GM+IC at a Catholic School - is that truly possible?
James Hatch

Following on from my last post, I would like to bridge what some believe is a gap between Catholic education and Global Mindedness and Intercultural Competency (i.e. GM+IC). 

A more in-depth exploration of these educational perspectives reveals the great potential for their cohesion. Gravissimum Educationis, as noted previously, asserts parents are the primary educators of children and schools enablers of that relationship. Specifically, Catholic schools are to be of service, regardless of the Church’s status in the given community. The Catholic school must seek to serve and, as Grace (2016) notes, be a place that has roots and critical openness. Indeed, our shared roots guide us as we continue to evolve and critically engage with an ever-changing world.

Globally, there have been calls from various bodies to ensure schools are more ‘globally minded’ and develop ‘international competencies’—terms that carry a high emotive response but, as of writing, remain elusive. Somewhat ironically, despite the lack of agreement on the terms, numerous tools claim to help a school identify those areas of GM+IC it needs upscaling on. However, none of these tools offers a framework that unpacks ‘how’ a school can develop and enact GM+IC. 

Starting this year and my new role as GM+IC Coordinator, SIS has taken up the challenge of being ahead of the curve and formally recognising global mindedness and intercultural competencies as pivotal to international education. 

Thankfully, at SIS, we have a clear vision within the Gospels and the mission handed to us by the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Both vision and mission shape how we understand and implement global mindedness (GM) and intercultural competencies (IC). At its core, GM seeks to ensure a curriculum does not tell a single story but instead reflects the collective thoughts, achievements, challenges and opportunities that is humanity, its interaction with this planet and life upon it.

Giving GM meaning and action is IC. 

Starting at a personal level, IC are those dispositions and skills that enable us to grow as individuals and contribute meaningfully to our community. Moreover, IC seeks to provide us with the tools for working with others who may have different ideas/beliefs than us. When these tools fail, IM offers us reflective dispositions to recalibrate our thinking and approaches to relationships. 

A significant idea in GM+IC is that a teaspoon-sized change is sometimes all that is needed. By selecting to enact teaspoon-sized ideas, dispositions or changes, we can, at an individual level, contribute to the wellbeing of the planet and all who rely upon it for sustenance. 

Selected References:

  • Grace, Gerald. (2016). Faith, Mission and Challenge in Catholic Education.

  • Gravissimum Educationis. 

  • Hughes., Conrad, (2017). Understanding Prejudice and Education. The Challenge for Future Generations.

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