In the rapidly changing world, teachers need to equip their learners with life-long skills which will help them fit the global changes. Now English is the language of international culture and commerce and as current and future global citizens, students must learn how to deal with global issues in English using a blend of social, cognitive and emotional skills and competencies.

Global skills can be grouped into five clusters, all of which are relevant to the ELT context:

  • communication and collaboration;
  • creativity and critical thinking;
  • intercultural competence and citizenship;
  • emotional self-regulation and wellbeing;
  • digital literacies.

Here are  some techniques which help to develop these skills

Communication and Collaboration 

This skill can be developed through model think-pair-share. The idea is that students are always asked to compare their answers in pairs while doing this or that activity. This stage might only take 15 to 30 seconds in total but the benefits are huge because it leads to communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and students increased confidence and motivation. Please follow the link to read more about the think-pair-share technique.

Students can be asked to work in pairs or small groups to solve some ethical problems, for example, “You have a colleague who is involved in company espionage. Would you inform your management or speak to him on your own?”. The learners need to communicate in groups to find a solution to this problem and support their answers. They need to actively listen to their peers and show empathy to them. These skills are vital in becoming a global citizen. 

Read more in this article. 

Creativity and critical thinking

To develop their creativity students should have opportunities to share their experiences and ideas in a supportive atmosphere so they can also develop self-confidence to freely express these thoughts.  They can be asked to come up with projects in groups or pairs (set up a company, organize an advertising/marketing campaign for a well-known company, etc.)

As for critical thinking, activities should be introduced that teach students how to critically evaluate information. Teachers can introduce essay topics or have them read paragraphs about climate change, politics or other issues that affect society, and then discuss these themes in the classroom.

Intercultural competence and citizenship

An English language class is an ideal setting for students to develop these skills as they have multiple opportunities to study another culture and compare it to their own.

For example, if the lesson is about what a person from a particular country has for breakfast, the teacher could list the items of food on the board and then ask students to say which ones are similar or different to what they would have for breakfast. The teacher could supply the English equivalents for the local food items. This could then be followed up by students using both lists to create their ideal breakfast.

Emotional Self-Regulation and Wellbeing

This skill is one of the fundamental skills that ensures the formation of a global citizen. Emotional balance can lead to a high level of concentration while doing a certain language activity which in its turn leads to good results. 

Here is an example of a task to develop this skill: when asking for a piece of work that might typically be in written form, such as a book report, summary, the final product of a project, etc., teachers can give the option of doing it as a video recording. This pushes students not only to develop their digital literacy skills but also be emotionally secure since they can take their time to prepare the video, to choose the vocabulary they want to use, to re-record it for as many times as necessary to reach the desired result. 

Digital Literacy

Technology has become an integral part of modern life. During language classes, we can give students opportunities to use technology to solve problems and be creative. Here are some activities which prepare a digitally literate ELT student.

  • Use social media for learning and collaborating. For example, Facebook* or LinkedIn groups can be used to connect and collaborate with their peers. Teachers can create group chats for the students to share information, audio resources, videos, etc. 
  • Guide on how to avoid plagiarism. For example, students often copy ideas and use phrases they find online without providing proper reference to the original sites. Follow this link for more information on plagiarism. 
  • Provide authentic contexts for practice. For example, when teaching students about the importance of managing their online identity, they can be assigned to research themselves online to find out what a potential employer would see. This can be followed up with a discussion about their findings, and have them list some of the things they were proud of as well as some of the things they’d like to change. This can be a great lesson idea for Business English lessons. 
  • If yoiu want students to become sophisticated users of technology, it’s important to guide them out of their comfort zone. For example, some students may be quite good at communicating in short and distinct paragraphs and hashtags on Twitter or Instagram*, so moving out of their comfort zone will mean sharing their opinion through a more lengthy blog post. If they are good at blogging, they can experience video journals or podcasts.

Read more in this article. 

All the mentioned activities can be a great way of developing global skills through English lessons and they can be developed in parallel with each other.

*Instagram belongs to Meta Platforms Inc., whose activities are recognized as extremist and banned in the Russian Federation.
*Facebook belongs to Meta Platforms Inc., whose activities are recognized as extremist and banned in the Russian Federation.
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