An Action Research Study on Globally Competent Teaching in Online Spaces

An Action Research Study on Globally Competent Teaching in Online Spaces

Shea N. Kerkhoff, Fatemeh Mardi, Han Rong
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6922-1.ch012
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Research shows that teachers understand why global competence is important but do not necessarily know how to implement global teaching. One way to address this problem of practice is integrating global competence with teacher education. Education abroad is an effective method to internationalize teaching, but travel is suspended due to the global pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic also highlights how global cooperation and global competence are vital in mitigating the effects of the virus. The purpose of this action research study was to investigate the impact of infusing global learning in an online education methods course. Data sources included products of learning and reflections from 24 master's students. Findings include five themes (multilingual communication, current event awareness, content-aligned integration, utilizing students' identities, and practicing local-global inquiry) that describe the prerequisites, barriers, challenges, and successes as teachers develop global competence and implement globally competent teaching in their K-12 classrooms.
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Globalization 3.0 makes it possible for so many more people to plug in and play,

and you are going to see every color of the human rainbow take part.

-Thomas Friedman in The World is Flat



Our world is increasingly digital and global. Technology makes connections across the globe faster and easier than ever before. Digital and global competence is thus important for success in the modern world. Digital competence refers to the ability to leverage technology to participate, communicate, and work, while global competence, similarly, refers to the ability to participate, communicate, and work worldwide (Kerkhoff, 2017; Kerkhoff, 2020).

A 2018 Sodexo Global Workplace Trends report points to cross-cultural competence, virtual collaboration, and new media literacy as key skills for the 2020 workforce. Similarly, according to an American Association of Colleges and Universities’ (2018) sanctioned report on the importance of college learning outcomes in the business world, 65% of business executives and 73% of hiring managers believe that the ability to “analyze/solve problems w/people from different backgrounds/cultures” is of high importance and 60% and 73% respectively believe “stay current on changing technology/applications to workplace” is of high importance (p. 13). Business leaders perceived gaps in terms of graduate preparedness with both of these outcomes, and both held or increased in importance since the 2014 report. To help prepare students for 21st-century careers and community life, teachers themselves need to know how to collaborate with people from different cultures and stay current on technology applications.

Various communication and telecollaboration tools enable interaction and professional collaboration (Lips et al., 2017; Starkey, 2020), and allow teachers the opportunity to create engaging lessons with global and diverse perspectives (Broere & Kerkhoff, 2020; Goodwin, 2020; Kaempf, 2018). Educators need to be able to use technology tools and resources to maximize and support 21st- century learning (ISTE, 2017).

In addition to digital competence, global competence is important. This combination of digital and global competence is mentioned by Yemini et al. (2019) as their review of the literature on global education identified a gap in research at the intersection of the digital and the global. The researchers state a need for “scholarship to take a greater interest in ICTs [Information and Communication Technologies], as well as in the infusion of GCE [Global Citizenship Education] into pre-existing approaches” (p. 87). Reimers (2009) defines global competence as:

The knowledge and skills people need to understand today’s flat world and to integrate across disciplines so that they can comprehend global events and create possibilities to address them. Global competencies are also the attitudinal and ethical dispositions that make it possible to interact peacefully, respectfully, and productively with fellow human beings from diverse geographies. (para 4)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Global Learning: Through strategic institutional partnerships and innovative academic, experiential, and co-curricular programming expressed in diverse and challenging global contexts, students learn to think critically, observe skillfully, reflect thoughtfully, and participate meaningfully.

Globally Competent Teaching: Being globally competent oneself and fostering students’ development of global competence.

Action Research: A disciplined investigation process conducted by and for those taking the action. Assisting the “actors” in improving and refining their actions is the main reason for conducting an action research.

Teaching for Global Readiness Scale: A 21 item self-reflection survey on teaching practices that can promote students’ global readiness.

Digital Literacy: The capacity to locate, read, create, and communicate texts in online and digital environments.

Global Readiness: Possessing the digital and global literacies necessary for career, community, and civic life in our digitized, globalized world.

Globally Competent Learning Continuum: A rubric of 12 dimensions of global competence as related to teaching and learning.

TPACK: The technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge needed to be an effective teacher.

Global Competence: The knowledge, skills, and attitudinal and ethical dispositions needed to understand, interact, and problem-solve globally.

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