Why Global Competence?

With the students we teach becoming increasingly diverse and our world becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent, an integral part of a whole child approach to education involves instilling in students the attitudes, knowledge, and skills they need to live and work as citizens in a global society. It is vital, therefore, for educators to develop global competence in themselves and their students.

What Is Global Competence?

Global competence is the set of dispositions, knowledge, and skills needed to live and work in a global society. These competencies include attitudes that embrace an openness, respect, and appreciation for diversity, valuing of multiple perspectives, empathy, and social responsibility; knowledge of global issues and current events, global interdependence, world history, culture, and geography; and the ability to communicate across cultural and linguistic boundaries, collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds, think critically and analytically, problem-solve, and take action on issues of global importance.

Globally competent teaching requires teachers to embrace a global mindset and global knowledge and to translate their personal global competence into professional classroom practice. A globally competent educator develops global competence in themselves and has the ability to instill global competence in their students. This entails a set of dispositions, knowledge, and skills unique to the teaching profession.

Who Should Use the GCLC?

  • Inservice and preservice teachers and support staff of all grade levels and subject areas to reflect on their global competence as defined by the 12 essential elements.
  • School and district administrators to reflect on areas where their school or district could improve on providing relevant professional development, instructional coaching, curricular and instructional resources, and other support around teachers' global competence development.
  • Teacher educators to plan teacher preparation programs, courses, and activities to develop globally competent teachers.


The GCLC was developed as the Globally Competent Teaching Continuum in 2012–13 by a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Jessie Montana Cain, Jocelyn Glazier, Hillary Parkhouse, and Ariel Tichnor-Wagner.

The GCLC includes 12 theoretically and empirically supported essential elements: 2 disposition elements, 4 knowledge elements, and 6 skills elements. Teachers reflect on their global competence by rating themselves as nascent, beginning, progressing, proficient, or advanced for each element. The GCLC was developed and validated over two years in an iterative three-phase research design. In the first phase, a comprehensive literature review guided the identification of global competence elements and rubric development. In the second phase, the GCLC underwent extensive review by practicing teachers and field experts, was modified and then administered to teachers. In the third phase, the GCLC was modified according to the results of quantitative analysis and further expert review, which yielded the final version.


Funding for the original development of the Globally Competent Learning Continuum and online interactive tool came from the Longview Foundation. This was created in partnership with LEARN NC and World View. Ten classroom teachers served as global competence consultants: Yolanda Barnham, Matt Cramer, Maggie Garner, Nicholas Gattis, Alexis Gines, Chadd McGlone, Courtney Money, Krista Pool, Marriette van der Slujis, and Andi Webb. These consultants—who taught in a variety of grade levels, subject areas, and school settings—provided video demonstrations of their classroom instruction, video reflections on their practice, sample lesson plans, and suggested classroom resources and professional development opportunities.

For more information, contact global@ascd.org.