Colleges of education around the country are partnering with non-profit organizations in unique ways to advance their internationalization goals. For example, World Savvy created a Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program in collaboration with Teachers College at Columbia University and Asia Society, available to classroom teachers across the United States.
Each college of education has its own leadership style, way of doing business, and community of learners within their faculty. Because of these hallmark personalities, legal and accreditation complexities, and historically ingrained approaches, cross-institution collaboration can be especially challenging. As with any project, formal partnerships of this kind require well-defined roles, respect for deadlines, agreement on a common approach for tackling the work, and even formal agreements such as memoranda of understanding.
Internationalization efforts in colleges of education can often be the result of internationalization at the campus level - either in cooporation of or as a directive from a president or provost who understands the importance of the process. The Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement at the American Council on Education has been supporting campus-wide internationalization efforts for over a decade.
Faculty development in colleges of education is a necessary step to develop a culture within the college that is supportive of internationalization efforts. In an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Madeline Green stresses “I tell presidents, if they have any money at all for internationalization, faculty development is the place to put it."
Faculty are key in any change initiative in any discipline, and internationalization of teacher preparation is no exception. Faculty juggle numerous commitments and demands on their time. In order to be encouraged pursue globally focused activities, they need to be incentivized so their efforts pay off and contribute to their long term professional goals. Different options can offer opportunities for staff to pursue these efforts.
College-Based International Centers
In the absence of campus-wide internationalization efforts, advisors are a critical link. can encourage students to choose internationally focused electives and other requirements. Advising about international options for undergraduate students is a major need in teacher education programs.
Some institutions and institutional collaborations are creating certificate programs that focus on building global knowledge, skills, and dispositions of future teachers. These programs also act as laboratories for materials and course development that benefit all teacher candidates.
The importance of scientific literacy to well-informed 21stcentury citizenry is paramount. Teachers who bring a global perspective to the study of science help their students understand that the field is rooted in research and discovery that dates back to ancient Greece, China, and the Islamic world.
Globally-oriented physical education teachers bring games, sports, and dances from around the world, as well as non-Western practices such as yoga, tai chi, and karate into their classes. Teaching students why and how these activities developed in a particular context can enrich their understanding of the world, while developing their physical skills.
Courses that focus on specific content areas provide the most direct avenue for helping future teachers learn how to integrate knowledge of the world into their teaching. All subjects, not just social studies and languages, can be taught with the world in mind. Learning to do this well, to go beyond “food, flags, and festivals,” takes time, reflection, and guidance. It requires support for teacher candidates to deepen their knowledge of global issues, world regions, and cultures, and to learn new pedagogical practices they may not have experienced as students.