Preparing teachers for diverse K-12 contexts: Exploring global citizenship and teacher education coursework in Australia

Year: 2017

Author: Thomas, Matthew, Banki, Susan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
Amidst increasing transnational flows and concomitant impacts of globalisation (Appadurai, 1996; Nederveen Pieterse, 2015; Waters, 2001), there have been calls for the development of 'global citizens' who are able to navigate the uncharted terrain of an interconnected global society (Camicia & Franklin, 2011; Wagner, 2008). Education is often touted as the means of producing these global citizens and creating more internationalised spaces (Altbach, Reisberg, & Rumbley, 2009). Yet, scant literature has examined the ways in which future teachers-those with arguably the most potential to influence cadres of future citizens-are exposed and empowered to cultivate global mindsets amongst their future students in K-12 settings. This is particularly true amongst universities in Australia. This paper therefore aims to address this gap through an investigation of 'globally-engaged' course units offered in teacher education programs that prepare teachers for K-12 contexts in Australia. Pre-service teachers who graduate from these programs indeed have an immense ability to influence the perspectives and mindsets of their students. What type of citizenship will they encourage?

The paper draws on a theoretical framework grounded in critical globalisation studies and the teacher education literature to explore how teachers are exposed to global themes and challenged to critically reflect on the types of citizens that K-12 schools should be developing. The research included two primary phases of data collection and analysis. The first phase involved mapping teacher education units across the Go8 universities that address global themes. The findings from this phase suggest the power of regulatory frameworks that structure and constrict learning experiences for future teachers related to global citizenship. The second phase included a coding exercise utilising critical discourse analysis (CDA) to examine the units themselves. This phase explored conceptualisations of 'global citizenship' and ancillary concepts towards greater clarity of how future teachers are encouraged, or not, to engage with broader socio-political, cross-cultural, and economic forces of globalisation in the K-12 contexts in which they will eventually teach. The findings from this phase suggest limited expose to nuanced understandings of these global themes and the ways in which they might be of import to future teachers. The paper concludes with a call for future research and policy that addresses the increasingly globalized contexts in which teachers work, and greater attention to the modes of producing 'global citizens' across teacher education and K-12 levels.

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