Integrating Global Competencies into CTE Programs

One promising way in which students can learn about and apply global competencies is through Career and Technical Education (CTE). With an anchor in preparing students for the careers of their choice and a focus on the critical academic, technical, and employability skills needed for success, CTE offers a natural platform on which to build global competencies.

A new paper by the Association for Career and Technical Education, Asia Society, Longview Foundation, and National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium entitled, Preparing a Globally Competent Workforce through High-Quality Career and Technical Education, offers insight into how educators can embed global competency into their CTE classrooms and how this effort can be incentivized by defining the need for global competency.

Last year, 31,816 California high school students earned the biliteracy gold seal, which were placed on their diplomas, for achieving proficiency in multiple languages. Multiple languages will help students to live, work, and thrive in a multicultural, multilingual, and highly connected world.  Beyond language, other skills that are commonly taught in CTE programs can prepare students for work and civic roles in an environment where success increasingly requires the ability to compete, connect, and cooperate on an international scale.

Global competence is: “the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance.” The four pillars of global competence include:

  1. Investigate the World. Global competence starts by being interested in learning about the world and how it works. Students ask and explore questions that are globally significant. They can respond to these questions by identifying, collecting, and analyzing credible information from a variety of local, national, and international sources, including those in multiple languages. They can connect the local to the global.
  2. Weigh Perspectives. Globally competent students recognize that they have a particular perspective, and that others may or may not share it. When needed, they can compare and contrast their perspective with others, and integrate various viewpoints to construct a new one.
  3. Communicate Ideas. Globally competent students understand that audiences differ on the basis of culture, geography, faith, ideology, wealth, and other factors. They can effectively communicate, verbally and nonverbally, with wide‐ranging audiences and collaborate on diverse teams. Because it is increasingly the world’s common language for commerce and communication, globally competent students are proficient in English as well as in at least one other world language. They are technology and media literate within a global communications environment.
  4. Take Action. Globally competent students see themselves as capable of making a difference. Alone or with others, ethically and creatively, globally competent students can envision and weigh options for action based on evidence and insight; they can assess their potential impact, taking into account varied perspectives and potential consequences for others; and they show courage to act and reflect on their actions.

Ways to integrate CTE and global competency include:

  • Embedding global competencies into lesson plans, assignments, or capstone projects.
  • Connecting to the diverse populations in local communities.
  • Building a partnership with a school or classroom abroad to engage in substantive, technology-based collaborative projects.
  • Establishing partnerships with international companies to facilitate speakers and presentations by students to real business audiences.
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