What does Globally Ready mean?
In this month’s edition of Educational Leadership, author Marc Tucker looks at the impact that globalization, automation, and the improved skills of workers in other countries are having on the United States economy. Tucker’s piece, “Globally Ready or Not?” explains how the world has changed dramatically in the past 50 years. Businesses in the 1970s that did not adapt to the changing global climate went out of business. As one can imagine, the overall impact does not bode well for students that graduate without a “21st Century” skill set. Re-thinking education to produce students that are ready for the challenges of this new global society is a direction that we have felt for some time in Southeast Michigan and one that as a district, we have worked to address over the last 5+ years.
The article does offer some suggestions about what we, The Saline Area Schools, can do to help prepare students to compete in a global economy. Interestingly, the points that Tucker makes are consistent with the Strategic Framework and Learner Profile for Saline Area Schools. Here are a few of the points:
- Integrate academic and technical learning. Tucker notes, “The curriculum that students need must create a constant interplay between academics and application; problems that arise in the course of application give rise to the questions addressed in the academics, and the constructs learned in the academics are explored in application.”
- Focus on continuous, deep learning. Developing students that are lifelong learners and critical thinkers is essential. “Being able to analyze and synthesize will require students to know a lot about the material they’re analyzing and synthesizing.” says Tucker.
- Integrate academic and technical learning. Deep, well structured and authentic project-based learning experiences can help in this area. We need true projects that push our students, not just “activities”.
- Develop ethics. We need to think of ourselves as being responsible for the development of each student in a process owned by the entire staff. Students need to be able to do the right thing when nobody’s watching and experience leadership first-hand.
- Cultural competence. Saline graduates need to be able to work and interact effectively with people of all cultures. Cultural competence involves understanding and appropriately responding to the many nuances that define “culture,” including cultural variables—including ability, intellect, age, ethnicity, experience, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
Students develop and hone these skills over time, meaning that educators, parents, and community members must adopt and value these attributes. Developing the best prepared, academically competent, technologically proficient, and globally astute workers will take a monumental effort from all of us; this generation will fill jobs that do not yet exist. What a fascinating time for all of us! Saline students will lead the way.