A recent collaborative project aimed to define what a globally competent teacher looks like and then integrate those characteristics into teaching standards. Jennifer Manise, Executive Director, Longview Foundation and Betty Soppelsa, Senior Advisor, Programs for NAFSA: Association of International Education share the results of this work.
By guest bloggers Betty Soppelsa and Jennifer Manise
We already expect a great deal of new teachers. And now given the increasing interconnectedness of our world, new teachers are being called upon to meet and support the growth of globally-minded students—but are they ready to do so?
Teacher training institutions and the teaching profession have been the focus of many recent conversations in education circles, including numerous discussions around licensure and credentialing. This led us to engage directly with educators and their teachers about what global competence means for them and whether the process for credentialing new teachers is reflective of the realities of today's classrooms.
What Does Global Competence Look Like in a Teacher?
We began by gathering exemplary examples of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that spell out global competence in educators:
- Understanding one's own cultural identity and its influence on personal dispositions and classroom practice
- Knowing and integrating global dimensions within the disciplines one teaches
- Engaging students in learning about the world and in exploring their place in it
- Using real-life global examples, materials, and resources when considering local, national, and human issues
- Valuing the input of culturally and linguistically diverse learners, families, and colleagues, and modeling cultural sensitivity
- Creating environments that encourage positive cross-cultural interaction
- Modeling social responsibility in local and global contexts
- Helping learners find appropriate actions to improve local and global conditions
- Assessing learners' global competence and providing growth opportunities based on their levels of development
- Advocating for global education and social responsibility
Definition of Global Competence for Teachers
Together, these and related elements led to the development of this definition of global competence for teachers by NAFSA:
"Global competence in teachers is a set of essential knowledge, critical dispositions, and performances that help foster development of learners' global competence. A globally competent teacher has knowledge of the world, critical global issues, their local impact, and the cultural backgrounds of learners; manifests intercultural sensitivity and acceptance of difference; incorporates this knowledge and sensitivity into classroom practice; and, develops the skills to foster these dispositions, knowledge, and performances in learners. The teacher models socially responsible action and creates opportunities for learners to engage in socially responsible action." © NAFSA: Association of International Educators, 2015.
Global Standards and Practices
We wanted to start by defining global competence for educators. The second phase was to embed it into the working definition of new teacher standards and practice. In cooperation with the Council of Chief State School Officers New Teachers Standards project, we anchored these ideas in the 2011 CCSSO InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards: A Resource for State Dialogue.
To do so, we identified the places where global competence intersects with and enriches overall teaching competence. The result is InTASC as a Framework: Viewing the InTASC Standards through a Global Preparation Lens.
Lend Your Voice
Global competence for teachers is no longer for just an elite few, but rather is an essential element of preparation for all teachers. It is time to partner more deeply with colleges of education and alternative training routes to emphasize this reality as they prepare tomorrow's teachers.
We are eager to gather examples of how teacher educators and teachers are implementing global perspectives in their work, how they define global competence, and how they anticipate using the "Global Preparation Lens." We invite you to provide your feedback.
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Photo credit: iStock
Every teacher devotes his or her life to education for reasons as individual to them as any other part of their identity. Still, it usually isn’t the money, and it isn’t the three-month summer vacation. Reasons for becoming a teacher are deeper than that, and while they are personal, they are almost all united by the desire to impact peoples’ lives. There is a demand for great teachers in this country, and a person is called to become a teacher in response to that need. So, what’s calling you? Why do you want to teach?
To Improve the Quality of Education
The demand for great teachers is a tangible pressing need. While our country has come a long way in education reform, we still have a long way to go. There are schools across America that are still in high need because of budgetary concerns and low teacher retention, and students still continue to drop out at alarming rates. One reason to become a teacher is to impact the education system. If you recognize the need to improve the quality of education in this country, then you may become a teacher to affect change. There is a lot of work to be done, but it is the collective effort of thousands of dedicated teachers that will make the most difference.
School administrators and government officials have an impact at the legislative level, but it is teachers who have a direct effect on students in the classroom --- that is, after all, where learning takes place. You won’t be able to improve the quality of education for every student in America, but you will be able to for your students. Helping just one student is worth it, but over a long and productive career, you have the chance to help thousands of students.
Essentially, becoming a teacher lets you take part in shaping the next generation.
To Give Back to Your Community
One of the reasons for becoming a teacher is to contribute to your community in a meaningful way. Teaching is one of the most direct ways to make an impact, and if you are driven by the desire to help those around you, being a teacher is an invaluable contribution.
Perhaps you grew up in a high-needs area and are personally connected to the struggle of students who come from low-income families and go to schools with little funding; this sort of perspective allows you to recognize how much of a difference a devoted teacher can make. Maybe an amazing teacher changed your life when you were younger, and you want to share that with a new generation of students. Many people cite a favorite teacher as a source of inspiration in their decision to pursue a career in education.
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To Change the Lives of Students
Teachers do more than teach, and their impact extends far beyond the classroom. As a teacher, you are more than just an educator: you are a mentor, a confidant and a friend. One of the most common reasons to become a teacher is to make a difference in the lives of as many students as you can. Taylor Mali, a renowned poet, education advocate and former teacher, describes this impact in his spoken word poem, “What Teachers Make.” He says, “I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could, I make a C+ feel like a congressional medal of honor, I make an A- feel like a slap in the face ... I make parents see their children for who they are and what they can be ... I make a difference.”
Teachers have the potential to interact with students at all stages of development and from all walks of life. A great teacher wants to help students along this path and to play a part in shaping the person they will ultimately become. If you want to help a child struggling with low self-esteem and problems at home, then become a teacher to encourage them and help them realize their potential. Becoming a teacher lets you impart life lessons that they will never forget and puts you in a position to influence their decisions, behaviors, strengths, weaknesses and imaginations. Essentially, becoming a teacher lets you take part in shaping the next generation.