Opinion
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion

Jaime Casap Explains Why Global Competence Matters: It’s Not Really a Small World

By Jaime Casap — May 18, 2015 4 min read

Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist at Google, Inc. shares why global competence is critical for students. Join him this Thursday, May 21st at 8pm ET/5pm PT for a special #globaledchat on Twitter. (Just search for #globaledchat to join the conversation).

With all due respect to the dancing dolls in Anaheim, it really isn’t a small world. It is a complex, multifaceted, diverse, and complicated world. Most of us hardly understand it yet the growing availability of the Internet and low-cost devices to connect to all the world’s information brings the complexity of this world to your fingertips. In 1995, just 1% of the world was online. Today, more than 40% of the world is. It took just 20 years to get three billion people online. This global achievement calls for all of us to understand what is happening around the world, why it is happening, and how it impacts us more than ever.

Local Companies, Global Competition
From a commerce perspective, gone are most organizations that do not compete on a global scale. In fact, there is a good chance our students will work for a global organization at some point in their careers. Even Paul Bond Boots, a small rural cowboy boot store in Nogales, Arizona, has a global customer base! With companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix, and others, most companies who are U.S.-based operate 24 hours a day on a global scale. In education, we often talk about how it’s critical it is to teach our students the “Four C’s": communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. While I agree these are critical competencies our students should master, what we miss in this discussion is an emphasis on another very important C, global competency.

Even if a graduate never works abroad or in a global organization, we still need to make sure our students are exposed to learning global competency skills. Since its inception, the United States has been comprised of people from all over the world. Whether you just arrived in the U.S. or are fifteenth generation, all of us have one common characteristic: we all have a First Generation story. And it doesn’t look like this trend is slowing. The U.S. continues to become more linguistically and culturally diverse. For example, in the next few years, one in four students in our public school system will be Latino. By the year 2045, the U.S. will be a “minority majority” country, meaning there will be more Americans who identify as minorities as a group than whites.

Organizations who will thrive in this global, diverse economy will understand how not only having a diverse workforce will be a competitive advantage, but having a workforce that understands and appreciates people from other cultures and one that can identify and acknowledge different points of view will stay relevant. Companies who focus on awareness and understanding of cultural issues at home and around the world will continue to expand and remain competitive. Having this awareness and understanding will help organizations to design products and services that appeal to a culturally diverse, global audience.

The Imperative of Global Competency
So what does a globally competent student look like? Globally competent students can see and understand the interconnectivity and interdependence between what we do here in the United States and the rest of the world. This means they will understand how problems facing the rest of the world impact us here at home and vice versa. Students who are globally competent have in-depth knowledge and understanding of international issues, an appreciation of people from culturally diverse backgrounds, and the knowledge, skills, and experiences to call themselves global citizens. Most American students, and especially low-income minority students, are behind their peers in other countries in their knowledge and understanding of world issues, world geography, and cultural understanding and experiences.

We often ask our students, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I do not believe that is the right question. First, all the labor forecasts predict that most jobs of the future haven’t been defined yet. Second, we already have jobs most students wouldn’t recognize, like “Bio-Medical Engineer” or “Sustainable Materials Architect.” Instead of asking our students what they want to be when they grow up, we should ask them what problem they want to solve. We should ask them to think about what knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to solve that problem. We should ask them to think about where they can get the knowledge, skills, and abilities they will need. We should ask them to think about how the problem they want to solve fits into the context of the world.

We need to create a generation of critically-thinking, collaborative problem solvers. Students who know and understand world issues. Students who understand political and socioeconomic systems on a global scale. Students who recognize and appreciate cultural diversity. If we really want to face and solve the problems of this complex, multifaceted, diverse, and complicated world, we need a generation of students who are strong in all the C’s: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and global competency.

“There is just one moon and one golden sun,
And a smile means friendship to everyone,
Though the mountains divide,
And the oceans are wide,
It’s a small world after all...”
- Walt Disney


In addition to his role at Google, Jaime serves on the Board of Directors of New Global Citizens, a global competency non-profit helping teachers integrate global education into the classroom. Jaime is also an adjunct professor at Arizona State University.

You can reach and follow Jaime on Google+ and Twitter. Follow Heather on Twitter.

The opinions expressed in Global Learning are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

School & District Management Live Event Education Week Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness Fewer Students in Class of 2020 Went Straight to College
First-year college enrollment dropped steeply last year, a study finds, and the declines were sharpest among poorer students.
6 min read
Image shows University Application Acceptance Notification Letter with ACCEPTED Stamp
YinYang/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Letter to the Editor Are Students Ready for Post-Pandemic Reality?
Schools must make improving students' essential skills a priority for college and career success, says the CEO and president of CAE.
1 min read
College & Workforce Readiness This Is Not a Good Time to Fall Off the College Track. Students Are Doing It Anyway
Fewer students in the Class of 2021 are applying for college financial aid, continuing a drop that started last year.
6 min read
Applications for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form are on the decline.
Applications for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form are on the decline.
Jon Elswick/AP
College & Workforce Readiness Student Interest in Health-Care Careers Takes Off During Pandemic
The coronavirus crisis is boosting a trend toward health-care and medical pathways. The challenge is getting students hands-on training.
7 min read
Nurse giving man injection
Getty