Preparing middle and high school students to succeed after graduation requires a well-rounded, robust education. Whether students’ postsecondary plans include going to college, entering the military, or starting a job, they need the critical skills to succeed in a fast-paced world.
Providing diverse learning experiences to help students hone their skills and explore their interests requires input from the entire school community.
At Participate Learning, we believe global education is the key to preparing students for a modern workforce. By integrating global issues, current events, and global competencies into existing school priorities, the Global Leaders framework ensures that students are ready for postsecondary opportunities.
North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction, in collaboration with thousands of educators across the state, has created the Portrait of a Graduate. The Portrait identifies not only academic success, but also seven durable skills students need in order to thrive: adaptability, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, empathy, learner’s mindset, and personal responsibility.
These seven essential skills can be cultivated through a global education, starting the moment students enter kindergarten and continuing through graduation from high school. Below, we go into detail about how students grow in these skills when they have a globally focused education experience.
Students with adaptability demonstrate flexibility in challenging or complex situations. They can see an issue from multiple points of view. They are able to show resilience in the face of setbacks, difficulties, and criticism.
Students who are exposed to global perspectives and diverse cultures build their adaptability throughout their schooling. As they experience people, places, and ways of life that are different from their own, students learn to respect the diverse perspectives of others.
Collaboration and communication
No matter what postsecondary opportunities students are pursuing, the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively with others will be part of their success. Students who are global citizens can interact with people from other cultures respectfully and consider other points of view. When students have a global perspective, they work more effectively with others and collaborate to solve problems with coworkers.
Critical thinking skills are essential to career readiness, according to the World Economic Forum’s Top Ten Skills of 2025. Critical thinkers are able to analyze information, solve complex problems, and make informed decisions based on evidence.
In a Global Leaders classroom, students are encouraged to look at the world with a critical eye, questioning assumptions and digging beyond face value. Using action-driven learning experiences, students help solve real-world problems while building academic skills.
Empathetic students demonstrate understanding, sensitivity, concern, and respect for others. They value and embrace diverse cultures and unique perspectives. They are willing to learn about and engage with people who have experiences and beliefs different from their own.
Global citizens don’t ignore or minimize significant variations in cultures or beliefs, but, rather, they respect the rights of others and recognize their intrinsic worth. A global education builds empathy as students are taught to value and respect differences in others.
Students with a learner’s mindset embrace new ideas, demonstrate growth, and persist through challenges. They are able to translate their knowledge into a variety of contexts and have a positive attitude about learning.
Students with a learner’s mindset take responsibility for their perspectives and push themselves to learn more about the world. As students develop this mindset, they will begin to understand that an individual person’s worldview is shaped by many different factors, such as geography, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status, among others. They recognize that they are always learning about the world and the people in it.
Students with a strong sense of personal responsibility take ownership of their decisions and recognize how those decisions impact others beyond themselves. They adhere to a set of core values that are evident in their choices and actions.
Students who are both responsible and globally competent are poised to become changemakers in their future careers and to make the world a better place. They understand the causes, impacts, and connections between global issues like poverty and equity, and want to solve challenges that impact their community and the world.
A global education builds the skills students need to succeed in their postsecondary opportunities and prepares them to lead in an interconnected world. Global citizens have the empathy, critical thinking, adaptability, and communication skills not only to thrive as adults but also to make the world a better place.