Teacher Professional Development with a Global Focus

Where will continuing education take you? Photo: mihaicalin/iStockPhoto.com.

To develop world-wise students, educators need opportunities to deepen their own international content knowledge. There are a vast array of resources for lifelong and professional learning. 

University Offerings
Most universities, colleges, and community colleges have faculty members with deep international knowledge with whom teachers can connect.  Title VI area studies centers receive federal funding to promote the study of world regions. They offer professional development to teachers and to disseminate teaching resources nationally. Some schools are fortunate to be close to a university that offers professional development for teachers in international studies. With the Internet, distance is hardly a barrier. Most universities offer programs online, through their own websites (see Ohio State Univeristy's Global Education Program or Yale University's Programs in International Eudcational Resources) or through portals, like Merlot.org, OutreachWorld.org, NCTAsia.org, just to name a few. Many universities post courses on iTunes U  or YouTube.


Numerous education and international affairs organizations offer conferences and workshops to develop teachers’ international knowledge and skills.  For example, the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia offers seminars in 46 states to encourage teaching and learning about Asia. The Partnership for Global Learning hosts an annual conference offering two and a half days of professional development activities for K-12 teachers.


A potent way for teachers to develop a more global focus is through international travel that enables them to bring back cultural, linguistic, and historical knowledge. Fulbright programs, Rotary Clubs, and other organizations offer funding opportunities to support teacher travel.

Other places to find travel opportunities:

School Visits

As the saying goes, seeing is believing. An effective school visit needs proper school selection, preparation, and post-visit evaluation. The Partnership for Global Learning is offering school tours at schools across the country.

Language Study

Pick up another language. There are many immersion, summer, and travel programs designed for educators. Several are highly subsidized. The STARTALK program is a good place to start.

Lifelong learning for educators is critical--but so is the time needed to plan, implement, and review how these new knowledge, perspectives, and skills are integrated into teaching and student learning.

Do you know of a great professional development resource related to global learning? Please share in the comment space below.