In what ways is your classroom a global classroom?
William and Ochan Kasuma Powell ask a thought-provoking question of educators. In what ways is your school system world-class? I am writing while in route from Thailand to Qatar to Dubai-- this is giving me a significant amount of time for reflection as I jump from one country and culture to another.
Google "world class education" and you will be bombarded with numerous links and resources. One of the most powerful titles I read was from Dr. Anthony Jackson of The Asia Society called "Putting the "World" into World-Class Education." But what does world-class education mean?
In my view, a world-class education is putting the world into the hands, minds, and hearts of students, teachers, administrators, and into the curriculum and professional learning. World-class is coming to know and understand about education from the perspective of our global colleagues.
To be considered world-class one needs to seek ways to actively bring the world into the classroom. Diverse literature, a variety of historical perspectives, and global math strategies are a great start. The media at times tends to focus on comparing education systems internationally via assessments and creating a global hierarchy of whose country is best and whose is worst. Rarely do the media address: "What can we learn from each other to best educate all students?"
In my travels, I have come across organizations and people who serve as architects striving towards implementing this vision of a world-class education for students. They are putting the world into the hands, minds, and hearts of all involved in education.
Examples of Global Competence
What happens when you have 2 million students from 236 countries computing math equations online? World Math Day happens! This free event is held during March of each year. Students play at home and at school against other students around the world in live games of mental arithmetic. Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play up to 100 games, earning points for their personal tally. This year students from a host of schools in Washington, D.C. participated in this friendly global competition. One educator I collaborated with stated:
Students were extremely excited to be competing against students from all over the world. For each new country that they competed against, they would shout out, "Mr. Fernandez, I am going against someone from (insert country)!" Then they would brag about how they beat them! It definitely boosted their confidence in addition to exposing them to new places around the globe. Whenever there was a country they had never heard of, it immediately created an opportunity for new learning.
In a world where texting has become the norm, how do you get teenagers to write? One World Education in Washington, D.C., has discovered how to engage youth in writing by giving them the freedom to choose global topics that become central to curriculum developed by educators. Topics have covered many international issues including: Somalia, autism, Bhutan, and organic trafficking.
One World Education, started in 2007 by passionate educators, Eric Goldstein and Emily Chiarello, seeks to promote literacy and empower and engage students in writing about cultural and global issues, which then can be used as tools for other students. As one of the One World Education Ambassador's said, "The best way to learn is through your peers."
Last year in 2010 two visionaries, Steve Hargadon and Lucy Gray, held the first free Global Education Conference online. There were over 400 sessions, over 60 keynote speakers, and over 15,000 participants who logged in. Educators and students had an opportunity to collaborate electronically, share global perspectives, questions, and take action. Feedback from the participants included:
"Agradezco la oportunidad brindada. Ser parte de este grupo de colaboradores en la relación pedagógica instalada a través de Elluminate se constituye en una experiencia maravillosa donde el territorio no se desdibuja, sino muy por el contrario Empieza a construirse Otro/Nuevo Aula Colaborativa para hacer de los saberes una fuente inagotable de conocimiento que emana de lo colectivo mediado por TIC. Un fuerte abrazo a todos ustedes que han organizado y puesto a nuestra disposición para hacer saber."
"I just wanted to say thanks for the incredible week of professional development I experienced as a result of the Global Education Conference. I have teachers already implementing some of the ideas they discovered as a result of the conference."
World Math Day, One World Education, and the Global Education Conference are three example programs devoted to the idea of world-class education. They are promoting the collaboration and putting the world into the hands, hearts, and minds of students and educators.
For more on each of the world-class education organizations mentioned please visit:
World Math Day http://www.worldmathsday.com/
One World Education http://www.oneworldeducation.org/
Global Education Conference http://globaledcon.weebly.com/