In a 2012 Global Competence poll, 500 high school graduates ages 18-24 spoke about the challenges they are facing in the global marketplace:
- 80% of respondents agreed the jobs are becoming more international in nature;
- 79% identified the ability to interact with people from the other cultures as a necessary skill; and
- 60% said they would be better employees if they knew more about world affairs.
Despite the recognized importance of these skills, a vast majority reported that their 6-12 schools failed to teach them global competency skills, and three-quarters wished they had.
The need is clear – more powerful, relevant, and self-directed learning that will prepare the young to live, compete, and collaborate in a new global scenario. It is imperative that colleges of educations prepare future educators ready to lead their students in these new global directions. Teacher preparation programs must impact the international knowledge, skills, and attitudes of future teachers in the United States. And to do so, global competency must be infused into the core philosophy of colleges of education.
Visionary teacher educators have begun to recognize that the earlier teachers learn to infuse global knowledge and perspectives into their teaching, the more comfortable and skilled they will become at making this a natural and essential part of their teaching practice. And while there have been pockets of advancement at some colleges, it is evident that sweeping systemic and institutional change is necessary. Ensuring systemic change that will result in an international education for all teacher candidates requires vision and a plan within a school, college, or department of education – ideally one that is supported with campus-wide strategies.
Creating globally competent teachers and teacher educators requires building faculty support, creating leadership buy-in, and developing a systemic plan that maximizes resources and helps ensure that activities are coordinated and sustainable. How do you get a campus get started with internationalization? What can be done to effectively engage leadership and faculty at your university to take up this charge? How can your institution incentivize internationalization efforts? Examples contributed by deans of education, teacher educators, teachers, and global education professionals suggest an emerging framework for comprehensive internationalization of teacher preparation. In this section, we have pulled together strategies and methods from some of the old and new leaders in this field to help facilitate change at your university.