Do We Need Educators with a Global Perspective?

Is globalization shrinking the world, or is the growing global population expanding beyond the world’s capacity to support it? Are doors opening, or are walls being built? 

With these complex global questions increasingly defining our world, it is clear that we have a critical need for educators whose vision stretches beyond borders. The laws of physics, chemistry and biology are uniform, and recognized universally. However, rules associated with the social sciences are (happily) diverse, and messy.

Alexandra Hanlon, a UK native, teaches 4th grade at North Star Academy charter school in Newark, New Jersey through the Teach USA program.

At Cultural Vistas, we are honored to support and advance global education through a variety of initiatives.

Going Global in U.S. Classrooms

In 2016, our growing Teach USA program brought international teachers to K-12 classrooms in 13 states and Puerto Rico to share their culture and teaching styles with young Americans.

While international educators gain valuable experience abroad through the program, it is the American students who benefit from the global perspectives all these teachers share in the classroom. Teachers like Czech citizen Pavel Novak, who encourages his students at Connecticut’s South Kent School to form their own opinions about contemporary issues and Adam Weston from the UK, who teaches geography to a majority-Hispanic charter school in San Jose, California.

Hailing from Jamaica, France, Philippines, Germany, Ethiopia, Spain, China, Ireland and the Netherlands, these teachers introduce American young people to maps, cultures, food, language, politics, history, and current events of other places they will know better when they grow up (and, when they take their place in the American workforce).

Teaming Up For Higher Ed

Our support of global education goes beyond Teach USA. As in, our support for exchanges of staff and faculty in institutions of higher education. The demand for global opportunities by the current generation of college students continues to grow at a rapid pace. Study abroad, work abroad, and volunteer abroad –experiencing an overseas destination in a meaningful way – is something every university has to provide to its customers.

An example of our support is Cultural Vistas’ involvement in the TeamUp Initiative, a multi-dimensional approach to support higher education exchanges with Japan sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation. We encourage all institutions of higher education to provide more opportunities to partner with their overseas counterparts – check out the TeamUp Road Map at for guidance on building these relationships – and, we invite you to visit our website to see the progress made by institutions which have been awarded TeamUp seed grants.

Learning from New Perspectives

Exchange is two-way, bilateral, cross educational, and mutually-beneficial. In 2016, Cultural Vistas welcomed a group of German teachers of American studies and social studies, selected and sponsored by the Atlantik-Bruecke Stiftung to the United States, in October to get a first-hand view of issues important to the American public. Economic revitalization, the state of education, the Presidential campaign, media, and American views on the transatlantic relationship were key topics. But the major takeaway was the American approaches to dealing with an influx of second-language immigrants and refugees to the classroom.

While national governments make headlines debating how to address the movement of refugees across borders, it is the teachers – in both nations – that have to deal with integrating young people into the classroom – and into their respective societies. This visit reminded teachers from both nations that this task is not easy, in most cases, not enjoyable, but hopefully, rewarding in the long run.

Given all of the challenges and opportunities Americans young and old face, you have to ask yourself: do we need educators with a global perspective? 

It’s your call. And, it’s our mission.


Learn more about the impact of our work to strengthen the ties that unite people and communities around the world in our 2016 Annual Report.