US Educators Affirm Global Education Critical to Student Success
In a rare moment, far from classrooms and school buildings, 112 teachers and administrators from 32 states came together to discuss what it means for students in the United States to be globally competent. The conclusion: global education spans disciplines, demonstrates 21st century student competence, and is a necessary aspect of U.S. core curricula. “I used to think about global education in a passive way,” an administrator noted following the Symposium, “but now I realize that we need to actively engage our students in international thought.”
The teachers and administrators came together last weekend in Washington, D.C. at the inaugural Teachers for Global Classrooms Program (TGC) Global Education Symposium. During concurrent sessions both teachers and administrators examined the invaluable role of global education in linking improved student outcomes and a more holistic worldview for U.S. students.
“Today there is so much emphasis on test scores,” said Jodi Ide, a high school teacher of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, “but we’re doing an injustice if we do not teach students how to be globally competent.”
At the Symposium, participants gained insight into the need for global education initiatives, discussed methodologies for analyzing student work in global education, and garnered inspiration from one another as they continue globalizing teaching and learning in their schools.
Since the start of the TGC program, participating teachers have collectively adapted over 300 middle and high-school lessons to incorporate global competencies, such as investigating world issues, effective cross-cultural communication, the recognition of global perspectives, and taking action to enhance learning outcomes into class disciplines spanning social studies, math, science, and English language learners.
Lisa Collins, a high school English teacher from Rayville, Louisiana, described the effect of an adapted unit on modern-day global slavery as “an eye-opener for the students and for me.” Through TGC, Collins modified a history unit on U.S. slavery to include an interactive class research project on present-day human trafficking. Following the project, one student told Collins that “my mother always told me education is important; but I realized from this that if people are denied education they can be enslaved at any time.”
The Symposium offered a space for teachers and administrators to continue challenging their notions of what education standards should look like. “In a democracy you have to have education for all, and global education is an important aspect of that,” said Ide’s principal, Charisse Hilton, “but it goes beyond being a good citizen; it’s about being a global citizen.”
Following the Symposium, TGC Fellows will continue developing global tools for their classrooms in six countries around the world, including Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Morocco, and Ukraine.
The Teachers for Global Classrooms Program (TGC) is funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and implemented by IREX.