Global Crises, Social Justice, and Teacher Education

Apr. 02, 2011

Source: Journal of Teacher Education, 62(2), p. 222-234. (April, 2011)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this article, the author argues for a broader understanding of globalization and its effects and point to some implications that this has for teachers and teacher educators.

Understanding Globalization  

Thus effective teaching requires that teachers understand students, their communities, and their histories where they live now, and also that we understand the sum of their experiences before they came to the United States.

First Principles
There are some key principles that are significant in this regard.
In order to understand education, we need to situate it back both into the unequal relations of power in the larger society and into the realities of dominance and subordination that are generated by these relations.

Furthermore, we need to see the world through the eyes of the dispossessed and act against the ideological and institutional processes and forms that reproduce oppressive conditions.

The restructured role of the researcher and teacher educator is crucial to the task of a more invigorated and critical teacher education.

The Tasks of the Critical Scholar/Activist in Education

In general, there are nine tasks in which critical analysis (and the critical analyst) in education and teacher education must engage.

1. The author claims that one of critical analysis' primary functions is to illuminate the ways in which educational policy and practice are connected to the relations of exploitation and domination in the larger society.
Thus, educators and especially the educators of current and future teachers are required a firmer foundation in global realities.

2. The aim of engaging in critical analyses is to examine critically current realities with a conceptual/ political framework that emphasizes the spaces in which more progressive and counterhegemonic actions can, or do, go on.

3. The author argues that we need to redouble our efforts at compelling descriptions of existing critically democratic teacher education programs and of their effects in creating deeply committed and successful teachers of all students.

4. The author claims that we can give back the practical and intellectual/political skills by employing them to assist communities in thinking about this, learning from them, and engaging in the mutually pedagogic dialogues.

5. In the process, critical work has the task of keeping traditions of radical and progressive work alive. This includes keeping theoretical, empirical, historical, and political traditions alive and also extending and (supportively) criticizing them.

6. journalistic and media skills, academic and popular skills, and the ability to speak to very different audiences are increasingly crucial (Apple, 2006). 

7. Critical educators must also act in concert with the progressive social movements their work supports or in movements against the rightist assumptions and policies they critically analyze.

8. The critical scholar/activist in teacher education and in other areas of education also needs to act as a deeply committed mentor. She or he should demonstrate through her or his life what it means to be both an excellent researcher and teacher and a committed member of a society that is scarred by persistent inequalities.

9. Finally, participation also means using the privilege one has as a scholar/teacher/activist.
Each of us needs to make use of our privilege to open the spaces at universities and elsewhere for those who are not there.

The author concludes that he hopes teachers and teachers educators will help ensure that these movements and counterhegemonic activities in teacher education and in the schools and communities such programs ultimately serve are made public and that we honestly ask ourselves what our roles are in supporting the struggles toward the long revolution.

Updated: Mar. 18, 2013