Fostering Global Citizenship in Higher Education: Development of an International Course in Global Health

Fostering Global Citizenship in Higher Education: Development of an International Course in Global Health

Lee Stoner (Massey University, New Zealand), Lane Perry (Western Carolina University, USA), Daniel Wadsworth (Massey University, New Zealand), Mikell Gleason (University of Georgia, USA), Michael A. Tarrant (University of Georgia, USA), Rachel Page (Massey University, New Zealand) and Krystina R. Stoner (University of Georgia, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0169-5.ch016
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Abstract

Despite growing public awareness, health systems are struggling under the escalating burden of non-communicable diseases. Arguably, one must place themselves within the broader/global context to begin to truly understand the health implications of personal choices. Fostering a ‘global citizen' perspective among graduates has become an integral part of the Higher Education (HE) discourse; this discourse can and should be extended to include global health. A global citizen is someone who is aware of global issues, socially responsible, and civically engaged. From this perspective, personal health is not solely an individual, self-serving act. Rather, the consequences of lifestyle choices and behaviours have far-reaching implications. This chapter details: (a) the development of an international global health course designed to foster global citizenship; (b) the research-led pedagogy; (c) the methods of student evaluation; and (d) the importance of such a course within the broader context of HE.
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Introduction

Global citizenship development has become an integral part of the HE discourse; this discourse can and should be extended to include global health. Global health, alongside climate change, is one of the greatest contemporary challenges facing humanity. Considering this, universities have an opportunity to address contemporary societal issues that presumably their graduates will be grappling with after graduation. While there are many ways of engaging students with extant issues, study abroad and other internationally focused pedagogies can serve as a powerful approach. However, it has been argued, with specific reference to global health, that there is a ‘...need for a radical reform to curricula to foster engaged global citizenship; yet little is written depicting how individual courses and their instructors may support such reform’ (Hanson, 2010). This chapter will argue that HE and the process of study abroad can play a key role in the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs), a major global health issue. Specifically, a critical understanding of global health can aid in fostering global citizenship, which in turn may empower students to become civically engaged and potentially drive social change.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Critical Reflection: A process, seeks to engage an individual in ‘scratching below the surface’ to be deep and accurate when determining the value of a decision, experience, or theory. An essential step in transformative learning.

Value-Belief-Norm (VBN) Model: VBN focuses on values and moral norms. Individual choice about pro-environmental actions can be driven by personal norms; an internalized sense of obligation to act in a certain way. Norms are activated when an individual believes that violating them would have adverse effects on things they value. Personal values (e.g., altruistic values, egoistic values) are antecedents of environmental beliefs.

Interdisciplinary Approach/Interdisciplinarity: An approach which seeks to involve two or more different subject areas or ways of knowing.

Global Citizenship: A multi-faceted term which is general accepted to include three key criteria: global citizenship is defined using three criteria: (1) aware of global issues; (2) socially responsible; and (3) civically engaged.

Transformative Learning Experience/Theory: Pedagogies that engage the student with alternative lenses, orientations, or points of view related to a complex issue (such as global health), ultimately leading to a change in perspective.

Pro-Environmental Behaviour: Behaviour that consciously seeks to minimize the negative impact of one’s actions on the natural and built world.

Tarrant’s adapted Value-Belief-Norm (VBN) Model: Two components based on: (1) an awareness/belief that specific environmental conditions (e.g., poverty, health, climate change etc.) threaten or have adverse consequences for the things the learner values; and (2) an awareness/belief that the individual/learner can act to reduce the specific threat(s). In this, the learner’s values and what they are willing to do about those values are significant. Simply put, awareness is a critical predisposition or catalyst for informed action, but the learner’s understanding of their personal values is the filter whereby awareness permeates or is stymied.

Engaged Learning: Focuses on relationships between students’ involvement and empirically-based university conditions that positively impact and influence students’ commitment to participate.

Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs): Also known as chronic diseases i.e., not passed from person to person. The four main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. NCDs are of long duration, generally slow progression, and are highly modifiable by lifestyle behavioural e.g., physical activity, nutrition, smoking.

Three D’s: Directing , Discussing , and Delegating , with each ‘D’ representing a unique style of facilitating learning. An iterative approach to education, which ultimately contests students to derive the challenging questions themselves, and become arbiters of their own learning.

DEAL Model: A sequence of steps which occur after an experience has been completed: (1) Description of experiences objectively, (2) Examination of experiences through reflection, (3) Articulation of Learning. This model may be iterative e.g., if a group of short-term study abroad students are studying local indigenous health disparities, the model could be repeated after each interaction/experience associated with their time abroad.

Mis-Educative: An educative experience without critical reflection i.e., does not shape perspective.

Digital Storytelling (Critical Reflection): An alternative to paper-based reflection. An opportunity for critical reflection method to be intensified by meeting learners on platforms where they already live, communicate, and engage.

Global Health: The health of populations in a global context. Places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide.

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