Developing Educators' Global Leadership Competencies through Intercultural Immersion Experiences: Theory and Practice

Developing Educators' Global Leadership Competencies through Intercultural Immersion Experiences: Theory and Practice

Jung Won Hur (Auburn University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch011
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the global leadership competencies that today's school leaders should demonstrate and identify ways to promote them. In order to lead globally competent future citizens, educators need to develop key leadership competencies, including self-awareness, inquisitiveness, empathy, and social skills. It is also important for school leaders who work with people from different cultures demonstrate a high level of cultural intelligence, the ability to interpret unfamiliar cultural behaviors or signals and respond in an appropriate way. Scholars have emphasized that a professional abroad experience is an effective way to promote global leadership competencies, and this chapter introduces a program, Global Studies in Education-South Korea, designed to enhance such skills for educators. The program evaluation study demonstrating the impact of the program is also presented.
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Introduction

Global leadership is an important skill for today’s educators to demonstrate. As the world becomes more interconnected and interdependent, students must develop skills to work with people whose experiences, cultures, and values are very different from their own (Cushner, 2007). This means educators should develop the relevant knowledge and skills to lead globally competent future citizens. The term “global” implies more than geographic reach; it encompasses “cultural reach in terms of people and intellectual reach in the development of global mindset” (Osland, Bird, Mendenhall, & Osland, 2006, p. 220). According to Lovvorn and Chen (2011), a global mindset is the ability to search for unexpected trends and opportunities that expand and refine a person’s points of view. It is a combination of self-awareness, openness to different cultures, and an appreciation of the existence of differences.

Scholars have attested that having an intercultural experience is one of the most powerful ways to promote a global mindset (Gregersen, Morrison, & Black, 1998; Lovvorn & Chen, 2011; Crowne, 2008). Exposure to different cultures allows an individual to develop insights into a new place and become familiar with new social norms, values, and assumptions (Crowne, 2008). The purpose of this chapter is to examine the competencies and cultural intelligence that global leaders need to develop and identify ways to promote them. The chapter will also introduce a teacher professional development program, Global Studies in Education-South Korea, designed to promote educators’ global understanding and global leadership.

Global Leadership Competencies

Clark (2015) has defined a global leader as “a person who leads across cultures with systems, processes, and relationships in a complex environment” (p. 5). Scholars have asserted that in order to be effective global leaders, a number of competencies must be established (Conner, 2001; Jokinen, 2005; Moran & Riesenberger, 1994). Jokinen (2005) conducted extensive research on global leadership competencies and proposed a framework composed of three dimensions:

  • 1.

    Core global leadership competencies,

  • 2.

    Desired mental characteristics, and

  • 3.

    Behavioral-level global leadership competencies.

The core competencies are the abilities that lead to the emergence of other critical skills and consist of self-awareness, engagement in personal transformation, and inquisitiveness. Self-awareness is the ability to identify one’s own strengths, weaknesses, values, and assumptions and to question personal beliefs and assumptions. Engagement in personal transformation refers to a commitment to continuous self-development. Global leaders need to demonstrate a proactive learning approach, seeking out new learning opportunities and improving performance capabilities. Inquisitiveness is also known as curiosity, and it refers to a leader’s ability to search for answers and expertise beyond standard expectations.

The next dimension features desired mental characteristics of global leaders. These traits influence the way a person acts and responds to challenging tasks and include optimism, self-regulation, empathy, and cognitive skills. Optimism refers to a positive “can-do” attitude, even in an uncertain environment, and self-regulation is the “ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods” (Jokinen, 2004, p. 206). Empathy means caring about people’s needs and projecting a flexible and respectful approach to others. Killick (2012) explained how the concept of empathy encourages people to extend the notion of “we” to include “those global others.” Cognitive skills refer to a global leader’s ability to develop a creative solution based on previous knowledge and analysis of complex problems.

Finally, behavioral global-level competency is related to a leader’s ability to execute a plan and produce a concrete result. These competencies include social skills and networking skills. Social skills emphasize a leader’s ability to motivate people to pursue excellence, manage conflicts, and build strong teamwork skills. While social skills are reflected more at the personal level, networking skills are associated with an organization. They include the ability to build and maintain a partnership as well as develop a collaborative community.

Tuleja (2014) claims that global leadership requires a person to demonstrate intercultural competencies, also known as cultural intelligence. This ability is “an indication of the capability to effectively adapt to new cultural contexts” (Malik, Cooper-Thomas, & Zikic, 2014, p. 196).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cultural Intelligence (CQ): Ability to interpret unfamiliar cultural behaviors or signals and respond in an appropriate way.

Global Mindset: Ability to search for unexpected trends and opportunities that expand and refine a person’s points of view. It is a combination of self-awareness, openness to different cultures, and an appreciation of the existence of differences.

Global Leader: A person who leads across cultures with systems, processes, and relationships in a complex environment.

Transformative Learning: The process of effecting change in a frame of reference. Frames of references are the structures of assumptions through which we understand our experiences.

Metacognitive Intelligence: Control of the cognition that is used for deep information processing. This component includes planning, monitoring, and evaluating processes to acquire new understanding.

Empathy: Caring about people’s needs and projecting a flexible and respectful approach to others.

Social Skills: Ability to motivate people to pursue excellence, manage conflicts, and build strong teamwork skills.

Self-Awareness: Ability to identify one’s own strengths, weaknesses, values, and assumptions and to question personal beliefs and assumptions.

Inquisitiveness: Ability to search for answers and expertise beyond standard expectations.

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