British Council Scotland's Acting Deputy Director, Lucy Young, outlines the many ways we can help teachers to embed global skills in their practice.
At the forefront of the Scottish Government’s International Framework is a commitment to help the people of Scotland become better skilled and equipped to engage in a global world. This is a commendable aim and it comes with substantial opportunities and challenges, particularly in light of current events.
As the UK looks towards a post-Brexit future, it is more critical than ever that our young people have the knowledge, skills and confidence to operate internationally. But how can we enable them to have the best possible chance of succeeding and contributing in a world that is becoming ever more interconnected and interdependent?
Recent British Council studies point to a present generation who are apprehensive about what Brexit might entail for their prospects. At the same time, 90% of large UK employers say that being able to recruit young people who are comfortable and competent across cultures is increasingly important.
We only have to think about the advantages of being able to negotiate a trade deal with another country from the position of having a real and lived understanding of its culture to understand the importance of these issues.
Language learning is crucial, of course. However, other skills have an important and increasingly interdependent role to play. These include: critical thinking, digital literacy, communication, creativity, leadership and citizenship. Teachers in Scotland encourage and develop these through their practice every day.
In turn, international interest in Scotland’s education system remains buoyant, largely driven by the innovative framework for developing 21st Century Skills provided by Curriculum for Excellence.
As Scotland’s celebrates the Year of Young People, we have a timely opportunity to reemphasise the many ways in which British Council programmes can bring the world into schools all across Scotland.
A range of international opportunities and resources are available through funded programmes, such as Connecting Classrooms, Erasmus+, eTwinning and Modern Language Assistants.
Each of these develops and enhances teaching practice and leadership skills. In addition, they provide a range of cross curriculum resources that support improved literacy and communication skills. Offering a motivational context for learning, programmes have been shown to improve learning outcomes, including for learners facing challenges with attainment.
In the coming school year our popular Connecting Classrooms programme will launch its next phase. Meanwhile, Erasmus+ will have significantly increased funding for 2018/19 applications and, importantly, the UK Government has committed to underwrite all successful bids for as long as a project is in place. We would strongly encourage you to get your applications in when they open this autumn.
If you would like to find out more, search online for Learners International or the British Council’s Schools Online website for the latest information on available opportunities.
And if you are at the Scottish Learning Festival this year, then come along and meet us at our stand. We would love to speak to you about how you can get involved in global learning and prepare yourself and your learners for a bright, international future.
This post first appeared in the September 2018 edition of Teaching Scotland, published by GTC Scotland.