Reading: Education for Global Competence:Preparing our Youth to Engage the World
by Veronica Boix Mansilla & Anthony Jackson
In chapter 6 of Educating for Global Competence: Preparing our Youth to Engage the World, we learn how globally competent students act on their learning. It is not enough to learn about the world, globally competent students put their learning into action. As stated in the chapter, globally competent students:
- Identify and create opportunities for personal or collaborative action to address situation, events, issues, or phenomena in ways that improve conditions.
- Assess options and plan actions based on evidence and the potential for impact, taking into account previous approaches, varied perspectives, and potential consequences.
- Act, personally or collaboratively, in creative and ethical ways to contribute to improvement locally, regionally, or globally and assess the impact of the actions taken.
- Reflect on their capacity to advocate for and contribute to improvement locally, regionally, or globally.
The chapter presents three examples of globally competent students. Each example begins with a real authentic problem that motivates the students to learn and to take action. Students develop a sense of being able to make a difference, and being able to make a contribution to address the issue. In each example, students identify opportunities to contribute, research issues and solutions, collaborate with others, take action, and reflect on their actions.
The following is a synopsis of each example.
Florence, an 11 year old from Amnesty International/Drayton Park Primary School in London England, had a desire to improve the conditions of children living in detention centers in the U.K. After learning of a competition about human rights sponsored by Amnesty International and The Guardian newspaper, she conducted research and wrote an essay, “Is This Nazi Germany?” Her essay won the primary category of Amnesty International’s Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year 2010. The recognition she received from her essay led her to look for other ways to help refugee children. She joined a young campaigners’ group of Amnesty International to raise awareness of the harmful effects detention centers have on children. Florence reflects on her actions and hopes to contribute to the actions of others. She acknowledges her family and teachers who encouraged her to take action.
Sofia, is a 9th grader from International Baccalaureate: St. George School in Bueno Aires, Argentina. Sofia’s music teacher claimed that globalization is leading to the loss of traditional pre-Columbian rhythms, cultures, and artifacts by the youth of the Andes region. The music teacher then asked her class how these traditions could be preserved. In order to address the issue, the class commenced on an in depth study of the Andean culture. After reviewing how to best address the problem, the class decided to create a project in which they would build a series of sikus (traditional Andean flutes) out of recycled materials. They would share their instruments with children whose families were descendants of Andean populations. The sikus were built and decorated with traditional Andean art motifs. The students then distributed the sikus’ to migrant children of a very poor neighborhood and taught them how to play them. Sofia’s report on the project articulates her advocacy for acceptance of all members of her community. In her report, she describes the classes’ actions as a move away from discrimination and intolerance towards tolerance, respect, and acceptance of all members of their community.
The final example is of Susanna Pierce, a teacher of the 12th grade macroeconomic class at the International Studies Schools Network International School of the Americas. She challenged her students to assume the role of a Non-governmental organization seeking a subsidy from the United Nations of funds donated by the World Bank to the United Nations for their Millenium Development Goals. The subsidy would pay for the implementation of a project that would stimulate economic growth in a developing country. Five students collaborated to produce a plan aimed at seeking a solution to the water pollution of Thailand. Students conducted research and decided to develop a plan to distribute potable water to 7,000 people and to educate citizens about clean water and how to access it. On a trip to Washington DC, these students had the opportunity to share their plan with a representative of World Bank. Students were able to discuss and answers questions about their plan. The World Bank representative was highly impressed with the students. The students commented that their ability to present their plan was the best part of their entire visit to Washington. They felt they had made a contribution to an urgent problem.
In all of these examples the students gained knowledge, and showed motivation, enthusiasm, and a feeling of making a meaningful contribution. Their work is exemplary of globally competent students.