For my UNH Global Literacy course, I was asked to read Chapter 1 of Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World. At the end of the chapter, there were the following three questions that I wanted to address based on the readings and my own personal opinions.
I. From your perspective, in what ways are the societal and environmental
transformations here described affecting your students’ lives today? How will they
be affected in the future?
One of the benefits of attending a magnet school in New Haven is that students have the opportunity to be introduced to specific topics and issues that are prevalent in today’s society. My school’s magnet theme is based on technology and communication. Through magnet funds and specialized programs, my students have learned about a variety of societal and environmental issues, which range from global warming, natural disasters, and the influence of technology on different societies. Some of these issues are based in the United States, but students also have the opportunity to look at issues that focus on the countries they came from prior to coming to the United States.
One of the major transformations described in Chapter 1 that affects my students today is global migration. Many of my students were not born in the United States, but rather moved to the U.S. at a very young age. They still have a large contingency of extended family in their home countries. In some cases, their parents or guardians work to provide not only for them, but also for their family back in their home country.
When they speak of their futures they often mention the fact that they will be leaving the United States to return to their home country to work. They want to get their education here and then move back to their home country to live and work. This to me is a key reason why our students need global competency. If they plan on being educated in the United States, but eventually working in their native country, they will need to understand global topics and issues that might impact other countries besides United States.
In addition, our students need to be educated on the major statistic that was mentioned in Chapter 1 about the differences in salaries in between countries. The chapter mentions an engineer in the U.S. having a starting salary around $45,000 a year while one in India having a starting salary of $7,500. Our students may not understand the economical differences that exist and how that plays a role in the careers and education of the citizens of those countries.
II. In your opinion, what are the key reasons for educating for global competence?
Chapter 1 discussed a lot great reason why there is a need for educating for global competence. The flattening global economy and the global migration are primary reasons, but I do think that technology is the key reason there is a more pertinent need than ever to focus on the issue. With today’s technology, individuals are able to gain access to almost anything, anywhere in the world, at anytime. There are no boundaries or distances that can stop our students from being exposed to different cultures and global issues within an instant.
With that being said, we all know that you cannot always believe everything you read online. Although students might have access to information, they may not know or understand what it means. In addition they might not be able to immediately connect the global issues to their current and future lives. Educators must be able to guide students with global competences and provide them with information to help them better understand the issues that impact not just citizens of one country, but every country in the world. By doing so, educators will be giving the students a platform for them to critically think about the issues and begin problem solving to be elements of change in our continuously changing world.
What are the barriers such an education might confront?
An education focused on global competences will be different than the traditional education that we are used to experiencing in the United States. With that being said, traditional educators might have a difficult time letting go of some of the responsibilities that they have as instructors. Students will be asked to investigate and problem solve different global topics and while they are doing so, the educators will be facilitating this process. If an educator is not used to such a role, it might be a learning process for both the student and teacher. Also, some of the topics that students will be looking at are new and progressive topics that do not have definite answers or solutions. There may not be experts in a field that students can rely on for answers, rather they will be working with their peers and instructors to create the answers to global questions and possibly working towards becoming the expert in that field.
III. In your current opinion, what distinguishes a high- from a low-quality education for global competence?
I believe the way a global topic is introduced into a classroom can distinguish a difference between a high- from a low-quality education. A low-quality education would be if a topic is discussed in class only at the level of how it affects a student’s own personal self or community. Although the topic could be related to multiple communities, countries or regions, if an educator does not provide that information to the student he or she may never understand the perspective of other individuals.A high-quality education would be where a global topic is introduced to a student and not only is it related to that student’s personal life or community, but there are examples provided on how other countries and their citizens are affected by the topic. The educator would then ask the student to discuss possible perspectives of other countries’ citizens and problem solve to create solutions for the issues. Technology could be implemented to encourage communication between students from different countries to discuss the same topic and how the perspective of the topic changes based on the country that is problem solving. Collaboration across borders, both states and countries, would allow students to identify the issues and create solutions that could impact multiple individuals, regions and countries.