Promoting Globalization: Cross-Cultural Teaching and 21st Century Learning Experiences

Promoting Globalization: Cross-Cultural Teaching and 21st Century Learning Experiences

Helen Brantley (Northern Illinois University, USA), Michael Henry (Reavis High School, USA), Sarah Sabo (McHenry County College, USA) and Natalie Young (Northern Illinois University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6347-3.ch009


The purpose of this chapter is to provide experiences of six effective teachers who engaged in a 21st century global phenomenal experience during a course on the “Inquiry Curriculum.” All six teachers are currently teaching in the Illinois school system as content teachers, coaches, or mentor induction coaches. The participants describe their lived phenomenal experience with selected students in their classes and the guidance of a 21st Century Global Curriculum. The findings underscore the challenges many 21st century teachers face and how those challenges affect instructional decisions in P-20 settings. Results also stress the importance of the institutional decisions of student and teachers valuing the mission, vision, and goals stances in 21st century teaching and learning.
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As educators, parents, politicians. community members, corporations and government and other internal and external stakeholders move forward into the 21st Century, it will become more and more important to remain vigilant in implementing global skills and activities surrounding planning, teaching and learning within and beyond the classroom using 21st century skills. For example, in Preparing Globally Competent Teachers, Zeichner (2010), states, “First there are a number of competencies (knowledge, skills and dispositions) in these revised standards that typically appear in discussions of the elements of culturally responsive teaching and globally competent teaching. These include such things as “the teacher uses approaches that are sensitive to the multiple experiences and diversity of learners that allow for different ways of demonstrating learning.” (p. 10). Then, there are those national, state and local standards that require institutions to promote global collaboration among all stakeholders in responding to many of the needs of P-20 students.

Today’s educators must remain aware of all of the changes above and prepare themselves to remain professional and viable as they monitor and attend to the relationship between practice and evolving client needs in social and global contexts (Glazer, 2008), including schools. The contexts through which internal and external stakeholders, including educators, view and work have been described by Wiles (2011) as paradigms. Whether in industry, business, educational organizations or in global activities, schools everywhere must prepare 21st century students for careers and jobs and to be competitive in a global society. The new paradigms are requiring administrators, policy makers, parents legislators and other external and internal public leaders to question whether teachers have the ability to develop new knowledge within a global 21st century paradigm and to provide an environment conducive to strategies centered around intellectual vitality and diversity in a career changing world (Wiles, 2008; Tucker, 2011; NEAP 2011, and Jacobs, 2011). These groups have continued to address concerns regarding teachers’ and students’ 21st century readiness skills on global assessments.

As solutions and components of the accountability process, educational institutions must make sure that today’s students have the skills that states have deemed necessary to ensure school and career success. According to Jacobs (2010), 21st century school goals are demanding that today’s students must obtain the skills they need for future employment and to compete in a global and technological world with students from Finland, Japan, Canada, Shanghai, Singapore and China.

However, Teachers cannot do it alone. They will need support, guidance, another pair of eyes, another pair of ears. They will need teacher leaders helping to move the schools forward into the future. The paradigm shift will require a framework that establishes a shared vision for schools with the efforts in preparing students towards careers and teachers/administrators/ counselors to work effectively in P-20 settings. Teachers will need leaders who are visionary, leaders who are guides, and leaders who can help them meet the many individual needs of individual students by enacting the mission, vision, and goals of the entire institution (Wiles, 2009).

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