Global-Minded Education: A New Currency for the 21st Century

Category: Schools

TCKsIt was a busy week. After several domestic flights this week, I was on my way to South Korea. It was busy in my brain as well. One of my trips this week took me to a private high school in the Midwest of the United States. It was a super two days filled with all sorts of brain stimulation.

One day was spent with international students and host families as they began the new school year. The second day was spent with the faculty discussing what it means to have a global mindset in the 21st century and how this affects not only third culture kids but their mono-cultural counterparts as well.

The world is getting smaller by the day. No longer do we have to wait for “snail mail” - I think I may have posted all of two pieces of mail last year! Even communication across language barriers is instantaneous thanks to Google Translate or other tools. News on the other side of the world affects us immediately. And of course international mobility shows no sign of slowing down! In fact, the United Nations reports that in 2010, 214 million people were living as expats around the world. TCKs are growing in number daily and entering into mainstream life in cultures throughout the planet.

All the sudden, TCKs and mono-cultural kids are facing some of the same intense global issues. No longer can anyone afford to stay mono-cultural in their thinking.

Here are some of the issues that urgently require global discussion in our schools:

1. Planet management

    Global warming
    Recycling and renewable products
    Conservation of natural resources

    2. Social justice
    Human slavery/Human trafficking
    Human rights

    3. Advancements in science

      Effects of increased autism
      Global diseases
      Aging population

      4. Technology
      Social media as mainstream
      Advances in communication technology
      Role in Government

      5. Political systems

        Current and projected
        Conflict and resolution
        Emerging countries
        Power shifts
        World economics

        6. Global belief systems

          Living in harmony
          Tolerance without compromising one's own belief system

          Global competence in these areas is no longer a “nice to have”. It is a requirement for success in the 21st century. Educational systems cannot afford to be culturally bound if we truly want to prepare TCKs or mono-cultural students to be global citizens. Specifically, as educators, caregivers and parents of TCKs, we can no longer afford not to think globally for the sake of our children’s future.

          What are some of the practical ways you as educators, caregivers or parents are shifting your education mindset in a shifting world?


          Photos by Khalid Ahmadzai, used with permission.

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