One of the most interesting aspects of Cambridge Global Perspectives is its emphasis on teaching skills, rather than particular areas of subject knowledge.
A big advantage of this is that these skills are useful beyond Global Perspectives: in other subjects, in students’ personal lives, and even for Higher Education and employment. We call these sorts of skills ‘transferable skills’. They are not specifically linked to competence in a particular subject or job role, but that is what makes them so powerful: they are skills that are common to a number of different areas and can be transferred between them.
There are three main types of transferable skill that Global Perspectives is good at developing:
Here are some tips on how you can build each one into your AS and A Level teaching.
Skills Across Global Perspectives
Global Perspectives teaches students that skills work best when they are transferred. There are four main areas of skill on the Critical Path for AS and A Level:
Each of these skills on the pathway builds on the one before. The best way of organising the course is to respect this. For example, you might start with deconstruction but then return to it later so that students can use it to compare and evaluate different arguments for reconstruction.
Reflection often relies on combining both deconstruction and reconstruction, and communication is about putting across the whole of the Critical Path in the most effective possible format.
Once students see how these different skills work together, they will begin to get a sense of how powerful it is to be able to apply each of them effectively.
Skills for Other Subjects
Students hopefully won’t fail to notice that they are being asked to do the same things in Global Perspectives that other subjects are asking of them: writing essays for example, or giving presentations.
Even if they don’t, you should point this out at an early stage. It will help them to see the wider relevance of the course and get them thinking about what they are doing in Global Perspectives – even when they are in other classes. But even as you do this, it is important to acknowledge the differences as well as the similarities.
The importance of a clear introduction and effective conclusion in an essay will never change, and coherent paragraphs will always start with a topic sentence which reflects its content.
In short, the good essay writing skills students develop in their Global Perspectives essays can carry across to essay writing in other subjects. However, not all subjects will require essays that explore different perspectives, or questions that focus on evaluating debates.
Highlighting this and discussing the differences with your class will help them to develop another transferable skill: the ability to evaluate which skills are relevant in other contexts.
Skills for the Future
Some of the skills students learn in Global Perspectives will be useful at school and even more useful at university: writing essays, referencing sources or giving presentations. Students will also have had to develop the ability to think critically about different ideas, solve problems, work collaboratively, be flexible, study independently and be sensitive to other people’s experiences and views.
Some of these are assessed directly by Global Perspectives, but others represent qualities that are not directly tested, but will be developed by students as they progress.
All of these softer skills will make your learners more effective students, and also more efficient employees and human beings, in the interconnected twenty-first century world.
Think about where each part of the course is giving students the opportunity to practise these skills, as well as prompting them to assess their own effectiveness and how far they have come.
Once they are doing this, your students may come to realise that Global Perspectives is only the start of a learning journey that is likely to continue for the rest of their lives.
About the author:
David Towsey is a Head of Learning at Crawley College and is an experienced teacher and educational consultant. He is also the author of our Cambridge International AS & A Level Global Perspectives and Research series. For more teaching guidance for this subject, explore our coursebook and teacher’s resource.