Mrs. Dunbar’s India Club

California has done much to become globally competent (see below), but for my Fifth Grade Room 9 Kids at Lincoln Elementary School, in addition to creating and participating in many global projects (e.g. Cultivate World Literacy, Human Differences), I created a special student site for my Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms to India called “Mrs. Dunbar’s India Club.” We are learning a little about India before my trip, and then students will have direct access to me during my trip via this website so they can ask questions while discovering India with me.


Why Teach Global Competency?


Global Competency Resources for California 

World Languages

In California, World Language instruction is guided by the World Language Content Standards for California Public Schools (2009). California schools have developed a wide variety of opportunities for students to study World Languages and develop global competencies including dual language, two-way bilingual immersion, maintenance bilingual immersion, and elementary transitional bilingual programs. A course in world language is one of three options to satisfy a high school graduation requirement and both the University of California and the California State University systems require two years of the same language other than English for admittance. California was the first in the nation to issue a formal “Seal of Biliteracy” to graduating high school students who demonstrate proficiency in two or more languages. This program was first implemented in 2012. Due to a large English learner population, our state is a leader in English language development theory and practice and is home to many advocacy organizations for bilingualism.

Programming funded by the Confucius Institute and the STARTALK Language Program have been instrumental for the growth of Chinese language programs throughout the state.

The CDE administers the Exchange Visitor Program for educators from Spain and Mexico to teach in K-12 districts. All participants in the program meet the state’s teacher credentialing requirements. Several universities in California have MOUs with China, which enable them to recruit native Chinese speakers to teach in higher education, including teacher training programs for K-12.

Teacher Preparation and Professional Development

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing develops requirements and issues all credentials for the Single Subject Credential in Languages Other Than English. California requires language teachers to demonstrate integrated language skills, cultural knowledge, linguistic knowledge, first- and second-language acquisition, bilingual contexts, and other related knowledge and skills. Many California State University and University of California programs offer credentialing programs in world languages.

Additionally, some schools of education are beginning to add global education or themes to their programs. For example, San Diego State University’s (SDSU) College of Education has an office for their Global Cultural Experience program which promotes study abroad and global projects for future teachers and some programs require students have brief teaching experiences in Mexico.

The University of California hosts the California Subject Matter Projects, a network of nine discipline-based statewide projects that support on-going quality professional development for teachers. Activities and programs are designed by university faculty, teacher leaders, and teacher practitioners to improve instructional practices and lead to increased achievement for all students. Globally focused projects include:

  • The California International Studies Project has six regional sites that offer institutes and workshops focused on global issues, cultural and historic knowledge, 21st century learning skills, interdisciplinary studies, and equity and access for all students. Additionally, they host the Contemporary World History Project activities, which are online international relations simulation exercises that combine teacher development with active student participation.
  • The California World Language Project has seven regional sites that support efforts to involve every language teacher in a supportive professional community that respects diverse ideas, provides opportunities for leadership, promotes linguistic and cultural competence and advocates for the retention, expansion and articulation of world and indigenous language offerings across educational levels, beginning in the elementary grades.
  • The California History-Social Science Project has six sites dedicated to increasing the achievement of all students through a research-based approach that focuses on historical and social science content with disciplinary understanding, critical thinking, and the development of student literacy, all aligned with the Common Core State Standards and the History-Social Science Content Standards for California Public Schools. They offer programs and provide curriculum in many areas including world history and publish Current Context briefs that help students put national and global current events in their appropriate historical context.

The California Language Teachers Association serves teachers through an annual conference and other symposiums to provide extensive professional learning opportunities, grants for teachers, job postings, and awards.

The California Geographic Alliance, hosted by San Diego State University and National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education, works with educators across the state to promote geographic literacy and global competence.

Afterschool/Extended Learning

The California Department of Education’s (CDE) After School Division manages After School Education and Safety and 21st Century Community Leaning Center grants that require academic enrichment components determined at the site level (i.e., art, science, cultural awareness). An example of a cultural/world language-focused program is provided by Ruby Bridges Elementary School in Alameda, California. Their Learning Enrichment Academic Pride and Self-Esteem After School Program offers “Passport Fridays” where students “travel” to a different country each month. Instructors teach cultural aspects of these countries (i.e., dance, diet, and arts). They also offer a “Diversity Showcase,” where families are invited to bring food from their culture to share and the students dress in their traditional clothing, dance, and sing songs in many languages.

Workforce Development

Career Technical Education is a high priority for California. The CDE’s California Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards (2013) provide a practical way to prepare students for the challenges of a changing world by helping them learn step-by-step the real-world skills they need for college and careers. The Standards for Career Ready Practice reflect the level of preparation expected by business and industry, labor, community agencies and organizations, and postsecondary educational entities. One of these standards emphasizes the need for students to “work productively in teams while integrating cultural and global competence.”

The California Legislature and Governor created the California Career Pathways Trust Development Grant that will have provided $500 million dollars in competitive grants in 2014 and 2015 to establish or enhance career pathway programs for K-12 students. These grants connect school districts, county superintendents of schools, charter schools, and community colleges with business entities. In the first round of grantees, three programs have a global education focused pathway: Los Angeles School of Global Studies, the School of Global Media Arts at Fremont High School in Los Angeles, and the Globally Responsible Environmental Education Network (GREEN) Pathway at Bell Gardens High School in Montebello.

Additionally, California is a member of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21). Their Framework for 21st Century Learning emphasizes several interdisciplinary themes that should be woven into core subjects including “Global Awareness.”

For at least 30 years, the California Chamber of Commerce has strongly focused on world affairs and international trade issues. The Chamber was an energetic advocate for legislation in the California Legislature to establish the California Subject Matter Projects as statewide professional development networks and was an active proponent of the P21 legislation also authorized by the State Legislature.

Common Core

Both the World Language Content Standards for California Public Schools and the California Common Core State Standards (CA CCSS) describe expectations to ensure all students are college-, career-, and world-ready and recognize that success in an interconnected world depends on students’ effective use of language and cross-cultural communication skills. The four strands in the CA CCSS are captured in the Communication area of California’s World Language Standards. Extensive work has been done to align the World Language Content Standards to the CA CCSS. The Occidental College World Language Project has developed useful tools for world language educators to make connections with the CA CCSS. The CDE-developed Content Literacy for the Technical Subjects CA CCSS Professional Learning Module includes suggestions for incorporating the CA CCSS in world language instruction.

California International Studies Project professional development and student programs are aligned with the CA CCSS and promote literacy skills development through instructional strategies and resources. For example, San Diego State University’s International Studies Education Program hosted “Global Connections: Sustainability and the Common Core,” a week-long institute in 2014 that presented sustainability topics of 21st century global significance (i.e., environmental footprint, invasive species, climate change) from different interdisciplinary perspectives and various viewpoints using strategies to enable all students to successfully meet CA CCSS requirements.


California Chamber of Commerce Global Resources

California Council for the Social Studies

California Geographic Alliance

California History-Social Science Project

California International Studies Project

California Language Teachers Association

California State University International Programs

California World Languages Project

The Center for Global Education – CA resources

Global and International Studies Program – UC Santa Barbara

Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE)

Los Angeles World Affairs Council

San Diego World Affairs Council

World Affairs Council of California Central Coast

World Affairs Council of the Desert (Palm Springs)

World Affairs Council of Inland S. California (Riverside)

World Affairs Council of Monterey Bay

World Affairs Council of Northern California (San Francisco)

World Affairs Council of Orange County

World Affairs Council of Sonoma County

Case Studies

San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is leading plans to equip students for their future in the interconnected world of the 21st century. Their World Language Plan assists districts in preparing all students for living and working in a global economy through “Global Workplace Readiness.” SDCOE hosted a panel discussion guided by research on effective schools shared in the publication, Biliteracy for a Global Society: An Idea Book on Dual Language Education, by Dr. Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, 2000. View the video.

Santa Clara County Office of Education supports the goal of cultivating global competence for all students to succeed in the 21st century in their Educating for Global Competence initiative and provides a Biliteracy and World Language Tool Kit.

In the 2011-2012 school year, Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s (SMMUSD) Edison Language Academy Dual Immersion Elementary School celebrated its Silver Anniversary as a dual immersion school, where all students learn to understand, speak, read and write in both English and Spanish. Edison provides students with the first step in the SMMUSD Language Academy, which continues at John Adams Middle School and Santa Monica High School to provide graduates the opportunity to develop their language skills from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Santa Monica’s dual-language academy is showcased in this video narrated by Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier and directed by Andy Lauer.

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, Broadway Elementary School’s Mandarin Immersion Program is designed so that students achieve academic proficiency in both English and Mandarin and become bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate. UCLA’s Confucius Institute brings Mandarin to Broadway Elementary in Venice, CA in this video.

In Imperial Valley, California, the Coexisting Languages: Reading Bilingual Books with Biliterate Eyes project of San Diego State University instituted afterschool reading cooperatives where 100 elementary school families and teachers dialogically read bilingual books. The project’s outcomes suggest that parents whose children attend schools in which literacy programs are enriched with the community’s linguistic wealth and knowledge become active participants of the learning process; this parental participation seems to help students in their academic performance.

California State University, Los Angeles administers the M.Y. S.P.A.C.E. (Multinational Youth Studying Practical Applications of Climatic Events) international collaboration of K-12 students engaged in self-selected research projects on the local impact of global environmental issues. Students work with their own, trained teachers at their school sites using both locally generated and satellite-based remote-sensing data. Teams from each school meet at the annual Satellites & Education Conference to discover global trends in their collective data and present their findings.

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This blog is not an official U.S. Department of State blog. The views and information presented are the grantee’s own and do not represent the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program, IREX, or the U.S. Department of State.