The educator identifies a discussion protocol appropriate to the classroom context and one that will engage students in thinking critically. The educator facilitates student participation in a small-group discussion that involves critical thinking about a global topic, concept, or issue, and facilitates a reflective debrief of the experience.
The small-group discussion protocols recommended below are designed to engage students in critical thinking by applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information and ideas. The small-group setting and structured discussion format calls on students to think deeply, contribute their thinking to the conversation, listen attentively, and respond thoughtfully to one another (see “How to Build Effective Collaborative Groups,” “Group Work and Group Discussion,” “Formative Assessment: Collaborative Discussion,” and “Think Time and Collaborative Learning” in the Resources section).
Critical thinking is an essential element of global competence. In order to understand the complex and interdependent nature of world events and global issues, students must think critically about the historical forces that have shaped our current world system and the myriad conditions that fundamentally affect diverse global forces, events, and issues. As they become more globally competent, students learn to question prevailing assumptions and to apply critical, comparative, and creative thinking to understanding and solving problems. In short, students must think critically in order to explore the world, examine its complexities, and make sense of them (See the Resources section for more information).
The use of small-group discussion is a collaborative and constructivist teaching method widely recognized as a high-yield, best-practice instructional strategy (Zemelman, Daniels, and Hyde, 2005; Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock, 2001). When students are engaged in participating through meaningful contributions to a small-group discussion, they are more actively involved in thinking and learning. Small-group discussions promote inquiry, higher-order thinking, cooperation, and student responsibility, all of which have been shown to increase student achievement (Hattie, 2009). Small-group discussions engage students in critical thinking, working collaboratively, and communicating effectively, all of which are hallmarks of deeper learning (Vander Ark and Schneider, 2014).
Global competence refers to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions individuals need to be successful in today's interconnected world and to be fully engaged in and act on issues of global significance. The Global Competence Task Force defined globally competent individuals as "those who use their knowledge and skills to investigate the world beyond their immediate environment, recognize their own and others' perspectives, communicate their ideas effectively with diverse audiences, and translate their ideas into appropriate actions" (see link below).
Example Global Competence Frameworks
Example Global Issues
The discussion strategies below are widely used by educators across the field. The following organizations provide helpful explanations of how they work through written descriptions and illustrative videos:
Small-Group Discussion Protocols
The items in this following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 and a “Yes” for Part 2.
(500-word limit total):
Please submit a video or audio recording of students participating in the reflective debrief at the end of the discussion (maximum length: three minutes) OR written reflections from three to five different students that demonstrate how the discussion helped them understand the global issue from multiple perspectives (maximum length: three pages).
(750-word limit total):
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)