The Global Classroom

As the world grows more interconnected, education looks outward

February 3, 2015
Hands on globe

Education that seeks to meet the needs of the 21st century must be global in outlook, says Fernando Reimers, professor of international education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “The world is increasingly interdependent,” says Reimers, who will lead a professional education program at HGSE called Think Tank on Global Education on May 13–15, 2015. One of the key tasks of progressive educators is to help students understand what that interdependency will look like in their own lives, he says — “what globalization means, and what it means for them.”

In this Harvard EdCast, Reimers frames global education as “a great opportunity to help students develop the skills they’ll need for the 21st century.” Increasingly, he says, educators are using a global framework to engage their students in extended projects and in the study of real-world issues. “Global education gives us an opportunity to make education more interesting to students by connecting students to the world around them,” he says.

When thinking about the skills that will be necessary for success, Reimers says, the list must include the following traits:

  • A capacity to understand the world and to function globally
  • Intercultural competency
  • Foreign language skills
  • Knowledge of world history
  • Knowledge of geography
  • An understanding of globalization

“These are all essential,” he concludes. “They are no longer the province of a few selected individuals destined to work in foreign relations or international trade. They have become a common necessity for most educated people.“

Additional Resources

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