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Global Education

Global Competency: Flexibility

Readying students for postsecondary opportunities means helping them hone their flexibility, communication, and critical thinking. Profiles of career-ready students, like North Carolina’s Portrait of a Graduate and Participate Learning’s ten global competencies, include these as vital skills students need upon graduation. As an educator, you play an important role in nurturing these essential competencies in your students.

That’s why Participate Learning has created a series of blog posts focusing on global competencies to provide a more detailed definition and practical resources to integrate into your teaching instruction and overall school culture. The global competency we will look at in more depth here is flexibility. Flexibility is a fundamental skill students need to thrive in academics as well as in their adult lives.

Why flexibility matters for career readiness

In an increasingly interconnected world, individuals need to adapt to different cultures, perspectives, and ways of thinking. Flexibility allows students to navigate diverse environments with openness and adaptability. It enables students to communicate effectively across cultures, work collaboratively in diverse settings, and solve complex problems that require a range of perspectives.

Flexibility is also a key skill employers value, as it demonstrates an individual’s ability to handle change and uncertainty in the workplace. It enables students to quickly learn new skills, pivot in their career paths, and thrive in dynamic work environments that require continuous adjustment.

Flexibility and critical thinking also go hand in hand, encouraging students to consider multiple perspectives, think creatively, and shift their problem-solving strategies based on different scenarios. It enhances their ability to analyze complex situations, make informed decisions, and innovate in various contexts.

Students can also develop resilience through flexibility, equipping them to navigate obstacles and overcome setbacks, both in the classroom and later in life.

Ultimately, more flexible students will thrive in environments that require rapid adaptation, continuous learning, and dynamic problem-solving. Students will be better prepared for a modern workforce and society as adults with these global competencies.

Growing flexibility through practical applications

One effective strategy for promoting flexibility is exposing students to diverse perspectives. By immersing students in different cultures, traditions, and viewpoints through various mediums like literature, art, and discussions, educators can broaden understanding and nurture empathy. Participate Learning’s Global Leaders framework empowers all educators to integrate global teaching practices into their existing curricula, like fostering inclusive classrooms that naturally cultivate flexibility in understanding diverse perspectives and cultures. Guest speakers, cultural events, and virtual exchanges also provide firsthand experiences that encourage students to appreciate diversity and enhance their adaptability in multicultural contexts.

Incorporating problem-based learning into the curriculum is another proactive approach. Real-world challenges and open-ended tasks compel students to think critically, collaborate with peers, and adjust their problem-solving strategies based on evolving circumstances. By embracing ambiguity and exploring multiple solutions, students develop the cognitive flexibility necessary to tackle complex problems and navigate uncertainties effectively.

Moreover, engaging students in role-playing activities and simulations can help them cultivate flexibility by stepping into different roles, adopting various perspectives, and honing their decision-making skills. These dynamic exercises encourage students to consider alternative viewpoints, practice negotiation techniques, and enhance their ability to adapt to changing scenarios with agility.

Ultimately, by integrating these practical strategies and lessons into their teaching approaches, educators empower students to embrace change, overcome obstacles, and thrive in a diverse and fast-paced world. Developing flexibility not only equips students with essential skills for academic success but also prepares them for the complexities of the modern workforce and the challenges of an interconnected global society.

Check out more of Participate Learning’s blog posts that focus on applying global competencies! We would love to hear how you are helping your students understand global issues and developing their durable skills. Connect with our community on social media using #UnitingOurWorld.

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