Content Module 1: Globalization and Global Competence

3 Global Competence

One of the key objectives of a 21st century education is to build students’ understanding of and ability to engage with a global world — in other words, build their global competence. Global competencies are necessary to not just be a successful student, but they are also important professionally. This is because we all live in an increasingly interconnected world, and it is likely that students need to know about what is happening around the globe for their academic and professional work.

What is ‘global competence’?

Have you ever come across the term ‘global competence’?

Reading comprehension tip: When you come across a key term or a concept, sometimes also a collocation, it can be helpful to break it down into its component parts and understand each part individually. Then, put the words back together and see what unique or special meaning arises from locating the words together in a specific order.

  • The word ‘global’ comes from the noun ‘globe’, which is another word for the Earth or the world. The word ‘global’ is an adjective and describes something that relates to the whole world.
  • The English word ‘competence‘ evolved from the Latin term ‘competere’, which means ‘to be fit’ or ‘to be proper’.[1] A dictionary may define the term ‘competence’ as ‘having the ability, knowledge, or skills to complete a task successfully’. In other words, ‘competence’ refers to the ability to do something well.

When you put the two words together, they take on a special meaning. What do you think ‘global competence’ refers to?

The Asia Society, an international non-profit organization, lists four domains of global competence. Watch this video produced by the Asia Society to learn what those four domains are.[2].

Listening and Reading Comprehension Task

Stop the above video at 0:10. Now, analyze the structure of the information presented on the screen. How many levels of information do you see, moving from the most general to the most specific? Sometimes, these ideas are identified as main ideas, major ideas/details, and minor ideas/details. You may use that approach[3] as well to identify the different levels of information here.

According to Manislla and Jackson (2013)[4], globally competent students have the ability and the knowledge to investigate the world using interdisciplinary tools, recognize diverse perspectives and worldviews, communicate their ideas across languages and cultures, and take appropriate actions to address issues of global and local importance.

Mansilla and Jackson (2013) provide a framework for ‘global competence’ with the following detailed in which they cover key aspects of globally competent students, in terms of their skills, abilities, and dispositions.

Framework for Global Competence by Mansilla and Jackson (2013)

Reading Comprehension Task

Analyze further the structure of the information presented in the above infographic. How many levels of information do you see now, moving from the most general to the most specific?

Based on the two sources of information provided in this chapter, including from such sources as the video and the infographic, who are globally competent students? What are the four tasks that globally competent students have the ability to carry out?

Recognize your own perspectives: Reflect on what you have learned

Mansilla and Jackson (2013) list four key characteristics of globally competent students: 1) the ability and the knowledge to investigate the world using interdisciplinary tools, 2) recognize diverse perspectives and worldviews, 3) communicate their ideas across languages and cultures, and 4) take appropriate actions to address issues of global and local importance. Based on this description and the details in the infographic, would you consider yourself as globally competent? Why/Why not?

Communicate ideas through in-class discussion

Once you decide what your position is–whether you see yourself as globally competent or not, you should be able to share those perspectives informally in the class through discussion with your classmates and the professor. When you discuss your perspectives and express a position, make sure to provide some details to support that position using ideas from the video and/or the infographic along with your own knowledge.


  1. A useful strategy to improve your academic English vocabulary is to understand the history of the academic word. Try to find out about the origin of the word and how the original meaning evolved into the present meaning. An easy way to find out how a word evolved is to look up the 'etymology' of the word.
  2. To see the original source of this video and related information, go to https://asiasociety.org/education/what-global-competence.
  3. The limitation of such as an approach is that it allows the reader to identify only a limited number of levels (for example, three), whereas a piece of text may have more levels of information.
  4. As you prepare for college coursework, you will complete assignments where you will need to make references to external sources of information and cite them accordingly. This is an example of how to paraphrase information from another source and cite the authors of the original information correctly using a format called APA. When you make a reference to another source in your own writing, you should also provide a complete reference at the end of the assignment. In this case, the complete reference is: Mansilla, V. B., & Jackson, A. (2013). Educating for global competence: Learning redefined for an interconnected world. Mastering Global Literacy (5-27). New York: Solution Tree.

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Global Competence Copyright © by Rashi Jain. All Rights Reserved.

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