News Herald – Juliann Talkington
Technology allows us to instantly connect with people all over the planet. We can chat, share images, design products and form alliances without travel. In addition, technology has made many processes more efficient, eliminating tasks that were once handled by people.
To remain competitive, companies have been forced to adapt, phasing out products that are no longer necessary and funneling money into new technologies. These changes mean millions of traditional jobs have been or will be eliminated.
With this shift, companies have been struggling to adapt to their new global workforce. People in different parts of the world still deal with unique problems associated with climate, natural phenomena, topography and resources. As a result, they have special job expectations and needs.
Many US schools have been slow to adapt. Not only are they still training young people for jobs that technology has eliminated, but they have failed to understand the importance of foreign language proficiency, cultural exposure and geography.
Given the state of the economy and the cost of travel, getting kids international exposure seems difficult. Fortunately, it is possible to provide children with strong preparation for the “new workplace” without leaving town.
First, encourage your child to study geography. Not only does this subject help students place countries in a global perspective, but also helps them understand how cultures take shape.
Expose your child to a foreign language. Foreign language programs vary in structure and outcome. Any exposure is a positive. However, language immersion programs, where more than 50% of the instruction is in the foreign language, provide the most cognitive benefit, create an environment where students learn to speak the foreign language without an accent and develop a strong appreciation for the nuances of the culture.
Take your child to foreign music, fine arts and theatrical events. The arts are a wonderful way to bring children a glimpse of what life is like in the other parts of the world.
Make history a priority. According to the American Historical Association, “history offers a storehouse of information about how people and societies behave.”
Consider hosting a foreign exchange student. These temporary family members provide an international experience without the expense of moving or traveling overseas.
Finally, demand excellence in math and science. Most jobs will require strong math skills and an appreciation of technology.
If you are resourceful, there are many ways to give your child an international advantage without leaving home.