Online Tool Launched to Help Educators Recognize Global Competence in Teaching

Aug 11, 2014

by Caitlin Haugen

In order to help teachers and teacher educators better understand what globally competent teaching looks like in practice, a research team from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill launched an interactive online tool last month.  The Globally Competent Teaching Continuum (GCTC) is a free, intended as a self-reflection tool , and includes descriptions, lesson plans, and videos that illustrate the 12 elements of globally competent educators – including dispositions, knowledge, and skills.

The continuum, funded by a grant from the Longview Foundation and developed in partnership with LEARN NC and World View, took over 18 months to develop and test – and included input from nearly 100 educators and global competence experts.  When asked why the group embarked on such an ambitious project, research team member Hillary Parkhouse noted, “As a teacher educator, I…know that practicing teachers often hear how important global competence is, but are rarely told what this means exactly. As a result, I wanted to research how this term has been defined in education research and create a user-friendly tool that translates this theoretical understanding into practice.”

The GCTC is intended for educators at all levels, including faculty in teacher preparation. “Teacher educators,” states Parkhouse, “can use the GCTC to reflect on their own global competence and identify resources to enhance their own dispositions, knowledge, and skills. They can also use the tool to plan teacher preparation programs, courses, and activities to develop globally competent teachers. Within courses, teacher educators could have future or in-service teachers identify their current levels for each of the 12 elements and then plan or undertake actions to advance on each level.”

The researchers developed the tool to fill a gap between educational policy and practice.  According to Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, one of the continuum’s co-developers and aspiring professor of education policy, “As the need for preparing our students to become globally competent becomes all the more pressing and prevalent in policies in teacher preparation programs, school districts, and states – our hope is that the GCTC will be a tool to help teachers learn what is means to be globally competent and develop global competencies in themselves so they can effectively implement instructional policies geared towards preparing globally competent students,” 

The tool includes two companion online professional development courses to support teachers interested in developing the skills identified in the GCTC.  The team, according to Tichnor-Wagner, plans to add more support materials, to streamline global education resources available to educators, and pilot the use of the tool in colleges of education and K-12 schools.