Global Competence and the Afterschool Hours



The concept of 'global competence' has emerged as a goal for what youth need to know and be able to do today so they can succeed in the global economy and contribute as global citizens tomorrow. Afterschool trainers play an important role in helping young people become globally competent. In an ever-shrinking world, global learning needs to be infused throughout a student's day and become part of every aspect of their development into adulthood. To meet this goal, schools, afterschool programs, and community partners can each offer an array of global learning opportunities that intentionally support and build upon one another.


In order to develop high-quality global learning opportunities, educators need to know what global competence entails. Every young person should be able to:

  1. Investigate their world, including their immediate environment and beyond.
  2. Recognize their own and others' perspectives. 
  3. Communicate and collaborate with diverse audiences.
  4. Translate their ideas and findings into appropriate actions to improve conditions.

In other words, globally competent students possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to understand issues of global significance and act creatively to address them. Learn more about the four pillars of global competence, and join the discussion.

Getting Started with Global Learning in Afterschool Programs

Global learning is most effective when it builds on the existing connections we all have to others in our community and to the world around us. "Community Connections for Global Learning" can guide you as you begin to explore these connections. 

In addition to community connections that can support global learning, it is helpful for all afterschool staff to think about personal connections they can bring to this work. Some of these may elicit capacities that staff had not thought of as global expertise before. "Personal Connections for Global Learning" will help afterschool educators start to identify these personal connections. 

While none of us may be experts on global topics, we all know at least one thing about another country or culture. Together, as a staff, afterschool programs can explore the "Characteristics of a Globally Competent Youth Worker" to identify areas of competence as a team and prioritize specific areas of competence to build on. 

Taking Global Learning a Step Further

While the phrase or even the concept of global competence may be new to afterschool staff, it does not require advanced global knowledge or skills to begin facilitating global learning. It does, however, require a shared understanding of global competence and its value; strategies to develop an effective global learning environment; approaches to both creating global learning activities; and ways to help youth apply their learning to take action locally and globally.  

Asia Society's Partnership for Global Learning has developed a series of professional development opportunities to help afterschool trainers and staff embed global learning across their programs with youth. The Expanding Horizons guidebook makes a case for the importance of global learning and offers a range of ideas, examples, and resources for out-of-school-time programs. Our Expanding Horizons professional development program offers custom workshops for afterschool trainers and staff with hands-on modeling of effective practices. Interested in bringing global learning to your program? Please contact us to discuss the best workshops and materials to fit your needs: 212-327-9307 or e-mail education[at]


In what ways does your afterschool program allow youth to investigate the world, weigh perspectives, share ideas, and/or take action? Share your successes and provide inspiration for others in the comment board below.