Professional Learning

Seven Educators on Global Learning: Understanding the Importance of a Global Education

February 5, 2007

Barbara Chow | Virginia B. Edwards | Paula Frohman | Karen Kodama | Lucia Rodriguez | Brenda Welburn | Shuhan C. Wang

Barbara Chow

Vice President, National Geographic Society: Education and Children's Programs

Geography education helps us understand the essential connections in the world, that it can be taught easily, it can be integrated into reading and math, core academic subjects that everyone is focused on right now, and there are many, many ways we have done that in the past.

If you're going to read, you can read about the world. We would encourage people to do that. It does not need to be an added burden to an already very busy day. We see it as an essential way of understanding how the world works and how it is connected together. A sense of place and your own place and your relationship to others is a key part of your twenty-first-century learning experience.

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Virginia B. Edwards

President, Editor of Education Week, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

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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Paula Frohman

Department Chair, Evanston Township High School: Media and Instructional Technology

The Asian studies course is a semester-long course. We look at regions of Asia, so we start in East Asia and then we move to Southeast Asia and then South Asia. Students get involved in various interactive simulations, so, for our Southeast Asia unit, they do a mock United Nations session where they look at Myanmar (formerly Burma) and the human rights situation there; at the same time, we go into depth about the history of these cultures so they have a background and a context for understanding current events.

The students also do projects, such as country reports, in order to learn even more about the vastness and the diversity of Asia.

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Karen Kodama

Former Principal, John Stanford International School

We opened our doors in fall 2000, and we are the first international school for Seattle and the first language-immersion school -- actually, the only language-immersion school. Our children are immersed half of the day in either Spanish or Japanese, so they're taught content --math, science, culture, literacy -- in that international language. The other half of the day, they are taught reading, writing, and social studies in English.

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Lucia Rodriguez

Vice President of Education, United Nations Associations of the United States of America: Education

The United Nations Association was founded by Eleanor Roosevelt before the founding of the United Nations. She wanted to make sure that the United Nations did not go the way of the League of Nations, and our role is to raise awareness of the United Nations among the American public.

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Brenda Lilienthal Welburn

Executive Director, National Association of State Boards of Education

I think that we first need to be sure that studies of the world and of world cultures are integrated throughout our curriculum. We don't have to have a separate course for the instruction of international education, but the literature that our students read needs to be comprehensive and inclusive.

The way we handle mathematics questions can include instruction about culture. The need for instruction in world language is critical as our students become more engaged and involved with the world, so I think we can integrate what we do now every day with the need for international education.

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Shuhan C. Wang

Deputy Director, National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) at the University of Maryland

In Delaware, we have professional-development clusters for teachers. Each is designed for 90 hours, 180 hours, or 270 hours, and if teachers can successfully complete that cluster, they get a 2 percent salary increase for the next five years. That's a very powerful incentive for teachers to engage in meaningful and purposeful professional development.

For international education, we have designed two clusters, "Re-thinking and Researching Asia" and "Bringing the World to Delaware." We also collaborate with iEARN. Through iEARN, our teachers take nine-week online courses. In the meantime, their students will have engaged in curricular projects that have taken them to have contacts with students all over the world, and they're really excited about that.

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