Globalization, Global Mindsets and Teacher Education

From Section:
Trends in Teacher Education
Nov. 02, 2020
Winter, 2019

Source: Action in Teacher Education, 42:1, 6-18

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

Developing Global Mindsets: Four Dimensions for Teachers and Teacher Education
The author states that clearly, the impact of globalization on teaching, education and the life chances of all students is significant, and oftentimes detrimental.
In what ways, she asks, should/can teachers interrupt—and resist—possible negative impacts of globalization on classrooms and learners, but instead use this phenomenon as a conceptual lens for ontological rethinking and pedagogical reframing?
She suggests that it is essential for teachers to develop (and for teacher education to cultivate) a global mindset.
This, she argues, is a small but significant first step that can enable teachers to become conscious of and transcend “the unabated mercilessness of global capitalism … [and] … neoliberal free market economies” (McLaren & Farahmandpur, 2001, p. 137), and reclaim their critical role in nurturing young people and future world citizens who are thoughtful, discerning, empathetic and empowered.
This global mindset can be theorized along four dimensions: the curricular, professional, moral, and personal.
The four dimensions are not hierarchical, nor does one supersede another.
Rather, they are all overlapping and complementary, at the same time that each has distinct features and a core purpose.

The Curricular Dimension
The author posits that the curricular dimension within a global mindset directs teacher educators to first of all, ensure that skills of curriculum making become an integral component of preservice teacher preparation.
Curriculum making empowers new teachers to lead the curriculum, and therefore learning, versus being mere curriculum implementers who are led by curriculum mandated by policy makers.
But curriculum making in/for a globalized universe is not simply the development of discrete lesson plans for tomorrow’s class or units of study around specific content, but must be guided and undergirded by larger questions that are philosophical (what knowledge is of most worth?); political (who has the power to decide worthwhile knowledge?); cultural (what values, beliefs and ways of knowing are privileged?); existential (how do we come to know ourselves?); and more.
And all these questions—of power, knowledge, meaning, identity—need to be investigated using a global lens that acknowledges, understands and forefronts the interconnectedness of people, places, practices and politics across nations.

The Professional Dimension
The author states that the professional dimension in teacher preparation means that teacher educators must redefine and expand what “professional” means when re-conceptualized from a globalization stance.
Notions of collective agency may conjure up images of mass strikes, political bargaining and union sponsored activity.
While these images are not untrue, they are not the focus or purpose of the professional dimension of a global mindset.
Rather, this dimension suggests that teacher educators more deliberately engage preservice teachers in reflecting upon, analyzing and clearly defining what it means to be a professional, not just in their local community, state or nation—the U.S., but in today’s global community where the status of teaching as a profession continues to be tenuous and undermined, where teachers often feel helpless to resist policies that are harmful to children, and where teachers themselves are battered by criticism, mistrust, and inadequate support at the same time that they are held up as the solution to the world’s ills.

The Moral Dimension
The moral dimension of a global mindset calls upon teachers and teacher educators to re-center their work on humanity and on social action.
The purpose of teacher education is not to ensure certified teachers but to ensure teachers who are ready to work with young people to tackle the world’s problems.
And while those world problems are “of the world,” they also are “of us,” such that the local and the global are reflective images, and one is tied to—and affects—the other.
The author posits that moral dilemmas should be embedded in teacher preparation curricula as a matter of course if we intend to nurture new teachers who actually teach children and not subjects (pun intended).
But teachers and their students are all in the “world stew” (Smith & Goodwin, 1997), and so every contemporary moral dilemma is automatically situated within a global context as fates and futures intertwine across multiple borders.
One cannot talk about immigration policies for one country, for example, without examining immigration policies across countries, global migration patterns and push-pull factors, climate change and global warming and their effect on personal as well as state economies, issues of culture and identity versus nationalism, etc.
Essentially, teacher preparation programs must become “global educational contact zones” (Singh & Doherty, 2004, p. 11), where teacher educators and teachers-to-be, wrestle with moral issues that lie at the heart of teaching, whether that teaching happens in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world, and that affect the lives and well being of all children in the global family.

The Personal Dimension
The author states that the final dimension of a global mindset for teachers is probably the most challenging to develop because it requires self work: self-reflection, interrogation and evaluation.
The global environment has become more complex and conflicted than ever.
The rise of populism and nationalism, the emergence of fake news as a persistent, daily phenomenon, ongoing refugee crises, widening income gaps, a loss of confidence in national leaders, xenophobia, digital crimes, and so on, are all shaping how each one of us thinks about, perceives and defines the world—and Other.
Teachers are not immune; we too come into our classrooms, whether K-12 or higher education, filled with values, beliefs, biases (mis)conceptions, expectations and tacit knowledge that inform and shape who we are and what we do.
Indeed, research on teacher thinking or cognition, variously termed expectations, beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, implicit theories, and so on (Pajares, 1992), does center on the ideas and conceptions that teachers bring into their practice from their backgrounds and lived experiences.
These personal understandings about learning and learners, social structures and meritocracy, racial hierarchies and class, have been shown to shape and influence decisions about instruction, students, curriculum, and privilege certain students and ways of knowing over others (Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Goodwin, 2010; Rios, Montecinos, & van Olphen, 2007).
The same applies to conceptions of globalization—what it is, what it means, and whether it is even an important aspect of curricula for youngsters or for teachers-to-be.
We cannot teach what we do not know.
We also will not teach what we do not value—and we might teach what we believe to be right, but actually isn’t.
A global mindset must necessarily include a personal dimension, the question is what does that personal dimension tell us and how do we vigilantly remain conscious of its messages?
In the author’s opinion this is not easy work, confronting ourselves is hard as we shed or revise the long-held “truths” that have governed our thinking and our actions.
It is also hard because we are not always able to see ourselves, to discern and make visible to ourselves what was previously not explicitly known or apparent.
The personal dimension of a global mindset develops through confrontation with other— the reflective mirror presented by other people, practices, ideas, norms and realities, that causes us to reexamine what we thought we knew.
Teacher preparation must become both a safe and an uncomfortable place for this self work.

A Global(ized) Teacher Education Community
The author concludes with a call for two actions that  teacher education community in the U.S. might take, to become
(1) global, and
(2) globalized.
Becoming a global teacher education community means our conversation needs to be expanded beyond the U.S. context, and beyond internationalization efforts.
A first step to becoming global might be to join (or convene) global conversations around teacher education, by, perhaps, substituting one local conference for an international one.
And not just to learn about what happens outside the U.S. (i.e., to add knowledge), but to learn through the practices of global peers (to change knowledge—what and how we know).
The author suggests that a first step to becoming globalized might be to use the U.N.
Sustainable Development Goals as a conceptual anchor for our teacher preparation curriculum, to focus our preservice students—and ourselves—on global challenges that affect every person on earth.
This might help our students deliberately build bridges between the holistic (and oftentimes generic) nature of learning to teach, with the very real issues we are struggling with as a world society, to use the power of education to ignite the ingenuity of young people to not just study the challenges we face, but to solve them.
The author states that dilemmas inherent in teaching and also in teacher education, are begging for collaborative inquiry among the international community of teacher educators.
Many of us are asking the same questions and struggling with the same challenges; in our separate countries we are imagining novel solutions and testing different innovations to shared problems.
There is much we can teach one another, and much we can learn and discover together.
In today’s global community, collective work and research must be the norm.
By cultivating a global mindset along the four dimensions, we can integrate the curricular, the professional, the moral and the personal, so as to attend to significant global questions of teaching and learning while simultaneously embracing our shared humanity and vulnerability.

Feiman-Nemser, S. (2001). From preparation to practice: Designing a continuum to strengthen and sustain teaching. Teachers College Record, 103, 1013–1055.issue-6
Goodwin, A. L. (2010). Globalization and the preparation of quality teachers: Rethinking knowledge domains for teaching. Teaching Education, 21(1), 19–32. 
McLaren, P., & Farahmandpur, R. (2001). Teaching against globalization and the new imperialism: Toward a revolutionary pedagogy. Journal of Teacher Education, 52(2), 136–150. 
Rios, F., Montecinos, C., & van Olphen, M. (2007). Lessons learned from a collaborative self-study in international teacher education: Visiones, preguntas, y desafios. Teacher Education Quarterly, 43, 57–74.
Singh, P., & Doherty, C. (2004). Global cultural flows and pedagogic dilemmas: Teaching in the global university contact zone. TESOL Quarterly, 38(1), 9–42. doi:10.2307/3588257
Smith, Y., & Goodwin, A. L. (1997). The democratic, child-centered classroom: Provisioning for a vision. In A. L. Goodwin (Ed.), Assessment for equity and inclusion: Embracing all our children (pp. 101–120). New York, NY: Routledge. 

Updated: Nov. 11, 2020
Curriculum | Global approach | Globalization | Teacher education