Degree Granting Department
Bárbara C. Cruz
Howard J. Johnston
case study, curricular, decision-making, global perspective, teachers
Teaching social studies from a global perspective has been resisted by many since its inception (Kirkwood, 2009). Critics have labeled the theory anti-American and unpatriotic (Schlafly, 1986; Burack, 2001). Others are concerned with its shifting perspectives and apparent lack of core facts (Finn, 1988). Over time, some critics have changed their stance on global teaching and now endorse the idea (Ravitch, 2010). This qualitative case study sought to identify the barriers seven self-proclaimed global educators faced while teaching global themes and to identify the effective gatekeeping strategies for circumventing such obstacles. The goal was to provide a rich, compelling account of committed global educators efforts to the global education paradigm so that others interested in teaching globally could successfully navigate similar conditions. The data was gathered by the use of a survey and a face to face interview.
Analysis of the five research questions resulted in a comprehensive overview of effective and practical gatekeeping strategies endorsed by self-proclaimed global educators. The participants, purposefully selected after training with a global education project over a six year period, employed a variety of teaching methods for infusing the theory into their lessons however favored merging global themes into the existing mandated curriculum. Participants found use for each of the eight global dimensions identified, but were guided by personal preference and practicality.
Data analysis identified six primary barriers to teaching from a global perspective including 1. a teacher's disposition; 2. the mandated curriculum; 3. the availability of global training and resources; 4. the degree to which a school emphasizes authentic learning as opposed to preparation for standardized testing; 5. the risk and liability involved of teaching controversial topics; and 6. the insight necessary to be able to draw connections throughout time and across a wide variety of content. While the participants were unable to identify a method for circumventing the current climate of standardized testing, they did recommend six gatekeeping strategies that they believed would prove effective including: 1. discouraging non-global educators from entering the teaching profession; 2. officially amending existing curriculum to make room for global teaching; 3. empower teachers to have authority over their curriculum; 4. enhance global education training; 5. teach from a centrist position; and 6. make practical decisions and fragment content when time becomes problematic.
Two unanticipated findings presented themselves as participants reflected on their time training with the Global Schools Project. The participants declared that the congenial learning environment and exposure to like-minded colleagues improved their overall teaching ability and confidence as each found the support that can be lacking when teaching in isolation. Participants advised new global educators become committed to personal and professional growth through conferences, trainings, and mentors. They recommended new teachers merge global themes into existing lessons, be persistent when lessons fail, and employ a variety of methods. Finally, they commanded new teachers to develop a passion for their content and empathy for humanity.
The participants' perspectives have implications for both teacher education programs and future research. The implications involve potential changes to teacher education programs. Future research should attempt to reveal the purpose that exists, if any, behind the barriers global educators face. Future research should seek to expose how training programs similar to the GSP impact participating teachers. Finally, additional research is needed regarding the purpose of global education as either advocacy oriented teaching or as a neutral method for increasing critical thinking.
Scholar Commons Citation
Bailey, Robert Wayne, "Curriculum Gatekeeping in Global Education: Global Educators' Perspectives" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.