THE BLOG
09/29/2015 06:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Around the World in 30 Days -- September 2015

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C. M. Rubin's global education report

People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.... "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" has set a plan of action in these five important areas. What role can education play? Can we use the world's classrooms to educate and develop the competencies and attitudes required to achieve the new UN Agenda? I spoke about this with EFF14 debate guest speaker, Karen Cator (President and CEO of Digital Promise and the former Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education). Karen believes that problems "are best solved through diplomacy, collaboration and the sharing of agendas, ideas, resources and solutions," and that school is one of the best places to foster these abilities.

As I look back over September in The Global Search for Education, we covered many other diverse and fascinating topics, ranging from technology's impact on learning to tips on how to deal with a difficult classroom. In the response from our global teacher bloggers to our September question, "What was your most challenging classroom and how did you turn it around?", a common theme ran through all anecdotes -- an openness to student experience that allows for a more understanding, empathetic response to student's problems. Empathy is therefore a good key word to focus on as the new school year begins.

Highlighting the importance of empathy in the classroom, author Koji Miyamoto talked to me about his new book and the importance of socio-emotional skills in education. Miyamoto's book, The Power of Social and Emotional Skills, argues that despite being "difficult to measure," socio-emotional skills (such as perseverance, sociability and self-esteem) play an important role in both education and society as a whole. He urges that we create and support programs that foster these traits. One program he endorses is "RULER," which creates an environment of "warmth and mutual respect, reducing hostility, and improving teacher sensitivity to students' emotional and academic needs."

I discussed a recent OECD report published by the World Bank on Universal Basic Skills with both Eric A. Hanusheck (Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University) and Andreas Schleicher (Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the OECD). Schleicher explained that "the economic output that is lost because of poor education policies and practices leaves many countries in what amounts to a permanent state of economic recession." In turn, Hanusheck recommends we teach students to "develop creative, critical thinking and collaborative skills" and "build character attributes, such as mindfulness, curiosity, courage and resilience."

Turning towards ICT in global classrooms, I asked OECD author Francesco Avvisati about technology and intelligent ways to adapt to mixed lessons. His new report, "Students, Computers, and Learning: Making the Connection," argues that the improvements that education systems hoped technology would contribute to learning are not there yet In the interview, Avvasati offers tips for educators and parents on how to better transfer print-reading skills to an online environment, including encouraging "all educators to invest in their professional knowledge about how technology can improve their work practices," and suggesting that parents promote "using the Internet for serious pursuits, such as reading about current affairs or finding a summer job, as well as for entertainment."

The importance of having globally competent teachers was a major theme in my discussion with Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Weingarten strongly advocated for global competency or "the capacity to understand and act on issues of global significance." Students can reach such competency through trusting relationships with teachers, and "when they are exposed to people who are different than they are, and to the art, music, history and culture of other nations, races and peoples."

"The capacity to understand and act on issues of global significance" is the perfect theme on which to end my September round up. I hope the UN's call to action this September 2015 will inspire all of us to understand where the world is heading in 2030, and subsequently embrace the roles we must play to ensure our children are ready, willing, and able to meet the challenges.

For more information, visit cmrubinworld.com.

(Photo is courtesy of Digital Promise)

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C. M. Rubin

Join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. MadhavChavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. EijaKauppinen (Finland), State Secretary TapioKosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Geoff Masters (Australia), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (LyceeFrancais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today.
The Global Search for Education Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, "The Global Search for Education" and "How Will We Read?" She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.