Collaborative Professional Community
Educational leaders foster a professional community where school personnel work together to build capacity in developing global competence for each student and staff member. This involves exposing staff to information on global learning opportunities; providing staff time for leading collaborative, innovative work; providing job-embedded professional development focused on global competence that allows for teacher innovation, experimentation, differentiation, and leadership; providing opportunities for nontraditional professional development that focuses on global competence, such as educator exchanges, microcredentials, and certificate programs; and allowing staff, students, and administrators to lead their own global learning and learn from and with each other.
Forging this professional collaborative community calls for leaders to embrace a distributed leadership model that allows educators take the lead on integrating global content in their classrooms and across the school. Equally important is providing teachers ample time and space to share their professional global learning experiences and best practices from their classrooms with each other.
Tenet in Action
Educational leaders foster a professional community where school personnel work together to build capacity in developing global competence for each student and staff member. Globally competent educational leaders:
Expose staff to information on global learning opportunities
Provide staff time for leading collaborative, innovative work
Provide job-embedded professional development focused on global competence that allows for teacher innovation, experimentation, differentiation, and leadership
Provide opportunities for nontraditional professional development that focuses on global competence, such as educator exchanges, microcredentials, and certificate programs
Allow staff, students, and administrators to lead their own global learning and learn from and with each other
Suggested Activities: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
Providing job-embedded professional development focused on global competence that allows for teacher innovation, experimentation, differentiation, and leadership.
Mr. Brent Wozniak, Chief Academic Officer, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, Pacoima, CA
When Vaughn’s leadership team first introduced global competence to the high school staff, the focus immediately rested with protecting time during professional development days that would allow staff to engage in collaborative planning alongside Asia Society’s ISSN instructional coaches to integrate global competence into their lessons. Mr. Wozniak looked for early adopters who could effectively model global integration and “who could teach with the backing of both strong theory and practice—teachers who, early on, were able to clearly demonstrate the nitty-gritty of the entire process from ideation to planning to implementation.” Giving teachers the opportunity to consistently model global teaching for their colleagues was crucial in helping apprehensive teachers step out of their comfort zone. Today, many of their high school staff have been doing this work for a decade, so Mr. Wozniak has shifted to a bifurcated professional development model with two cohorts that emphasize teacher leadership: one focused on building capacity and the other on mentorship. New staff work on the fundamentals of incorporating global projects into course content, while veteran teachers coach new staff on integrating global competence. Further, when Vaughn introduced global competence to the middle school campus, they facilitated meetings of teachers grouped by content areas across grades 6 through 12, so that the middle school teachers could learn from colleagues who had already done this work.
For the elementary school teachers, professional development looked a little different. Mr. Wozniak explains, “The toughest part was teachers saying, ‘I’m responsible for all of the content areas. How do I globalize everything?’ So we asked them to pick just one content area where they felt comfortable inserting global competence, with the understanding that everyone was going to do it. Teachers began to come out of their ‘this is science or history or math’ boxes and saw that bits and pieces of what they were trying to teach kids could be addressed in multiple contexts. The license of teachers to be creative within any program or model is the only way integrating global competence works because teachers have ownership. A culture that leadership espouses of being able to experiment and make mistakes is extremely important.”
Providing staff time for collaborative, innovative work.
Dr. Aimee Fearing, Principal, Wellstone International High School, Minneapolis, MN
Dr. Fearing firmly believes in building in time for teachers to collaborate on global learning. She shares, “As an administrator, my number one rule is that the schedule allows for it. As a former teacher, [I understood] it was difficult to find times to meet if it wasn’t in the schedule as an expectation.” She builds time into the schedule by giving each grade level team a common collaborative time to meet. Secondly, she reorganized the leadership structure so that the teachers who led the collaborative grade-level meetings also serve on the school leadership team. “Every team has representation on the leadership team, and it empowers teachers having them be a part of the team,” Dr. Fearing explains.
Not only has this streamlined communication, but the new leadership team meetings have led to deeper staff learning and more collaboration across grade levels. Dr. Fearing elaborates, “These meetings are deeper than check-ins, because we do curriculum review and classroom observations together. There’s a sense of, ‘Yes, I teach in the Senior Institute, but I’m going to observe the Junior Institute to see where students are coming from.’” Instilling a culture of collaboration also helps her and her staff take on the challenge of infusing global learning: “It’s hard work and challenging work, but it’s the right work. I’ve found you have to be surrounded by educators who are focused on this work, because its often very daunting. To have teachers, staff, and people like our World Savvy partners who you can bring in to reflect and have conversations about where the school needs to be makes working within the scope of the world less overwhelming. Having a support network is huge.” Allowing staff, students, and administrators to lead their own global learning.
Dr. Aimee Fearing, Principal, Wellstone International High School, Minneapolis, MN
Beyond managing the logistic aspects of time, scheduling, and resources, Dr. Fearing underscores that one of the most important aspects of managing global learning is loosening the reins on staff who are dedicated to it. She explains, “If I have a teacher who says, ‘I have this really cool project’ or ‘We want to do a World Savvy program,’ my management perspective is to say, ‘Go for it and let me know what you need.’ It’s about trusting teachers that they will get to the endpoint of where they’d like to be, and being okay that, with global projects, sometimes the destination isn’t as clear as you’d want it to be. It’s about believing in my staff to do the work and not micromanaging it.”
Mr. Christopher Huff, Principal, Waverly High School, Waverly, MI
Teacher leadership has been key to Mr. Huff’s approach to integrating global competence into the school. His approach is simple: “I just say yes. A teacher has an idea, and I say yes. I’m really a fly on the wall. I encourage teachers to tell me about opportunities, and if I can be involved I am. It usually turns out to be an amazing opportunity.”
Books and Articles
Goodwin, B., Gibson, T., Lewis, D., & Roleau, K. (2018). Unstuck: How curiosity, peer coaching, and teaming can change your school. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Hall, P., & Simeral, A. (2017). Creating a culture of reflective practice: Capacity-building for schoolwide success. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Sterrett, W. (2015). Igniting teacher leadership: How do I empower my teachers to lead and learn? Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Venables, D. (2017). Facilitating teacher teams and authentic PLCs: The human side of leading people, protocols, and practices. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
ASCD Globally Competent Learning Continuum. Online self-reflection tool for K–12 educators to self-assess their level of global competence and find resources to further their professional growth.
Digital Promise Global Microcredentials. A suite of eight microcredentials for teachers to examine practice in elements of global competency and global citizenship.
Global Competence Certificate. Premier online graduate level certificate program in global competence education for inservice educators.
Global Education Conference Network. An online community dedicated to globally connected teaching and learning, which virtually hosts an annual global education conference and global education fairs.
Global Fluency Institute. Trainings provide professional development that equip educators with the skills to communicate with, understand, and leverage cultural diversity.
Participate. An online continuous learning platform for educators that provides opportunities to engage in conversations from educators around the world, collections of global competence resources, and courses with digital badges.
Primary Source. A nonprofit organization that works to advance global and cultural learning in schools by providing educators seminars, online programs, free webinars, partnerships, and custom services for districts and schools.
World View. Public service program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that brings experts to contribute year-round professional development on best practices for integrating global education into curriculum and across all grade levels, through symposia, seminars, workshops, webinars, and international study trips.