Three keys to scaling global education in your district or state
You have heard it before, and it bears repeating, it’s time for global education for all students — not the select few. With the resources at our fingertips and the ever-changing technology in the 21st century we are more equipped and ready than ever to spread global education to every school in the country. Yes, it’s a lofty goal. But, that’s what the next generation needs, and frankly, deserves. Is it easier said than done? Yes. Is it possible? Absolutely.
Global education is not a program or a subject — it is a context. It is the lens through which all teaching and learning should occur.
All states, districts and schools have varying demographics and challenges, that’s why we need practical and affordable options that will empower our schools and teachers to go global regardless of their resources. Participate has been fortunate enough to partner with rural and suburban counties in states like North Carolina and Kentucky, to large, urban locations, including a prominent Texas district, and although drastically different in size and make-up, these districts offer similar stories about advancing global education in the United States.
By focusing on content integration, teachers and technology and cost, they moved from expensive, site-based models to lean, inexpensive, practical solutions that could be scaled across their districts.
Below are three keys to help scale global education across your state or district:
- Integrate. Global education is not a program or a subject — it is a context. It is the lens through which all teaching and learning should occur. All teachers in all subjects at all levels can integrate global content and teach with a global focus, not only social studies and foreign language teachers. For example, schools in Edgecombe County, North Carolina integrate global themes into project-based inquiry approaches across all subjects, including Spanish dual language immersion, and provide professional development and curricular support for all their teachers. The state of North Carolina even established a global credential for teachers training to integrate global content into their instructional practices.
- Focus on teachers as force multipliers. Teachers are the lifeblood of global education as they are the ones integrating global content and molding the minds of future generations. Each teacher will teach between 25–150 kids every school year, so before we can support and globally educate every student, we need to properly support and globally educate every teacher. Overall, teachers need three things to do that affordably and effectively: tools, training and time. In Kentucky, Participate schools put this into practice by using an online platform for global professional learning and development that connects teachers to the world around them.
- Scale with technology and control costs. Technology and online resources have allowed global education to become more affordable and to operate at scale. To provide teachers with tools, training and time, digital curricular resources can be designed and delivered quickly, and are easily kept current. It is now possible to support thousands of teachers across vast distances at low cost with high effectiveness. Digital badging allows school and district administrators to track and recognize achievements of teachers implementing this work to ensure all students benefit. In the Houston Independent School District, teachers receive inquiry-based professional development customized to dual language instruction through an online instructional system to ensure program quality.
For an in depth look at what global education looks like inside a school, check out: Zero to Global: Four Great Things All Global Schools Do.