I love professional development. I love learning new things about education – it keeps me fresh, but more importantly, it keeps me excited about the career I’ve chosen. Today I was able to attend the Advancing Global Learning Programs in Indiana Schools Workshop. To be quite honest, I registered to go because it sounded like an interesting topic and it was free (always a good thing). I had no idea what to expect.
The event was coordinated by Caterina Blitzer, Global Learning World Languages Specialist for the IDOE. She brought in professionals in the fields of education, agriculture, immigrant learners, international business, immigrant workers, and commerce. It was a fast-paced, fully-engaging time where the audience got to hear about what global skills and competencies employers are seeking from our graduates. What are we doing, as educators, to provide experiences of cultural awareness and diversity to our students? Does it go beyond a foreign language class? The Big 3 we must be doing is teaching Acceptance, Respect, and Appreciation for other cultures. How can we do this?
Our students need:
- increased international interactions
- cultural exposure
- learning a second or third language
- open-minded behavior
- academic excellence
- confidence and boldness to step outside of what is comfortable
I had a great time learning trade statistics about Indiana that I never knew (like the title of this post regarding Warsaw, IN). Students would be interested in knowing what makes their states important in the international market and I guarantee there will be some surprises. Lessons, materials, guest speakers, bits of information making cross-cultural experiences the norm for our students can be woven throughout any grade level or subject area. This is not the responsibility of our social studies and foreign language teachers (just like teaching reading skills isn’t reserved for English classes). We are in the job of preparing our students to be successful global citizens post-high school. And it takes everyone.
“The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.” ~Anon.