With all due respect to the dancing dolls in Anaheim, it really isn’t a small world. It is a complex, multifaceted, diverse, and complicated world.
We often ask our students, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I do not believe that is the right question. First, all the labour forecasts predict that most jobs of the future haven’t been defined yet. Second, we already have jobs most students wouldn’t recognize, like “Bio-Medical Engineer” or “Sustainable Materials Architect.” Instead of asking our students what they want to be when they grow up, we should ask them what problem they want to solve. We should ask them to think about what knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to solve that problem. We should ask them to think about where they can get the knowledge, skills, and abilities they will need. We should ask them to think about how the problem they want to solve fits into the context of the world.
We need to create a generation of critically-thinking, collaborative problem solvers. Students who know and understand world issues. Students who understand political and socioeconomic systems on a global scale. Students who recognize and appreciate cultural diversity. If we really want to face and solve the problems of this complex, multifaceted, diverse, and complicated world, we need a generation of students who are strong in all the C’s: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, citizenship and character education.
“There is just one moon and one golden sun,
And a smile means friendship to everyone,
Though the mountains divide,
And the oceans are wide,
It’s a small world after all…”
– Walt Disney
with thanks to Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist at Google, Inc. shares why global competence is critical for students.