It’s a question we should all be prepared for. With all the diversity and individualism that exists in the world it would be easy to argue that there aren’t any ‘right answers’ to that question. Yet, there are some specific skills and attributes that we want our young learners to develop. Most especially, if you scan modern school philosophy, vision and mission statements and expected learning goals for students, you see attributes like collaborative worker, global citizen, principled individual, effective communicator, technologically proficient, etc. Choose any 3 of those. They would contribute to the development of a globally collaborative mindset. These are not just attributes for young learners to develop, these are characteristics that we all benefit from strengthening for ourselves. With increasing connectedness across the globe, Global Collaboration is a reality. The old phrase that, “Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM)” gets new life when put into a global context.
The ability to form personal relationships and build rapport, to adapt one’s management style without sacrificing authenticity and the ability to mediate cultural differences are critical competencies in the global realm. ~ Renita Wolf… writing about, “Global Teams – Leadership Skills And Characteristics“
New technologies facilitate global collaboration (Skype, Twitter, Google Docs, WebEx, wikis, etc.) and reduce or remove barriers that once existed. However, what our students most benefit from is learning about cultural similarities and differences that impact communication and relationship-building. Helping students build global collaboration skills sets them up for success in the 21st century.
A curriculum that makes intercultural competency an asset, rather than a deficit, can powerfully motivate immigrant students who navigate cultural borders daily to engage, not just in further developing their global competency, but in all disciplines as well. Schools that find a way to tap the resources that culturally diverse communities of parents and teachers offer to the education of all students will engage these communities in positive ways, both in and out of school. ~ Fernando M. Reimers for ASCD.
A somewhat old but still useful list of resources to help teachers ‘create global classrooms’ can be found in this ASCD article.
For leaders, it is just as important to build the same skills in order to establish and sustain a strong team. Just, make sure you check yourself every once in a while so you don’t find yourself becoming ‘the foreigner who is undermining the global team’ because you are “operating under a few common fallacies” …
1. It’s all the other people that are foreign, not me.
2. It’s right and proper that the others mold themselves to my culture.
2a. Okay, it’s maybe not right and proper exactly, but at least necessary, since the project originates here. It’s our project, it’s their job to conform. ~ “The Foreigner who could be Undermining your Global Team”
As long as those crucial relationships are built, together, everyone really does achieve more! There’s really nothing else like feeling the synergy that can develop from a true collaboration (global, or, otherwise)!