective thought and collaboration. So share your stories. What have you tried? What are you thinking of doing? What do you need help with? I would love to learn about your #globalJRNEY to become a globally competent educator!