“Today, schools need to prepare students for more rapid economic and social change than ever before, for jobs that have not yet been created, to use technologies that have not yet been invented, and to solve social problems that we do not yet know will arise.” (OECD, 2015)Increasingly, global competencies are being recognized by researchers and employers as essential to thrive in an economy and world that is marked by ever-increasing change, technological acceleration and complexity. The term “global competencies” encompasses knowledge, skills and attitudes/values, as defined by the OECD. The need to develop global competencies has always been at the core of learning and innovation. What’s new in the 21st century is the call for education systems to explicitly emphasize and integrate competencies in teaching and assessment practices. In 2016, the Ontario Ministry of Education released a 21st Century Competencies Foundation Document for Discussion that included a set of global competencies based on a synthesis of the latest research. The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) have also defined a set of Pan-Canadian Global Competencies that have influenced the framework of competencies in Ontario.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Critical thinking and problem solving involve addressing complex issues and problems by acquiring, processing, analysing and interpreting information to make informed judgments, decisions and actions. The capacity to engage in cognitive processes to understand and resolve problems includes the willingness to achieve one’s potential as a constructive and reflective citizen. Learning is deepened when situated in meaningful, real-world, authentic experiences.
Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship
Innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship involve the ability to turn ideas into action to meet the needs of a community. The capacity to enhance concepts, ideas, or products to contribute new-to-the-world solutions to complex economic, social, and environmental problems involves leadership, taking risks, independent/unconventional thinking and experimenting with new strategies, techniques, or perspectives, through inquiry research. Entrepreneurial mindsets and skills involve a focus on building and scaling an idea sustainably.
Self- Directed Learning
Self-directed learning means: becoming aware and demonstrating agency in one’s process of learning, including the development of dispositions that support motivation, perseverance, resilience, and self-regulation. Belief in one’s ability to learn (growth mindset), combined with strategies for planning, monitoring and reflecting on one’s past, present, and future goals, potential actions and strategies, and results. Self-reflection and thinking about thinking (metacognition) promote lifelong learning, adaptive capacity, well-being, and transfer of learning in an ever-changing world.
Collaboration involves the interplay of the cognitive (including thinking and reasoning), interpersonal, and intrapersonal competencies necessary to participate effectively and ethically in teams. Ever-increasing versatility and depth of skill are applied across diverse situations, roles, groups, and perspectives in order to co construct knowledge, meaning, and content, and learn from, and with, others in physical and virtual environments.
Communication involves receiving and expressing meaning (e.g., reading and writing, viewing and creating, listening and speaking) in different contexts and with different audiences and purposes. Effective communication increasingly involves understanding both local and global perspectives, societal and cultural contexts, and adapting and changing using a variety of media appropriately, responsibly, safely, and with regard to one’s digital footprint.
Citizenship involves understanding diverse worldviews and perspectives in order to address political, ecological, social, and economic issues that are crucial to living in a contemporary, connected, interdependent, and sustainable world. It also includes the acquisition of knowledge, motivation, dispositions, and skills required for an ethos of engaged citizenship, with an appreciation for the diversity of people, perspectives, and the ability to envision and work toward a better and more sustainable future for all
Global competencies are being explored in many districts in Ontario and internationally. Below you will find some key research references that are foundational to the work occuring related to global competencies.
Key Questions to consider when thinking about global competencies
Deeper learning refers to a person’s ability to effectively take what he or she has learned in one situation and apply it to a new situation. This is commonly known among educators as “learning for transfer”. Deeper learning involves the interplay of the cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal domains.
In the past, the primary focus in education has been on the cognitive domain, however the interpersonal and intrapersonal domains are equally important. Focusing on global competencies balances all three domains when designing learning opportunities.Balancing these domains are known to measurably contribute to educational attainment, relationships, employment, and health and well-being outcomes (Rychen, 2003) and have a positive effect on the Four Domains of Well-Being. In fact, a key finding from the ministry’s research on 21st century learning is that a focus on deeper learning and competencies enhances these four areas:
Ontario District's Global Competencies Work:
Many districts in Ontario are working to embed global competencies into their board vision. Below are some examples of what boards are doing across Ontario with global competencies.
Ottawa Catholic District School Board - Learning in the 21st Century - Towards 2020: Connecting with our Students
Peel District School Board - Empowering Modern Learners
Dufferin Peel Catholic DSB - Forming Our Catholic Vision of Learning in the 21st Century
Thames Valley DSB - TVDSB Innovates: School Within a School Programs
York Region DSB - Modern Learning Targets