Chapter 7 - “Teaching for Global Competence”
This chapter addresses what teaching for global competence looks like as well as how teachers can design instruction to foster global competence among their students. It also details the pertinent questions teachers should keep in mind while designing such instruction.
Those questions include:
1. What topics matter most to teachers ?
2. What exactly will students take away from the unit project, visit, or course ?
3. What will students to learn ?
4. How will we know that the students are making progress.
These four, coined the "Pandora questions", by David Perkins might appear simple on the surface yet they have proven to lead to very intricate and “fascinating” reflections for teachers. These questions do not dictate “how” or “what” teachers are to teach, but give a framework for teachers to use when constructing a unit focused on global competence. The chapter outlines 4 instructional design principles that teachers need take into consideration when designing a global competence unit. Those four principles are:
Identifying engaging topics of local global significance.
Focus on global competence outcomes.
Design performances of global competence.
Employ ongoing global competence-centered assessment.
Each of these principles are discussed in detail along with support and examples from a ninth grade Earth Science Unit. The “Pandora questions” offer a framework for teachers to consider when teaching global competence and can be seen in a more concise format in the diagram below
For the sake of summarizing the chapter, I will discuss each of these principles, but have you refer to Chapter 7 (pages 63 - 90) in Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World by Veronica Boix and Anthony Jackson for examples from the ninth grade science unit.
When teachers begin to design a unit for global competency they need to first take into consideration, “ What topics are important to teach?”. There is not a simple answer to this question. Yet for topics to be globally significant they need to demonstrate the following qualities: deep engagement, clear local global connections, visible global significance, and strong disciplinary and interdisciplinary grounding. They also need to be relevant and interesting to the students and to the teacher designing the unit.
Next, “What exactly will students take away from the unit project visit or course?” In answering this question, there needs to be clear, effective, and manageable learning goals in order for students to gain the knowledge and skills needed to understand content with deep understanding. The skills and knowledge should come from more than one discipline. For example, if students are to become familiar with the employment of new digital media to teach their peers in Kenya and India how to build an organic garden, this would entail skills knowledge learned in both biology and communicating ideas from language arts. What is also important is for the goals to be shared with the students in a way that is clearly understood.
Third, “What will students do with this information? “ The learning experiences of the unit should be designed to lead students to think and apply concepts, methods, and tools from the various disciplines in order to make sense of global significance. When students can build upon and demonstrate the capacity to develop,understand, and act on matters of global significance it is called performances of global competence. These performances can take place at the beginning middle or end of the unit and can range from conducting experiments, creating arguments, producing a critique, or creating a work of art. Within the performances students are able to apply what they've learned in the classroom through the concepts and ideas learned. Performances also need to enable students to connect local experiences to the world. At times students may feel emotions such as: excitement, joy, compassion, fear, sadness, and anger when studying these global issues. These emotions usually lead to a feeling of conviction and want and eagerness to take action.Students, through these performances, are able to work through their emotions by either taking a position, creating a project, or solving a problem together.
Lastly, “How will the teacher know whether students are making progress?” Teachers should include a number of goals when assessing students work that is focused on global competence. These goals include but are not be limited to: a student’s work habit, their commitment to monitoring depth, an understanding of the topic, how they recognize perspective, communicate ideas, and take action. Assessment during these units should also be ongoing and offer feedback to the students. Feedback and assessment should come from the teacher, but also include should also come from the student’s self-assessment, assessments/feedback from peers & teachers, from related discipline, and possibly members of the community or field experts. Having a varied audience can be very powerful and empowering for the students.
In conclusion of Chapter 7 it is pointed out that teachers do not need to plan a full unit tied to global competence. They can,in fact, start very simple. Perhaps designing a few lessons within the unit that complement global competence, or have a debate, create & carry out an opinion poll, or write a paper from a certain person's perspective. It is suggested that while designing the instruction is not a linear process but one that is spirals and involves: brainstorming, designing, getting feedback, redesigning, testing ideas, reflecting, and redesigning again.
For those of you interested in the step by step process of designing a unit focused on global competency - Chapter 7 includes: a checklist for teaching global competence and examples of global competence through investigating the world, recognizing perspectives,communicating ideas, and taking action.
Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World, Veronica Boix and Anthony Jackson, 2011.