Preparing students to engage responsibly and intelligently in our interdependent world is a primary goal of the New Essential Standards in the NC Common Core Curriculum. Curricular changes in our education system are alarming to some teachers who have been teaching a particular subject or area of expertise for many years.
I am personally excited about these changes. The skills required for effective global citizenship are universal and cross-curricular. Being effective in a global workforce requires critical thinking skills, cross-cultural teamwork, problem solving and decision making, creativity and ingenuity, self awareness, and values clarification. These are skills that transcend career paths and prepare us to be practitioners of a particular field of study anywhere in the world. These are also critical skills for leadership, management and entrepreneurship.
Next week I facilitate my “Globalize your Classroom” workshop for 45 high school social studies teachers. In the social studies context, 21st century skills are most applicable to understanding cultural and historical implications at local, regional, and continental levels. Teachers and students explore the world together, learning with and from a variety of people scattered across the globe. The paradigm shift from content memorization to collaborative and analytical problem solving is key to effective engagement in contemporary world issues.
I wish I had learned this stuff in school! Actually, my college major (environmental and visual design) provided the creative and analytical thinking skills that have carried me through a variety of career endeavors. But the cross-cultural skills I developed by working internationally for many years are the ones that prepare me for any twist and turn in the road.
Experiential learning is the key to today’s education! As educators, we should provide as many opportunities as possible for students to experience the world (from a variety of perspectives) as possible. Utilizing primary sources and making connection with people from different countries is vital to giving our students a broad platform from which to make higher education and career path decisions.
Enough talking. Join me in a collaborative effort to Prepare 21st Century Global Citizens! Share your ideas, projects and programs. Let’s learn together. That’s what collaborative problem solving is all about.