Global competence is an issue in education that is incredibly important for students at all levels. The world has become such an interconnected global society that it is crucial that our students are educated in a manner that reflects this. Just this last month the National Education Association published a policy brief on the importance of this issue titled “Global Competence Is a 21st Century Imperative.” This policy brief stresses that “…students be educated to develop habits of the mind that embrace respect for others, a commitment to cooperation, an appreciation of our common humanity, and a sense of responsibility…” We live in an interconnected world which demands an appreciation and understanding for cultural diversity and an ability to collaborate within the global community.
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) “Standards for the 21st-Century Learner” reflects the importance of this global competence issue as well. Throughout this document collaboration is stressed as a way for students to create and share knowledge with respect to a global perspective; the learning community is within the classroom, school, and the world at large. In order for students to participate and collaborate ethically and to inquire and think critically they must develop global competencies. School librarians are skilled at collaborating with classroom teachers in order to cultivate differentiated learning experiences to develop this global competence.
As a specialist in 21st-century teaching and learning school librarians assist students and teachers in connecting learning to real-world issues and in the exchange of ideas in a global context. In fostering collaboration that extends to learning communities in the wider world we may more easily connect with a common ground. This appreciation for commonalities will enable students to embrace diversity and connect with a global perspective. By using the knowledge gained through studies and experiences as an educator and information specialist school librarians will be able to promote these global relationships.
Image attribution: untitled by .Jennifer Leigh., http://www.flickr.com/photos/45206157@N00/168200539