Lecturer encourages educators to think globally

Abi Luempert

Including an international component in education systems is important to compete globally in the future, said Jeffrey Beard, director general of the International Baccalaureate Organization.

Beard presented his lecture, “Tipping the Balance from National to International Education,” last night in the Kiva as part of the Gerald H. Read Distinguished Lecture Series.

“U.S. education systems must increasingly include an international component,” Beard said.

He listed math, science, foreign language and critical thinking skills as those necessary for improving the education system.

These skills are becoming more important as we move toward a “knowledge economy.” A knowledge economy is one based on theoretical knowledge. This knowledge must be attained through academic achievement, Beard said.

The bar is being raised, and the skills necessary for today’s jobs cannot be learned through apprenticeships anymore, he said.

Linda Robertson, director of the Gerald H. Read Center, said the consequences of not being internationally focused have been felt in Ohio through the withdrawal of steel mills and automobile manufacturing.

Beard cited a study that shows American children go from above average in terms of education before eighth grade, plateau in eighth grade and fall behind by the time of high school graduation.

“Students are getting dumber as they go through schools, to put it bluntly,” he said.

Putting more focus on international aspects will broaden students’ knowledge, which is imperative for improving education.

Understanding the importance and differences of culture, as well as encouraging critical thinking skills and participating in community service were some of the essential elements of international education that Beard listed.

In order to make progress toward a more international education, students must go through three steps: international awareness, global awareness and global citizenship.

“Recognizing other cultures, valuing them and actively seeking them out is a very important part of becoming a global citizen,” said Diane Hutchison, diploma international baccalaureate coordinator of Withrow International High School in Cincinnati.

Contact College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Abi Luempert at