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The Sciences are Global Competencies

Climate change, population growth, pandemic diseases, nuclear arms proliferation, pollution. Green technologies, new mobility systems, and advances in biotechnology. The global science classroom is a powerful place for students to explore the implications of these worldwide problems and opportunities.

Globally focused science classrooms form an environment where students learn science from interdisciplinary and global perspectives. Global case studies engage students in problem-based learning tasks and scientific investigations founded on research in scientific literature. Students investigate complex biological, chemical, physical, earth-environmental, and human systems, recognize and consider the power of divergent perspectives, communicate about science effectively with diverse audiences around the world, and translate their scientific ideas and findings into actions that make a difference in their local community and the world.

As scientific innovation becomes increasingly cooperative rather than competitive among nations, the role of language, symbols, tools, technologies and processes of science inquiry and literacy are foundational to understanding and advancing science knowledge. Science inquiry shows students how to initiate the inquiry, design and conduct experiments, present and analyze data, interpret results and draw conclusions. Science literacy teaches them how to discuss a science-related issue, put the issue into context, conduct research, develop and support a thesis, discuss the implications, and communicate about the work.

Science offers the potential for medical cures, and for doing things better and faster with fewer materials. But science also can be at the center of complext interreelationships between scientific results, unforseen consequences, and ethical, legal, and social impliations. To understand the impact of global issues—and their current solutions—students need experiences of questioning current scientific understandings and technological practices, engaging with scientists around the globe and collaborating on potential solutions to existing problems.

In a globally focused science classroom, students learn to think like scientists. They observe natural phenomena that cause them to wonder, ask their own questions and test their ideas. When they interpret their data, new questions arise, leading them into focused, purposeful research of the literature andn further inquiry.

The result is students who can understand, analyze, apply, and evaluate existing scientific knowledge in the context of global cultural perspectives, politics, economics and history. Students learn to ask essential questions: How are the results of each action changing the global system dynamics? What are the complex interrelationships between local causes and worldwide effects? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Are we reflecting on the known impacts and inquiring into the unknown effects? Students probe for deeper understanding and reflect on the results and unforeseen consequences of scientific progress. They take a position, argue it, and take innovative actions that make a difference in the world.

Download a free sample of GPS materials in Science and other disciplines here (linked).

To learn about Asia Society's professional development opportunities for teachers and leaders in global competence, contact Kate Farmer [[email protected]].