07 Aug Common Core Can Develop Our Students’ Global Competency
In my classroom, a poster with a map of North America states “we are not alone.” Every day, I remind my students that they are, in fact, “not alone in the world,” meaning they are a part of a global community. I frequently encourage my students to think beyond the confines of our small state of Delaware. Undeniably, a high priority of any state, including Delaware, should be to create a better-informed, more engaged, and internationally competent student population. As a social studies teacher, I firmly believe all students must develop an awareness and knowledge of the world regions and global issues, languages, cross-curricular skills, and values of citizenship and collaboration that are so important to living and working in an increasingly interdependent world.
The Common Core State Standards play a tremendous role in developing our students’ global competencies. These standards give teachers the flexibility to design a custom curriculum that is engaging, challenging, and most importantly, global in nature. For example, teachers are encouraged to utilize primary and secondary source documents from non-Western sources in the classroom.
As a former sixth grade teacher, I first recognized the immense value of global competency after a parent shared a story about her son named Kevin.* She mentioned that Kevin had been instructed to call a help line to fix his broken computer. Instead of fixing his computer, something else happened. Once Kevin learned that the person on the other line was calling from India, he immediately began to share everything he knew about this developing country, including an in-depth discussion about the Indus Valley Civilization and Gandhi. An hour later, Kevin’s mom checked on him, only to learn that he had made no progress toward fixing the computer. But something more powerful had happened: Kevin had made a connection with a man thousands of miles away, made possible by the content learned in his global studies class.
We live in a diverse global society and our curriculum should reflect that in the classroom, so that more “Kevin” moments happen. History teachers should maximize opportunities to teach about non-Western cultures and civilizations. STEM teachers should work hard to create the next generation of social entrepreneurs capable of solving the most pressing world issues like food security, global warming, and poverty. Foreign Language teachers should complement language instruction with cultural awareness. We must challenge any student’s negative perception of the world as often as possible.
Despite increasing global interconnectivity and rapid change, American students seem less informed and less knowledgeable about the rest of the world than ever before. By supporting the Common Core State Standards, we will not only ensure our students gain exposure to a rigorous curriculum, but also gain a much needed global competency that will make them competitive hires in the global job market.
*Student’s name has been changed