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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Educators on Global Learning: Virginia B. Edwards

  1. Tell us about the importance of international education.
  2. How does Education Week cover international education?
  3. Why is foreign language instruction important?

Tell us about the importance of international education.

I don't think there's any denying that the world has become a smaller place. And I think it needs to be an important priority of the schools to have ways of helping kids recognize that globalization is something they have to understand and respect and become one with -- not just because of the economy, but also because there are all these different cultures and different peoples of the world, and if we're all going to make it together, we've got to understand each other.

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How does Education Week cover international education?

We covered the model preschool programs in France so that educators and policy makers here would learn about preschool efforts in another country. But we need to write about the schools, the programs, the educators here as well, who are doing exemplary things in the sense of trying to make sure they're infusing their curriculum with these international and global ideas.

And we are doing much more of that: We have a dedicated page in the newspaper for international themes and coverage, we're sending people abroad, and we're hooking people up here with educators and policy makers committed to these efforts.

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Why is foreign-language instruction important?

I was just reading that something like one out of six workers in the United States has a connection -- his or her work is connected at some level -- to international trade. And that really hit me in a profound way -- that we cannot think of ourselves as isolated and able to do our own work without thinking about the connotations or the connections with other people of the world. I absolutely think there's an interest that educators and policy makers must have in improving the international dimension to schools, even if it's only with respect to the economy and workforce development.

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