Preparing Globally Competent Teachers: A New Imperative for Teacher Education

Nov. 01, 2010

Source: Journal of Teacher Education, 61(5), p. 422-431. (November 2010).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

Globalization has already affected our economic, social, and cultural life significantly.
The impact of globalization is only going to deepen and the consequences will be more broadly felt. In this article, the author discusses the challenges globalization may bring to teacher education.

Globalization brings many challenges to schools, from delivering an education that will help their students succeed in the globalized world to meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. To meet these challenges, schools need teachers who understand the implications of globalization, are able to effectively work with the increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse student population, and deliver a globally oriented curriculum.

In the age of globalization, teachers are affected by education in other nations.
They face an increasingly diverse student population in their classrooms. They need to become globally competent and global citizens. In addition, their own profession is affected by international migration as well as a growing number of schools recruiting teachers from other nations (American Federation of Teachers, 2009), and a growing number of teaching jobs becoming available in foreign countries.

Preparing Teachers for the Age of Globalization

To prepare teachers to teach in the context of globalization is the job of teacher education programs, which have been traditionally oriented to their local contexts.
Furthermore, the increased attention on standardized curriculum and testing in schools makes it difficult for teacher education programs to expand their curricula to include courses and experiences needed to prepare globally competent teachers.

The author describes some essential elements of a plan that prepare teachers to teach in the globalized world.
1. Policy Advocacy - For the sake of our children, we need to emphasize the importance of global education at the national, state, and local levels.
2. Cultural Reorientation - Teacher education profession should shift its thinking from serving the local community to the global.
3. Articulating Expectations - Such expectations can serve as a guiding framework for a coherent and systematic experience we can offer future teachers.
4. Program Realignment to the needs of education in the age of globalization. There is another level of program realignment: the preparation of specialized educators for global education. Teacher education programs should expand their scope of preparation.
5. Comprehensive and Coherent Experiences. The plan should include a comprehensive and coherent curriculum that maps out the courses, experiences, and activities aimed at preparing globally competent teachers. Teacher education programs need to work with other units across the campus to devise such a curriculum.
6. Global Education Partnerships - Three types of partnerships are needed to deliver a comprehensive and coherent global education program: university-wide partnerships, P-12 schools and community partnerships, and international partnerships.


We need to help our children develop the appropriate skills, knowledge, attitudes, and perspectives in order that they can live successfully and peacefully in this globalized world. This requires a new generation of teachers who are able to act as global citizens, understand the global system, and deliver a globally oriented education. To prepare this new generation of teachers, we need a teacher education system that is globally oriented.

American Federation of Teachers. (2009). Importing educators: Causes and consequences of international teacher recruitment. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.

Updated: Mar. 21, 2012