Global Issues Lab

World Languages Project: “Global Portals”

Directors: Beth L. Goldstein, UK Dept. of Educational Policy Studies and Jacque Van Houten, World Language & International Education Consultant, KY Department of Education

“Global Portals” Implementation Lab will address the critical needs to internationalize P-20 education, with a focus on the teaching of world languages and cultures. For an increasingly interdependent world, Kentucky’s students must be educationally prepared to address movements of people, media integration, economic shifts, and environmental challenges. Groups such as the Chief State School Officers Organization, the National Education Association (2010) and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills are urging states to take action to increase learning in foreign languages and cultures critical to our nation’s global participation and competitiveness. Kentucky lists World Language as one of the critical shortage areas for teachers and students (See Appendix 2). This is leading to changes for college and career readiness in KY’s state curriculum requirements for both high school graduation and college admissions – changes that may soon challenge students to strive for proficiency in world languages and cultures. These changes will in turn demand development of new curricula, teaching materials, and assessments, changes in how we prepare new teachers and provide professional development for in-service teachers, and advances in technologies for globally-linked classrooms. All these must be research-based changes, research that is not currently being done.

We will use the teaching of Chinese language and culture as the initial focus for this Global Portals lab because of new initiatives already begun in this area. This starting point will enable us to pilot an integrated P20 model of language/cultures curriculum development, assessment, technology implementation and professional development. As will be detailed below, collaborations are in place with university, state and community partners. Pilot projects have already been funded and initiated that provide us with an implementation potential to test models for scalability to larger populations and other languages. The Global Portals lab aims for this model to become a platform for comparable work in other world language and cultures. The emerging network of school districts, higher education institutions, and state education agencies working together to establish innovative, baseline programs will put Kentucky in an excellent position to obtain additional extramural funding to sustain this initiative.

In its initial two years, the lab will address the following critical issues within the above contexts:

Issue 1: World language requirements for P-12 graduation and university admission

As requirements for world language proficiency change in Kentucky, we will need new curricula and world language and culture assessments that can be coordinated P-20.

Issue 2: Credit for proficiency versus seat time.

With educational trends that encourage independent student learning and stress

standards and proficiency-based teaching and learning, granting credit by proficiency in lieu of seat time is becoming more common. Kentucky is positioned to take a leadership role in such initiatives nationally.

Issue 3: Chinese as a critical need language.

In Kentucky, as in much of the nation, there is a critical need for innovative models of extended, well-articulated P-20 Mandarin Chinese language programs with the teaching expertise to lead learners to a high level of proficiency.


The following goals delineate the overall objectives of the Global Portals Lab as it works toward models for scalability.

1. Develop internationalized curriculum and assessments pathways for P-20

· Develop a curriculum map to be proficiency based and articulated with higher education admissions requirements, degree and study opportunities in world language and cultures with Chinese as the pilot

· Provide professional development for teachers to create and use Chinese language proficiency assessments at elementary, middle and high school levels

2. Target underserved populations through technology, visiting teachers and study

abroad opportunities

3. Provide services for academic, business and community stakeholders including

professional and workforce development, enrichment materials, and global exchanges

4. Integrate research with practice initiatives

5. Involve high school students, undergraduates and graduate students in the outreach and research activities of the lab.

Ecuador Project: “Connections and Collaborations to Meet Local Problems & Global Challenges in Education”

Directors: Katherine McCormick, associate professor, UK College of Education Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling

The United States is becoming increasingly diverse (U.S. Census, 2000) and is anticipated to be even more diverse with the largest growth in Latino and Hispanic populations. No where does this diversity have more impact than in the nation’s schools. However, many teachers and school districts have limited resources to meet the needs of this diverse population, especially those children and families for whom English is not their first language (i.e. English Language Learners). Therefore, this planning laboratory seeks to facilitate a partnership among educators in central Kentucky and in Santo Domingo, Ecuador to develop an authentic and innovative approach to this issue using evidence-based models of communication, collaboration and consultation.

Building on the work of our partner, Shoulder to Shoulder Global, Lab faculty traveled to Santo Domingo, Ecuador in April 2010 to explore and investigate opportunities to extend the work of Shoulder to Shoulder Global to education. During that visit Drs. Alicia Fedewa, Joan Mazur, and Katherine McCormick visited with school principals and teachers and observed instruction in a number of local schools and early care and education programs. Classroom observations also occurred at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) in Santo Domingo. During these visits, UK and PUCE faculty agreed to a joint collaboration in the schools (preschool and k-12) in Carlos Ruis Burneo and to facilitate connections and collaborations among our students (at PUCE and UK) with students and faculty in our partner p-12 schools.

During the April visit Lab faculty and partners developed a menu of options for participation of multiple stakeholders (students and teachers in KY school districts, undergraduate and graduate students and faculty in the COE and other UK or community colleges). Four are offered in this preliminary planning. However, it is anticipated that during the planning phase of this project, other experiences may be developed. The experiences are designed to benefit a large number of participants. Lab #1 is the broadest in scope but requires travel; lab #2 is more focused but can be experienced from the student’s own home or classroom using distance education technology. Lab #3 provides an opportunity for participants from all levels (high school through graduate school) to participate in an interdisciplinary education brigade to deliver educational services . Lab #4 would serve as a three month summer abroad experience for graduate students to work in the Carlos Ruis Burneo schools.

There are two purposes of the proposed activities: (1) to develop engaged and authentic educational experiences which will have a direct impact on local and global participants; and (2) to produce sufficient information about the experiences to attract future resources and funding. The over-arching goal of the lab is to develop a plan to support the participation of high school students and teachers from central Kentucky schools districts and their peers in schools in Carlos Ruis Burneo, Ecuador; in partnership with UK and PUCE College Of Education students and faculty in building international connections and collaborations (including service-learning) to promote positive learning experiences for near and far participants.


Updated by on July 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm

College of Education University of Kentucky College of Education