Fostering Development of 21st Century Competencies and Global Citizenship through Constructivist-Based and Learning-Style Responsive Pedagogy

Fostering Development of 21st Century Competencies and Global Citizenship through Constructivist-Based and Learning-Style Responsive Pedagogy

Jennifer Lauria (Wagner College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9953-3.ch021
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The purpose of this chapter is to provide practical applications for successful implementation of constructivist-based and learning-style responsive pedagogy that supports the development of 21st century competencies needed for college and career readiness leading toward global citizenship. In alignment with the objectives of this book, the content of this chapter will support the book's mission of helping educators “use what they glean to support children and families toward becoming successful in our global society”.
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As citizens of the globe, learners need to be aware of the global nature of societal issues, to care about people in distant places, to understand the nature of global economic integration, to appreciate the interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples, and to respect and protect planet Earth – home for all human beings (Zhao, 2009, p. 113).

In order for such dynamics to become possible, future approaches to schooling need to support learners, instructional leaders, and families toward attainment of these goals in new ways, which will call for careful evaluation of current approaches to teaching and learning. Zhao (2009) stressed the importance of development of global competence based on a required set of skills and knowledge, with the essential components being foreign language proficiency, deep understanding of other cultures, global viewpoints in thinking and a sense of global citizenship. Others felt schools needed to focus on more than content knowledge to help students develop skills necessary for success in work and life (Rothstein, Wilder & Jacobsen, 2007). Modern schools, comprised of diverse students, teachers, and administrators, are completely different entities than learning environments of years past. Many are grappling with federal and state mandates calling for higher expectations with far less support and resources, paired with increased accountability tied to performance on high-stakes standardized tests with minimal, if any, consideration of more valuable determinants of school success. While the current American educational landscape is riddled with complex and often discouraging challenges, the silver lining might be that certain modern-day school variables, such as increasingly diverse student populations and the advent of digital learning granting unprecedented access to the world via technology, can serve as vehicles for stimulating changes. By embracing these trends, educators can empower students to become more active stakeholders in their own educational journeys and motivate them to continue learning outside the traditional classroom environment. Although, historically, good educators always have aimed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning in their students, modern educators face the additional hurdle of preparing students to become socially conscious, responsible, and contributing global citizens, not an add on, but as a given. Therefore, the role of a 21st century educator is more complex than ever before and encompasses far more than teaching compartmentalized content knowledge and requisite skills, going so far as to include character education, habits of mind, and encouragement of growth mindsets toward development of 21st century competencies. Costa and Kallick (2009) believed that character education is grounded in moral values, good citizenship, and thoughtful processes, which require schools to develop climates that foster thinking processes, just as they support development of students who are productive citizens with strong character.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Global Citizenship: A level of belonging to the larger global society beyond our localized lives characterized by a sense of social consciousness, shared responsibility, and motivation to contribute toward finding solutions to world issues and improving the plights of fellow global citizens.

Rigor: A high level of effort, competence, and skill required to complete a challenging task.

Habits of Mind: Dispositions or ways of thinking.

College and Career Readiness: Goals for PreK-12 learners to attain, presented as objectives for mastery deemed necessary for preparedness to enter college and the work force upon graduation from high school at the 12 th grade level.

Growth Mindset: A positive disposition or belief that we are capable of continual improvement as a result of effort and determination.

21st Century Competencies: Key thought processes and skills needed to modern learners for personal and professional preparedness to live and thrive in the modern world.

Collaboration: Shared goal setting, creativity, communication, effort, and responsibility toward teamwork endeavors.

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