Global Competence

Developing globally competent citizens means helping our students develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to successfully navigate today’s interconnected world. It means preparing them to investigate the broader world, recognize their own and others’ perspectives, communicate their ideas, and take action.

Growing up in the 1970s and ’80s, it was possible to live and work in a bubble, with little to no knowledge of people’s day-to-day lives in Spain, let alone Guatemala, China, Russia, or Jordan. It’s still possible today, of course – but living in a bubble today is much less tenable. 

No matter where our young people live, attend school, and work in the 21st century, they will be part of the global economy. In Minnesota, where I live, farmers export over $6.4 billion in crops to other nations. Major corporations like 3M (the Post-it people!) earn 60% of their revenues from outside the U.S. It would be naive to imagine that our livelihoods are not connected to the livelihoods of others around the globe. 

Immigrants from other nations also make up a growing part of many of our state’s communities, both small and large. (See Increasing Diversity in Austin, Minn. brings growth and challenges, 4/24/22) More than 125 different languages are spoken in the St. Paul public schools

Our students will be the leaders, managers and workers of the future – and they will live in a complex world facing global challenges, like climate change, affordable energy, dislocation and increasing urbanization. It will be up to them to tackle the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

So the question isn’t “Should we educate our students for global competence?” but “How can we best educate our students for global competence?”

Fortunately, there are many valuable organizations and resources dedicated to helping us with this task. Below, you’ll find links to a number of organizations, tools, and resources to help you develop your own global classroom. On the Teach page, you’ll learn more about my experiences and find teaching materials.


Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Fulbright prepares educators for teaching global competence through training, short-term experience abroad and global collaboration. An incredible opportunity – and the impetus for this website. On the Travel page, I’ll write about my travel experience, still to come in 2022.

Goethe Institut – TransAtlantic Outreach Program The TOP Program not only provides outstanding professional development in a two-week trip to Germany; it also connects you to a community of like-minded educators and unlimited opportunities for your students. My TOP trip in 2013 was the best professional development experience of my career.

Chatting with high school students in Munich about their school and their goals, part of my TOP experience in 2013.

Jacobs Institute The Jacobs Institute at the University of San Diego offers (among other things) a teen innovation challenge that supports students in taking on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Training for teachers is included.

Urban Land Institute The Urban Land Institute’s mission is to “shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.” One way they do this is through UrbanPlan, a deeply engaging interdisciplinary project where students learn about land use, trade-offs, sustainability, displacement and a host of other 21st century challenges. 

College Board Through the AP program, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with and train teachers in a variety of different countries, including China, Jordan, Colombia, Japan, and Turkey. In addition, I’ve been able to connect with schools and tutor international students.

2019 AP Economics International workshop in Amman, Jordan.
I’ve taught Hamzeh (lower left) and Yazan (lower right) – both located in Amman, Jordan –  AP Economics over the past two years. Otilia Qaraman, head of the globally focused Excellence Online Academy, joins us in the upper left.

World Savvy Global Competence Matrix This illustration explains the qualities, characteristics and abilities of globally competent students in a succinct, easy-to-understand format. A good visual for the classroom.

National Geographic Teaching Across Perspectives Using water as an example, this free PDF explains how we can study and learn about a topic from a variety of perspectives, including spatial, economic, historical and political. A great tool for developing interdisciplinary lessons.

Essentials of Dialog (Tony Blair Institute for Social Change) This free PDF provides great tools for teaching young people (and all of us) how to engage in meaningful, collaborative conversations with others. Includes printable handouts.

Pulitzer Center Writing Contest A real-world (outside the classroom) opportunity for students to share their views on current political issues.


The Danger of a Single Story (VIDEO) Chimamanda Adichie warmly explains how media and literature often simplify and stereotype people (“the other”) by sharing only one story or perspective on their lives. Gaining a global perspective means leaving behind these two-dimensional misrepresentations and seeing others as fully human.

Don’t Ask Where I’m From, Ask Where I’m a Local (VIDEO) Taiye Selasi explains why a “country of origin” may be an outdated concept for much of the world’s population. 

The World is as Big or Small as You Make It (VIDEO) This video captures the power of virtual global exchange between groups of students in very different parts of the world. Inspiring.

Culturally Responsive Teaching: 4 Misconceptions (Cult of Pedagogy) This helpful article addresses head-on some of the common mistakes and misunderstandings around culturally responsive teaching.

Teaching for Global Competence in a Rapidly Changing World OECD and Asia Society This free downloadable PDF explains the full PISA framework for global competence, including helpful examples of what teachers are doing in their classrooms.

Educating for global competence: Preparing our youth to engage the world. This free downloadable PDF offers a variety of hands-on examples of how educators around the world are integrating global competence into their classrooms. 

Key findings about U.S. immigrants (Pew) Great starting point for teaching about immigration using data.

8 ways to teach about climate change in almost any classroom (NPR) Great starting point for teaching about climate change.


My favorite assessment tool for evaluating how well we (as educators) are incorporating elements of global competence is this chart, created in the Fairfax County, VA, school system.

Asia Society The Asia Society, a leader in promoting global competence, has developed a set of measurable student performance outcomes for each grade level.

Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World (pp. 71-75 The Asia Society has also produced this free downloadable booklet on incorporating global competence, which includes a helpful checklist for teachers