Preparing Kentucky’s Globally Engaged Students
Education has always been about preparing our students for the future. Schools are familiar with 21st Century skills, which are embedded into all new Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS). Global competence takes the 21st Century skills and infuses global awareness into everyday classroom practices by expanding student’s learning of cultural, historical, political and economic understandings about how our current, and their future, world work. Creating a relevant, immediate and engaging learning environment conducive to deepening exploration and knowledge of the ways that culture, including World Language, influences identities and worldviews is a first step toward global competency.
Definition of Global Competency (see graphic)
Although global competency is defined in various ways, the sweeping changes of globalization—new information and technologies, increasing economic integration, and the emergence of global environmental, economic, social and political challenges—demand an urgent and thoughtful re-examination of what is learned in the classroom for both economic and civic reasons. In 2012, the following definition of a globally competent student was adopted by the U.S. Department of Education:
• Investigate the World, that is, to be aware of and interested in the world and its workings. This ability involves formulating and exploring globally significant questions and creating a coherent response that considers multiple perspectives and draws useful and defensible conclusions.
• Weigh Perspectives. Students recognize that they have a particular perspective and that others may or may not share it. They can then articulate and explain the perspectives of other people and can compare their perspective with others and construct a new point of view.
• Global competence entails effective communication—both verbal and non-verbal—with diverse audiences. Globally competent students are proficient in English and at least one other language. They are also skilled users of media and technology.
• Take Action. Globally competent students are able to weigh options based on evidence and insight, assess potential for impact, consider possible consequences, and act and reflect on those actions. Underlying all of this is disciplinary and interdisciplinary study—or to put it simply, content knowledge. Global competence is not an add-on class but a necessary piece of every curriculum area.1
Resolution Supporting Global Readiness for Kentucky Students
The Kentucky Board of Education, at its June 2014 meeting, reiterated a commitment to this global focus. The board unanimously passed a resolution at the August 2014 meeting supporting goals for all K-12 Kentucky students to be work and world ready. These goals are outlined in detail in Kentucky's Global Education Position Statement. Continued support for global competency has occurred in the form of “Learn and Launch” grants and four statewide Global Symposia. Debuting in 2016, the global competency page of Kentucky Teacher, highlights current practice, announcements and resources each month.
Program Review Changes
Global competency has been included in the World Language and Global Competency Program Review since 2014-2015. All Kentucky k-12 students are expected to have access to quality WL/GC programs and the opportunity for support in the development of world language and the demonstration of skills for global competence. High schools set a baseline for WL/GC in the 14-15 school year and moved into accountability in the 15-16 school year. The expected timeline for elementary and middle schools is to set a baseline in 16-17 and move into accountability in 17-18. By putting global competency in the forefront, Kentucky is making clear the need for an integrated approach across all content areas for ALL students to meet the challenges of the 21st century and our “flattened” world.