ERIC Identifier: ED384601
Publication Date: 1995-07-00
Author: Merryfield, Merry
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teaching and Teacher Education Washington DC.

Teacher Education in Global and International Education. ERIC Digest.

Over the last two decades there has been increasing concern that American schools are not preparing young people to participate effectively in a world characterized by human diversity, cross-cultural interaction, dynamic change, and global interdependence. In the 1980s the National Governors' Association (1989) pointed to inadequate teacher preparation in global education and international studies as a major obstacle in the ability of the United States to meet the economic, political and social challenges of today's world. Today teacher education in global and international education is mandated by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (see 1995 NCATE Standards [1994]) and addressed through many activities of professional organizations such as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Association of Teacher Educators, and the National Council for the Social Studies.


Global education develops the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are the basis for decision making and participation in a world characterized by cultural pluralism, interconnectedness, and international economic competition. Growing out of such fields as international relations and area/international studies, world history, earth science, and cultural/ethnic studies, the field of global education recognizes that students must understand the complexity of globalization and develop skills in cross-cultural interaction if they are to become effective citizens in a pluralistic and interdependent world. International education provides knowledge, skills, and experiences that come from in-depth study, work, and collaboration in education in other countries and with international students and scholars in American institutions.

Teaching with a global perspective differs in some ways from traditional approaches to studying ourselves, other peoples, and the planet:

* In teaching about cultures, global educators focus as much on cultural universals, those things all humans have in common, as they do on cultural differences. Cross-cultural understanding, open-mindedness, anticipation of complexity, resistance to stereotyping or derision of cultural difference, and perspectives consciousness--recognition, knowledge, and appreciation of other peoples' points of view--are essential in the development of a global perspective (Case, 1993; Hanvey, 1975; Kniep, 1986).

* The world is seen as a system in which technological, ecological, economic, social, and political issues can no longer be effectively understood or addressed by individual nations because the issues literally spill over borders and regions. The organization of curricula does not separate world cultures or regions but brings them together through study of contact, borrowing and diffusion of ideas, antecedents to current events, and comparative themes and concepts. Persistent global issues such as land use, peace and security, and self-determination are examined across time and place (Anderson, 1990; Kniep, 1986).

* Study of local-global connections leads to recognition that each of us makes choices that affect other people around the world, and others make choices that affect us. Because of this interconnectedness, global education includes knowledge and skills in decision making, participation, and long-term involvement in the local community and in the larger world beyond our borders. Students learn to find and process information from multiple perspectives (Alger & Harf, 1986).



Global knowledge. Teachers need "global" knowledge about the world in general as well as content specific to the subjects they teach. For example, a language arts teacher not only studies literature from diverse cultures in different world regions but also learns about the historical contexts and cultural/political perspectives from which the authors wrote. Teacher educators work with colleagues in other disciplines to identify academic coursework in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences so that preservice teachers have adequate foundational knowledge and inservice teachers have access to new, emerging knowledge in their fields (Merryfield & Remy, 1995).

Cross-cultural experiences. Simulated as well as personal cross-cultural experiences at home and abroad are a significant part of global and international education. Study tours, student and faculty exchanges, semesters abroad, work with international students in American universities and schools, and student teaching in other countries or within different cultures in the United States are some of the ways teacher educators build cross-cultural knowledge, develop skills in cross-cultural communication, and motivate teachers to teach from a global perspective (Gilliom, 1993; Wilson, 1982). Simulations such as BaFa BaFa or RaFa RaFa (experiences at the secondary and elementary levels in understanding and communicating in another culture) and Baranga (an experience in how subtle differences in culture can lead to confusion and conflict) contribute to cross-cultural understanding by helping teachers develop insights into the process of understanding cultural perceptions and the relationship between instructional methods and learning outcomes in global education.

Infused throughout teacher education. Content and experiences in global and international education need to be infused throughout teacher education programs. Field experiences, internships, and sites for school/university collaboration are structured so that preservice teachers work with talented global educators. Courses in foundations, technology, and methods help teachers examine conceptualizations, cases, instructional strategies, curriculum development, interdisciplinary approaches, and assessments in global education. Research courses include relevant studies, literature, and opportunities for action research. Preservice and inservice programs set aside time for teachers and teacher educators to reflect, experiment, and share ideas and experiences with colleagues (Merryfield, 1995; Tye & Tye, 1992).

Deal with controversy. Teacher educators prepare teachers to deal with the controversial nature of global and international education. Through readings, role-plays, and collaboration with resource people in the community, teachers reflect upon the reasons for controversies over global education and approaches to resolving such conflicts (Schukar, 1993; Lamy, 1990).

Make curricular connections. Teachers learn to make curricular connections between global education and multicultural education. Global and multicultural education overlap in their goals to develop multiple perspectives and multiple loyalties, strengthen cultural consciousness and intercultural competence, respect human dignity and human rights, and combat prejudice and discrimination (Bennett, 1994). Global and peace education also share common concerns over issues such as human rights, self-determination, international conflict management, and conflict resolution. Teacher educators help teachers plan instruction that integrates global and multicultural and peace education.

All of these approaches to teacher education in global and international education are supported by the faculty's shared vision of global and international education, on-going faculty development, long-term collaboration with internationally minded colleagues on campus, in the schools and overseas, administrative leadership, and institutional commitment.


Easterly, J. (Ed.). (1994). Promoting global teacher education: Seven reports. Reston, VA: Association of Teacher Educators. ED 368 704

Journal of Teacher Education. (1991, January-February). Issue entitled Educating for a Global Society, 42(1). Includes three articles on teacher education in global education. EJ 429 348-50

Merryfield, M. M. (1992, Winter). Preparing social studies teachers for the twenty-first century: Perspectives on program effectiveness from a study of six exemplary teacher education programs on global education. Theory and Research in Social Education, 20(1), 17-46. EJ 450 763

Merryfield, M. M., & Harris, J. (1992, Spring). Getting started in global education: Essential literature, essential linkages for teacher educators. School of Education Review 4, 56-66. EJ 449 411

Theory Into Practice. (1993, Winter). Issue entitled Teacher Education in Global Perspectives. 32(1). Includes nine articles. EJ 463 368-76


References identified with an EJ or ED number have been abstracted and are in the ERIC database. Documents (ED) are available in ERIC microfiche collections at more than 900 locations. Documents can also be ordered through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service: (800) 443-ERIC. Journal articles (EJ) should be available at most research libraries.

Alger, C. F., & Harf, J. E. (1986). Global education: Why? For whom? About what? In R. E. Freeman, (Ed.), Promising practices in global education: A handbook with case studies (pp. 1-13). NY: National Council on Foreign Language and International Studies. See ED 265 107

Anderson, L. (1990). A rationale for global education. In K. A. Tye, (Ed.), Global education from thought to action. The 1991 ASCD Yearbook (pp. 13-34). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ED 326 970

Bennett, C. I. (1995). Comprehensive multicultural education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Case, R. (1993, October). Key elements of a global perspective. Social Education, 57(6), 318-325. EJ 476 723

Gilliom, M. E. (1993, Winter). Mobilizing teacher educators to support global education in preservice programs. Theory Into Practice, 32(1), 40-46. EJ 463 372

Hanvey, R. G. (1975, November). An attainable global perspective. New York: Center for War/Peace Studies. Reprinted in W. M. Kniep (Ed.), (1987), Next steps in global education: A handbook for curriculum development. New York: The American Forum. See ED 116 993/EJ 269 219

Kniep, W. M. (1986, October). Defining a global education by its content. Social Education, 50(6), 437-466. EJ 340 612

Lamy, S. L. (1990). Global education: A conflict of images. In K. A. Tye, (Ed.), Global education from thought to action. The 1991 ASCD Yearbook (pp. 49-63). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ED 326 970

Merryfield, M. M. (1995). Institutionalizing cross-cultural experiences and international expertise in teacher education: The development and potential of a global education PDS network. Journal of Teacher Education, 46(1), 1-9.

Merryfield, M. M., & Remy, R. C. (1995). Teaching about international conflict and peace. Albany: State University of New York Press.

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (1994). NCATE standards. Washington, DC: Author.

National Governors' Association. (1989). America in transition: The international frontier. Washington, DC: Author. ED 316 447

Schukar, R. (1993, Winter). Controversy in global education: Lessons for teacher educators. Theory Into Practice, 32(1), 52-57. EJ 463 374

Tye, B. B., & Tye, K. A. (1992). Global education. A study of school change. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Wilson, A. H. (1982, Summer). Cross-cultural experiential learning for teachers. Theory Into Practice, 21(3), 184-192. EJ 269 222

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