Global Competencies in Education

There is much discussion about global competencies in many sectors, including in education. International research literature highlights the importance of these essential competencies in preparing for life in today’s global society.

global competencies education

So what exactly are these competencies?

Being able to work in collaboration with others, to communicate effectively, to use creativity and imagination, to think critically, and to act as a responsible citizen are some of the most common skills that are cited. Aspects of character development that highlight self-regulation, self-confidence, self-evaluation, and empathy are also recognized as foundational to creating social and economic value.

For the past several years, I’ve been privileged to lead a team in researching the impact of technology-enabled instruction and learning on student engagement and achievement as part of an Ontario Ministry of Education initiative. Central to this work was examining how the development of global competencies is being addressed.

What did we learn?

Some highlights from our research findings:

  • Overall, there is positive acknowledgement at all levels of the Ontario education community that the competencies are needed for living in the global community.
  • Research-based knowledge about global competencies is becoming more evident in practice and more impactful on student engagement, learning, and achievement. As educators engage in a diverse and exciting range of initiatives that are fostering deeper learning and enhancing pedagogical practices, they are promoting and incorporating the global competencies into their efforts.
  • Technology is facilitating the development of these global competencies as it affords students with opportunities to foster their curiosity, to engage in learning tasks that build independence, and to promote their creativity and entrepreneurial thinking.
  • As students are active members of a learning community, they become fully participating global citizens, who are able to transfer their acquired competencies to life in an ever-widening digital world.
  • Educators are embracing new pedagogical practices as they work collaboratively with peers and are shifting their instruction to accommodate student voice and leadership. They are supporting more inquiry-based classroom environments where students can embrace a more self-directed approach to their learning, by empowering them to inquire into their own driving questions, by having them connect with their community, and by encouraging them to work independently and interdependently. As a result, students are taking more pride in and responsibility for their work.
  • Educators are enlarging the focus of their professional learning to include ways and means of measuring student achievement within a context that models and promotes global competencies.
  • There is growing recognition that leadership at all levels of the system is fundamental in building a strong community for learning and growth. Students, teachers, and system leaders are now using the language of global competencies, as reported in international literature, in their dialogue, in their daily learning, and in future planning.

I invite you to read more about these exciting developments in supporting instruction and learning in Ontario schools at

By Pauline Beggs

Pauline B&W PortraitPauline is a former teacher who has worked for more than 35 years in the area of learning resources development and implementation across Canada. Pauline is responsible for the development of learning resources and for recruiting and training various subject experts to be evaluators. Pauline has been with CSC since 1997.

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