Seven Tenets

The seven tenets of globally competent school leaders fall under four domains: (1) vision setting, (2) pedagogy and practice, (3) situated action, and (4) systems and structures. These domains reflect general best practices of educational leadership, while recognizing the ways in which one’s local professional context is interconnected to a broader global environment. These domains are interrelated in practice as well and can be implemented simultaneously. For example, as evidenced by many of the school administrators we interviewed, to effectively integrate global competence into pedagogy and practice requires significant groundwork in mission building and faculty buy-in and taking situated action by partnering with outside global education experts for technical support.

Common Themes

Common elements weave throughout these seven tenets of globally competent educational leadership. First, all are grounded in an ethic of care for individual human beings and the planet. Care in this sense means listening to and acting upon needs that others articulate, rather than assuming what others’ needs are. As Nel Noddings writes in her seminal book Caring, “When we see the other’s reality as a possibility for us, we must act to eliminate the intolerable, to reduce the pain, to fill the need, to actualize the dream…When the other’s reality becomes a possibility for me, I care” (1984, p. 14).

Second, the tenets make explicit the connection between the local and the global. Learning with and about the world not only connects us with countries and cultures outside of our national borders, it also understands that the plurality within our borders is a microcosm of the wider world, and that local issues our communities face—natural disaster relief, job scarcity, access to clean water—shapes and is shaped by events and circumstances all over the world. Third, these tenets embody a spirit of continuous improvement, focused on using data and reflection to drive decision making and taking measured, incremental steps toward desired changes and outcomes.


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