As the incumbent ‘International’ Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinator I would like to think that I am internationally-minded and here are seven magnificent reasons why:
1. I was brought up in West Africa.
2. In my adult life I have lived and worked in Kenya and Peru.
3. My favourite food is Sushi.
4. My ‘top tipple’ is a glass of Argentine Malbec.
5. I’ve travelled around the world (and I have a GCSE in German!).
6. I support the most global of football teams – Manchester United.
7. I’m a Geography teacher!
In reality, to think that I am internationally-minded for the reasons outlined above is to be ‘internationally-blinded’ on my part, as to be internationally-minded is to have a particular mind-set and a particular worldview; luckily we do our best to promote that mind-set and worldview at Taunton School.
So what is ‘international-mindedness’? The IBO (International Baccalaureate Organisation) define it as:
“The ability to interpret and analyse issues from different perspectives through the lens of inter-cultural understanding and a respect for others.”
As our students move into the workplace (which is what we are ultimately trying to prepare them for) they will need the capability to operate in a world, which despite ‘Brexit’, is only going to become more closely connected throughout the Twenty First Century; they will also need to be able to work with individuals of differing nationalities and cultures. Increasingly, multi-lingual employees are becoming ever more sought after as are those who have demonstrated their adaptability and flexibility through carefully planned GAP years.
So are our students more internationally-minded than me and will they be able to succeed in the changing economic world of the Twenty First Century? I believe that they are, and they will, as they should be capable of embodying the following seven winning (and may be slightly secret) traits of international-mindedness:
1. A knowledge, understanding and appreciation of different cultures.
2. Increased self-awareness.
3. Increased empathy.
4. The ability to collaborate with peers from different backgrounds.
5. A deepened knowledge and understanding of Global Issues.
6. The ability to see themselves as ‘Global Citizens.’
7. Improved language skills.
IB Coordinator and Head of Geography