Guest post: Teaching for global competence in Northeast Florida

12/27/2015

I’m excited to introduce guest blogger, Uli Decker, the Director of Education & Community Outreach of the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville. Uli shares her organization’s motivation behind the development of the new Sandra L. Cook Global Teacher Enrichment Program, a teacher enrichment program enabling middle and high school teachers to travel, interact and connect on a global scale. - Megan Hubbuch


The Florida Board of Education’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2018 outlines the following vision:

“Florida will have an efficient world-class education system that engages and prepares students to be globally competitive for college and careers.”

Teaching for global competence is a balancing act of mastering core academic skills and content on the one side and broader global awareness on the other. It requires relevant classes and authentic learning experiences that will encourage reflection on context and self, foster adaptability and comfort with ambiguity, and cultivate an attitude of curiosity and openness.

Another key component is instilling the tactical skills that enable students to link the local and the global in ways that are meaningful and useful in their current and future lives. A toolkit of strategies is needed that enables students to synthesize information from a variety of sources, to communicate effectively, and to take appropriate actions — individually and collaboratively.

Teachers know students need strong academic foundations, cultural and global competencies, as well as collaborative, communicative, and problem solving abilities to effectively engage in our democracy and compete in our global economy. Likewise, students look to their teachers for knowledge about a world that may not yet be a part of their own experience.

It’s been said that when you train one teacher, hundreds of students are educated.

Teachers are the great multipliers. Therefore, the vision of creating a world-class education system and ensuring competitiveness in a global economy must include the systematic preparation and support of teachers to implement and expand such an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to teaching and learning. Here lies the inspiration behind the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville’s (“the Council”) development of the new Sandra L. Cook Global Teacher Enrichment Program, a teacher enrichment program that will include an overseas travel component in addition to a local workshop pre-departure and local implementation post-experience phase. 

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Extending Educational Resources

The Council began its teacher outreach in 2005. In evaluating its previous program offerings and critical teacher feedback, the Council recognized the need for a Northeast Florida-tailored program that will enable area middle and high school teachers annually to travel, interact, and connect on a local and global scale.

Four critical elements have been identified and will be included in the new program:

  • High impact, measurable international experience: Offer a mix of relevant in-country visits, including cultural sights, conversations with educators and government officials, and appointments with businesses leaders
  • Content provided in a variety of ways: Teacher experiences, augmented with technology, media, and community engagement, will bring a new level of excitement, relevance, and lasting impact to the classroom
  • Tailored global lesson plans: Teachers will create classroom content and projects with relevance to current global issues and the Northeast Florida business and trade community
  • Cross-nationally connect participants: Teachers and students will use collaborative and interactive work technologies and media during the program

With the addition of the Sandra L. Cook Global Teacher Enrichment Program, the Council will continue to connect various community stakeholders— students, educators, schools, colleges/ universities and Council supporters, and contribute to the Florida Board of Education’s vision to advance teaching for global competence across Northeast Florida.  The program expects to launch in 2017.

An invitation to ponder

In what ways is your school already developing a culture of global competence?

Are changes in district or state education policy needed to advance global competence for all students?

In your opinion, which countries with economic, cultural, and/or historical ties to Northeast Florida should be included in the Council’s Sandra L. Cook Global Teacher Enrichment Program?

Please feel free to reach out to Uli Decker at uli@worldaffairscounciljax.org with your thoughts as well as any questions!

 

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