Building Capacity and Global Awareness for School Leaders

Building Capacity and Global Awareness for School Leaders

Nancy Staub (University of Toledo, USA), Analese Alvarez (University of Toledo, USA), Justin Johnson (University of Toledo, USA), Donna Stacy (University of Toledo, USA) and Tom Walter (University of Toledo, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3462-4.ch003
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The culture of schools is influenced in part by the principal. The vision the principal holds for leadership and direction of the school becomes an important compass for the development of curriculum, pedagogy, and mindset of teachers and students. The educational leadership faculty at The University of Toledo believe that graduate students preparing to become principals must develop understandings and awareness of what it means to be globally competent. This case study illustrates how even a short trip to China can begin to shape the thinking of future principals toward this end.
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Global Competencies

The competencies from the Global Competence Matrix (World Savvy, n.d.) that will be addressed include:

  • Core Concepts:

    • Perspectives are shaped by varied belief systems which create social affiliation structures, cultural norms and build a sense of purpose.

  • Values and Attitudes:

    • Self-awareness about identity & culture, & sensitivity and respect for differences.

    • Valuing multiple perspectives.

    • Humility.

  • Skills:

    • Listens actively and engages in inclusive dialogue.

  • Behaviors:

    • Seeks out and applies an understanding of different perspectives to problem solving and decision- making.

    • Forms opinions based on exploration and evidence.


Case Background

Qinhuangdao in Hebei Province, China, is a port city of over 3 million people on the edge of the Bohai Sea. It is home to the start of the Great Wall of China; that is, of course, if you consider the Great Wall to be the body of a dragon with the head called Laolongtou reaching out into the sea. The city is named after the Emperor Qin Shi Huang and holds a fascination for many who have read about the mountains, the vast land, and its rich history. In 2008, the city hosted some of events for the Beijing Summer Olympics. Situated on the sea and the rail transport line for North China, it is a major transportation hub sustaining industries of glass manufacturing, building materials, metal pressing, and food processing. To reach Qinhuangdao from the Detroit Metro Airport requires taking a 13 + hour flight to Beijing, China and then another three-hour van ride north. Five graduate students and two faculty members in a principal preparation program at The University of Toledo made the trek to Qinhuangdao, China.

The purpose of this trip was to visit Yanshan University, located in Qinhuangdao. The university serves 39,000 students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels with an emphasis in the engineering sciences, business, law, liberal arts, economics, and education. In recent years, a College of International Exchange (CIE) was established at Yanshan University to promote globalization through the sharing of Chinese culture, arts, and language. In 2009, Yanshan University and The University of Toledo (UT) co-founded a Confucius Institute with offices located in Qinhuangdao and Toledo.

The Hanban Confucius Institute is affiliated with the Ministry of Education in China for the purpose of promoting multiculturalism and Chinese language learning internationally. Education programs have been established at universities around the world to advance this mission. Resources and services that support the teaching of Chinese culture and language can be found at these institutes.

Knowing that the Chinese culture could not be more different from the culture in the Midwestern part of the United States, the trip was designed as a practicum for future school leaders to provide international experiences that broaden their own global understandings. These experiences could then influence the way they think about and advocate for the development of global competencies among school age students and classroom teachers given that schools and workplaces in the Midwest face increasing diversity. The population growth rates among Hispanics and Asians in the United States surpass all other ethnic groups. An increase in the number of refugees and other non-American groups will change the workforce in the job market.

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