Navigating International Mindedness

Navigating International Mindedness

Nicholas Palmer
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5107-3.ch014
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According to the International Baccalaureate (IB), the more interwoven global society becomes, the more internationally minded we are all likely to be. International mindedness (IM), however, can pose a distinct challenge for educators in terms of both practicality and meaning. This chapter presents research into the articulation and implementation of IM in an IB school. Through a constructivist grounded theory methodology, the researcher presents analysis resulting in five categories: scepticism, connection, authentication, long-term thinking, and empathy (SCALE). As well as scaffolding a pathway toward a concrete IM, SCALE offers an innovative approach to interrelation and interculturalism in schools. The findings presented in this chapter will interest those seeking an active IM that has a tangible benefit for teachers and students alike.
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Explorations Of International Mindedness

In their comparative study of two IB schools in Turkey, Metli et al. (2018) note the need for new knowledge in schools to incorporate IM into both core and extracurricular practices. They contend that students ought to value their own cultural beliefs and pursue mutual respect amidst cultural diversity and that IM is means to do so. They assert the need for schools to organise varied activities, “…to develop well-designed community service projects in different languages to reach more people”, and “continue to address the local or global needs…” (Metli et al., 2018, p. 17). In another already-mentioned study exploring IM in IB schools, Hacking et al. (2017) outline the significance of IM as “relational, in that it is about reaching out to how we perceive and interact with others from diverse cultures” (p. 1). The researchers observe IM as a means of interfacing with a global view that “becomes intra-personal or reaches in to better understand ourselves concerning the difference in others” (p. 1). They consider IM “a process or a journey and that this process is more important than any fixed definition” (p. 1).

Contrastingly, Standish (2012) critiques international modes of learning and argues the emphasis on global skills and values, coupled with a vague interpretation of IM, has allowed market-driven bodies to overtake curriculum with their agendas. Moreover, Toukan, (2018) argues interest in IM is a reaction to all that is neglected by the increasing focus on mechanistic curriculum goals subservient to testing regimes in schools purporting to be inclusive, multifarious, and international. While such restriction is apparent, the growing heterogeneity of student groups offers educators opportunities to form a renewed understanding of educational possibilities. Hayden (2011) points out the growth in international schools, championing diversity, are “arguably ahead of their time as transnational spaces promoting global mobility and global forms of education” (p. 221). Thus, transnational learning contexts (such as international schools) provide abundant opportunities for creative interpretations of IM while simultaneously grounding the concept in the universal values of justice and sustainability (Palmer, 2018).

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