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Pisa tests to include ‘global skills’ and cultural awareness

BBC – Andreas Schleicher

“Pisa tests, an international standard for comparing education systems around the world, could include a new measurement of global skills in the next round of tests in 2018. The OECD, which runs the tests in maths, reading and science, is considering adding another test which would look at how well pupils can navigate an increasingly diverse world, with an awareness of different cultures and beliefs. The OECD’s education director Andreas Schleicher explains why there is such a need for new rankings to show young people’s competence in a world where globalisation is a powerful economic, political and cultural force.”(more)

Urgent action needed to close UK languages gap

Phys.org – Staff Writer

“The UK Government needs to urgently adopt a new, comprehensive languages strategy if it is to keep pace with its international competitors and reduce a skills deficit that has wide-reaching economic, political, and military effects…Recent independent research, highlighted within the report, indicates the language deficit could be costing the UK economy billions of pounds per year…”A UK strategy for languages would mean that UK businesses can participate fully in the global market place using the language and communication skills of their workforce,” said Professor Ayres-Bennett. “It would also mean that the UK is able to maximise its role and authority in foreign policy through language and diplomacy. Educational attainment in a wide range of languages brings with it personal cognitive benefits as well as the ‘cultural agility’ vital to international relations and development, as well as enhancing the cultural capital and social cohesion of the different communities of the UK.””(more)

Around the World in 30 Days – December 2015

The Huffington Post – C. M. Rubin

“Has there ever been a time when an education framework for 21st century competencies was more important? What should world citizens learn in an age of Google, Robots, Climate Change, Increased Migration, Radicalism and Inter-connected Economies?…More homework does not necessarily mean students are learning the critical skills that will help them to succeed in the world, such as “resilience, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.”…Many believe the new competencies needed to tackle the global issues will be harder to measure. Will education systems be ready, willing and able to make the changes needed?”(more)

Foreign Languages Festival sharpens focus on language diversity

Bahama Islands Info – Staff Writer

“Advancements in technology are shrinking the divides of national borders as the world becomes a global village. It means that mastering multiple languages and becoming familiar with various cultures other than one’s own is advantageous. The Foreign Languages Department of the School of Communication and Creative Arts (SCCA) at The College of The Bahamas recently staged its 10th Annual Foreign Languages celebrations, showcasing some of the cultures of the world, in a cultural show and international food fair. It was a fascinating scene for twelfth grade, Queen’s College student Kyla Basden. “I learnt that the world is evolving and is becoming more open and diverse and that in order to succeed and make the difference and the impact and the change that you want to make, you have to be able to converse with other people of different languages and embrace different cultures,” she said…”(more)

Global Challenges Drive Need for International Awareness

The Huffington Post – Dr. Scott D. Miller

“The shrinking nature of the globe through the interdependence of national economies, the advance of terrorism, and common threats facing the world’s environmental systems, among many other factors, makes a compelling case for increasing international studies at our colleges and universities…If we expect our budding “citizens of the world” to take their responsible place in an interconnected planet, we also need to make them literate in public policy, international diplomacy and finance, global security, and environmentalism…We also have an obligation to introduce our students to the wonders of the world, other cultures, different ways of thinking and behaving…we should rethink how and what we teach about geography, world history, languages, and the origins of cultures. Focusing on topics of paramount importance to our nation’s prosperity and security is a good place to begin.”(more)

Time to Add Language Learning to Teacher Preparation

Education Week – Emily Liebtag and Caitlin Haugen

“It makes sense that teachers would study another language to meet the needs of their ethnically and linguistically diverse students. Teachers who study world languages can better communicate with students and their parents, understand the difficulties and frustrations of language learners, and experience a window into other cultures. Multilingual teachers model global competence and prepare their students for working in the 21st century. And what better place to be exposed to language learning than during teacher preparation?…Leading supporters of internationalization from organizations and institutions of higher education—including unions—have long advocated that the study of world languages is a necessary element for developing globally competent teachers, but teacher education is still slow to change…When all teacher education programs take ownership of ensuring their candidates are globally competent, we will see a demand—and drive—for language learning for future teachers and teacher educators alike. “(more)