Raising Global IQ: Preparing Our Students for a Shrinking Planet


A groundbreaking roadmap for improving global literacy and conflict-resolution skills in middle and high schools across the United States
In Raising Global IQ, Carl Hobert calls on K–12 teachers, administrators, parents, and students alike to transform the educational system by giving students the tools they need to become responsible citizens in a shrinking, increasingly interdependent world. Drawing on his nearly thirty years...

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Raising Global IQ: Preparing Our Students for a Shrinking Planet

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A groundbreaking roadmap for improving global literacy and conflict-resolution skills in middle and high schools across the United States
In Raising Global IQ, Carl Hobert calls on K–12 teachers, administrators, parents, and students alike to transform the educational system by giving students the tools they need to become responsible citizens in a shrinking, increasingly interdependent world. Drawing on his nearly thirty years teaching, developing curricula, and leading conflict-resolution workshops here and around the world, he offers creative, well-tested, and understandable pedagogical ideas to help improve our children’s GIQ— Global Intelligence Quotient. Cognizant of many U.S. schools’ limited budgets and time, Hobert advocates teaching foreign languages early in life, honing students’ conflict-resolution skills, providing creative-service learning opportunities, and offering cultural-exchange possibilities in students’ own communities, as well as nationally and abroad—all before they graduate from high school.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Across the political spectrum and around the world, people are touting the importance of Global Education. In this book, experienced educator Carl Hobert puts forth a thoughtful description of an education that is suited for our times.”
–Howard Gardner, author of Multiple Intelligences and Five Minds for the Future

“In our rapidly globalizing world, it is crucial that we prepare our students to be global-minded, whether by expanding access to world languages, integrating 21st century technology into the curriculum, or promoting the importance of serving others in the community and around the world.  Developing students’ global IQ is more than an aspiration – it is a necessity.”
—Carol Johnson, Superintendent of Boston Public Schools

“A persuasive call for updating educational standards to meet the challenge of globalization.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Hobert follows the powerful statement for a need for a Global IQ with practical chapters on how to redesign the teaching and learning environment.” —Choice magazine

"Brilliant, original, engaging, and hugely important book!"
—Edward M. Hallowell, author of Driven to Distraction

“Carl Hobert offers reasoned and informed proposals to address one of the most vexing and important problems of our time. Why do Americans in general know so little about other countries and other cultures?  How can we design our teaching and learning environment to better prepare students to live in an increasingly inter-connected and competitive world?  This is an important book for anyone who cares about—and fears for—our future.”
—Steve Bosworth, Dean of the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Former-Ambassador to South Korea, the Philippines and Tunisia, Special Envoy to North Korea
Raising Global IQ is a powerful statement of not merely the conditions of contemporary American education, but an insightful and thoughtful proposal for educational transformation. At the same time personal and theoretical, reflective and analytical, this volume places Carl Hobert in the forefront of American educators, and quite possibly as the person to draw up a genuinely inspiring blueprint for schooling in the 21st century.”
—Tom Cottle, professor, Boston University

Publishers Weekly
In this well-meaning but disjointed plan for curricular reform, Hobert, an instructor at the Boston University School of Education and founder of a conflict resolution nonprofit, argues for increased global education through five “curriculum upgrades,” including foreign language instruction, technology and media literacy, foreign travel, conflict resolution skills, and experiential education focused on service. The first part of the book focuses on language instruction, “technology and media literacy,” and boosting foreign travel and culturally based extracurriculars as necessary tools for combating post-9/11 fear and isolationism. The book shifts gears dramatically in Part II, turning attention to tools for teaching “preventative diplomacy” and opportunities for service learning. The ideas, though worthwhile, don’t build on each other as presented, and are therefore less convincing as part of a united plan. Likewise, Hobert relies heavily on laudatory personal anecdotes, all of which could have been condensed to make this the more useful “evaluation and strategic planning tool” that he claims he’s presenting. What readers and school leaders may find helpful is Hobert’s brief bulleted list of ideas for action at the end of each chapter explaining “What We Can Do Now,” and his urging schools to have a “Director of Global Programs” so these important ideas have a constant advocate in the battle for instruction time. Agent: Joanne Wyckoff, Carol Mann Agency. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Hobert, a Boston educator, proposes grading America's schools on how well curricula are training students in areas such as conflict-resolution skills and foreign languages, and encouraging travel abroad and service-related activities. "We have to use curricula in US schools to build bridges not moats," he writes. The author explains that at the time of 9/11, he was teaching French and Spanish in a Boston secondary school. He was dismayed by President George W. Bush's speech naming Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an Axis of Evil and distressed when suicide bombers in Jerusalem killed schoolchildren. This led him to create the nonprofit organization Axis of Hope. After reading the headline about the bombing, he decided to scrap his lesson plan for the day and conduct discussions with his classes on how the U.S. and other governments might intervene to defuse violence and lay a foundation for global peaceful coexistence. This spur-of-the-moment workshop was transformative. He decided that his vocation was to teach students how to think globally and to help create curricula for schools and community groups. Under the auspices of Axis of Hope, Hobert began conducting conflict-resolution workshops for middle and high school students and educators and teaching a course (Educating Global Citizens) at Boston University School of Education. Since the U.S. has the third-largest Spanish-speaking population in the world, and Mandarin Chinese is spoken by a majority of the world's population, the author proposes that these be incorporated in primary-through-secondary school education. Hobert weaves in a number of entertaining anecdotes about his own experience to illustrate his points. He describes traveling abroad with his parents, shepherding high school student trips and conducting a workshop about conflict resolution. A persuasive call for updating educational standards to meet the challenge of globalization.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807033210
  • Publisher: Beacon Press
  • Publication date: 6/16/2015
  • Pages: 224

Meet the Author

Carl F. Hobert is a clinical instructor in the Boston University School of Education. He also heads the Axis of Hope Center for International Conflict Management and Prevention, a Boston-based nonprofit organization that offers conflict-resolution simulation workshops for both students and educators in middle and high schools around the world. In this capacity, he lectures worldwide and hosts workshops for students and educators. Hobert earned a master’s in law and diplomacy from the Tufts Fletcher School. He lives in Wayland, Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt


Over a century ago, H. G. Wells wrote that “history is a race between education and catastrophe.” In many ways, education is winning that race. More people are literate, healthy, and well-nourished today than ever before in human history. Fewer people have died in wars over the past generation than during most comparable periods. The hands of the clock of nuclear holocaust have been turned back.
At the same time, the race has become swifter. Technology has knit the world more closely together. Global companies design, produce, and market goods and services with little consideration of national boundaries. Millions of people from one part of the world are migrating to another part. Once-underdeveloped countries such as China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey are now important powers. Their young people are far better educated than ever before.
Events in one part of the world that would once have had only regional impact now influence the lives of everyone on the planet.
Take the current crisis in the Eurozone. Financial, economic, and structural problems in the small nation of Greece, and to a lesser extent in countries such as Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy, could potentially derail the entire world economy. Whether or not today’s US high school and university graduates face bleak or upbeat employment prospects over the next several years could depend on decisions made in Berlin and Brussels, regardless of how well or how poorly policy is managed in Washington and New York.
For the past fifty years, thoughtful people have realized that more and more elements of our lives are becoming more and more globally influenced. Take climate change, the management of epidemic diseases, or the price of food. The forests of the American West are unprecedentedly fragile: tinder-dry, infested by invasive new species, and threatening to destroy entire communities. The H1N1 virus has faded from the headlines, but public-health leaders throughout the world continue to have nightmares that viruses infecting a flock of chickens or geese in China or Indonesia will mutate into an uncontainable human epidemic. The price of fish goes up and up as we fail to establish a meaningful and enforceable law of the seas to ensure sustainability. The list could go on and on, but the basic point is that the impact of global forces on our lives is so pervasive that almost every American is now aware that the world of our parents and grandparents has changed irrevocably.
 This is understandably disturbing to almost everyone. It is very challenging to manage these complex issues on a global basis. Most fundamentally, the system of global decision making continues to be dominated by sovereign nation-states with the mandate to look after their own interests. This is why, for example, it has been so difficult to find a solution to the Euro crisis. The ongoing gap between global forces and national power structures and identities demands that the next generation have the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to understand and influence multinational issues and groups in an informed and competent way.
Raising Global IQ: Preparing Our Students for a Shrinking Planet lays out a detailed and practical blueprint for how we can prepare our next generation of citizens with the tools they will need to sustain the optimism, freedom, leadership, and opportunity that have marked American life from its founding. We undertake this challenging task from a position of many strengths. First, we are a society that has always looked to a better future with a willingness to change yesterday’s patterns in order to achieve it. Second, we are the world’s most diverse and multicultural society, and virtually every neighborhood, town, and school in America provides, even demands, engagement with other languages and cultures. Third, the opportunity to travel and visit other countries has never before been more affordable or widely available. Once the purview of a wealthy elite, travel to other countries is now offered through many school programs, church groups, and even sports teams, often with scholarship or fund-raising or work options available. Social networking and technology are opening up whole new worlds of opportunity to engage with people from other countries. The overseas “pen pal” of yesteryear is being replaced by Facebook, Twitter, and cell-phone connections that can bring instantaneous audio and visual engagement with hundreds if not thousands of people around the world. And, as Carl Hobert points out, within the past decade or two we have already demonstrated how schools, communities, and households can incorporate transformational change in the way we have positively incorporated new technologies and increased diversity in our school curricula and our lives.
So we enter this period of great change with much strength, and the well-being of the next generation depends on how successfully we provide it with the knowledge and experience necessary for leadership in a global age. As Hobert points out, this can no longer be left for a select few to experience at the college and university level. The very best time to begin learning a second language, and indeed to begin engaging with people from other cultures, is at the preschool, kindergarten, and elementary levels.
Raising Global IQ provides a detailed and user-friendly compendium of both the general categories and specific activities that would enable a school administrator, a teacher, a parent, or a student to understand what the “end-game” of global competence looks like and what broadly needs to be done to get there, and it gives concrete examples of how others have improved the global IQ of their own communities.
Specifically, Hobert sees five areas where our schools will need to do things differently going forward if we expect to sustain our global leadership throughout the twenty-first century: 1) language and cultural fluency, including Chinese, Arabic, and other nonwestern languages, as well as the more traditional European languages; 2) technology and media as means to making international issues more alive in the classroom; 3) expanded international exchange programs and other forms of cross-cultural engagement; 4) problem solving and participatory case studies of global crises, such as the one currently taking place in Syria; 5) and service-learning opportunities, both here at home and through well-thought-out programs abroad.
Strengthening these curriculum and content areas would not only improve a school’s global IQ but would also enhance the school’s general problem-solving skills and the capacity to apply classroom learning to life experience.
Most schools are already doing most of these activities to a greater or lesser extent; they are not the monopoly of wealthy or advanced schools, communities, or families. Raising the global IQ of a school system need not cost a lot more money than is currently being spent or require radical reform of the curriculum or extracurricular activities. However, the global demands of the next twenty-five years will require that we better integrate and more systematically and consistently deliver the international components of our K–12 education. Hobert makes an important point when he suggests that school systems would benefit greatly from establishing the position of Director of Global Programs or International Studies to bring coherence and accountability to the raising of global IQ, just as we have so often done with educational technology.
 I would argue that the greatest challenge of the next generation will be managing global opportunities and challenges from a nationally based system of decision making. This will require young people with the global IQ necessary to produce positive results while working with individuals of different languages and cultures. America is well positioned to be able to do this, and the well-being of our country depends upon it. Carl Hobert, with Raising Global IQ, has provided us with an invaluable roadmap on how to prepare our childrenfor the new world they will inevitably inhabit.
—Charles MacCormack
Dr. Charles F. MacCormack is former president and chief executive officer of Save the Children Federation, Inc. He now serves as board chair of InterAction and as a director of Malaria No More.

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Table of Contents

Improving Our Schools’ Global Intelligence Quotient
Chapter One: Start with the Romance Languages
Chapter Two: Targeting an East West Balance
Chapter Three: Learning Goals First, Technology Second
Chapter Four: Travel Opportunities and the Fluency of Extracurricular Activities
Chapter Five: Case Study, Pt. I: Preventive Diplomacy
Chapter Six: Case Study, Pt. II: Role Play for Peace
Chapter Seven: Case Study, Pt. III: Going Global
Chapter Eight: Service Learning, Pt. I: The Power of Experiential Education
Chapter Nine: Service Learning, Pt. II: PEARS, Five Key Aspects of Service Learning
Chapter Ten: Global IQ & The Architecture of Educational Transformation
Works Cited

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