Stepping Out of the Silos: Training Teachers, Training Trainers

Stepping Out of the Silos: Training Teachers, Training Trainers

Jennifer Valcke (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden) and Karin Båge (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2318-6.ch004


The growth of English-medium instruction (EMI) calls for a new model of teaching and learning fit for the 21st century. It has been argued that formal education must be transformed to enable the new forms of learning needed to tackle complex global challenges. Much EMI research offers compelling arguments for transforming pedagogy to better support the acquisition of these skills. However, the question of how best to teach them has been overlooked. In order to prepare teaching staff for the challenges of multilingual and multicultural learning spaces, educational developers at Karolinska Institutet (KI) have developed a continuous professional development course to cater for the needs of both teachers and education developers in internationalised settings. This chapter will lay out the structure of the course and the thinking that went behind its conception. Through the testimonials of both lecturers and education developers, this chapter will also engage readers in reflections on how lecturers and education developers have apprehended their shifting roles and profiles.
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In light of the internationalisation of education and the emergence of English-Medium Education (EME), rethinking pedagogy for the twenty-first century is as crucial as identifying the new competencies that today’s learners need to develop. While formal education must be transformed (Scott, 2015) to enable the new forms of learning that are needed to tackle complex global challenges (United Nations, 2015), research on EME offers compelling arguments for transforming pedagogy to better support acquisition of twenty-first century skills (Coyle, 2013; Dafouz & Smit, 2016; Valcke & Wilkinson, 2017)). However, the question of how best to teach these skills is largely overlooked. Experts recognize that the ‘transmission’ or lecture model is highly ineffective for teaching the necessary knowledge, skills, and values needed for the international classroom, yet widespread use of this model continues. In spite of widespread agreement that learners: “[…] need to be able to work with people who aren’t like [them]. [They] must communicate well, both in writing and in person. And [they] ought to be able to solve problems in new and creative ways” (Vaccariello & Haar Siegel, 2018, p.1). This means that graduates need to develop critical thinking, the ability to communicate effectively in any language, innovate, and solve problems through negotiation and collaboration. In short, they need to be able to function effectively in multilingual and multicultural environments.

A change in the medium of instruction brings the quality of content acquisition to the fore and specifically the quality of what is delivered and how. The curriculum therefore becomes pivotal in determining the quality of teaching and learning and implies that curricular development teams rethink and reshape how the curriculum is delivered. The curriculum is central to Leask’s definition of Internationalisation of the Curriculum (IoC): “[…] the incorporation of international, intercultural and global dimensions into the content of the curriculum as well as the learning outcomes, assessment tasks, teaching methods and support services of a study programme” (Leask, 2015, p.9). IoC becomes a useful tool since it connects research-based evidence with practice by applying innovative curricular design to internationalise teaching and learning.

The development of internationalisation and EME have arguably contributed to a shift in the perceived role of university teachers in developing the global and international skills in their students. Adopting twenty-first century pedagogy therefore requires teachers to rethink their reasoning about what they teach and why, and to rethink who they are as teachers. It requires them to “resituate themselves professionally, not as a traditional teacher, but as a highly skilled advanced learner” (Saavedra & Opfer, 2012, p.6). Meaningful professional development requires teachers to “shift their paradigm” – to break with and replace their past ways of thinking and knowing with a totally new understanding of their role and its purpose” (Bull & Gilbert, 2012, p.6). Indeed, the increase in EME in Higher Education Institutions and internationalisation has necessarily led to concerns about the type of professional development education developers may also require in terms of providing training for the international classroom. Despite the numerous opportunities offered by the global economy, there is still a critical need for universal access to quality education and visionary leadership (Cisco Systems, 2009, p. 3).

So, how can teaching staff best support learners to develop these essential skills for the twenty-first century? What kind of training should be provided to higher education teaching staff? And who should provide the training? This chapter will attempt to describe the thinking behind a teacher training course for higher education teaching staff in order to prepare them for teaching in the international classroom.

Key Terms in this Chapter

IoC: Internationalisation of the curriculum uses the curriculum and constructive alignment as main tools for internationalising learning outcomes, content, teaching and learning activities, and assessment and feedback in a planned and systematic way.

EME: English-medium education is an education system where English is one (or the only) language of instruction, particularly when English is not the first language of either teachers or students.

Intercultural Competences: The ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in intercultural situations based on one’s intercultural knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

Global Engagement: Committed, responsible, and meaningful interaction with the world as a whole.

Internationalisation of Higher Education: The integration of international, intercultural and global dimensions into the delivery of higher education.

IILOs: Internationalised intended learning outcomes ensure students develop language competences, intercultural competences, global engagement, and international disciplinary learning.

International Disciplinary Learning: The ability to situate academic disciplines within local, international, and global contexts; to recognise that disciplines are culturally determined; and to have knowledge of international professional practices.

Constructive Alignment: The alignment of content, intended learning outcomes, teaching and learning arrangements with assessment and feedback in order to ensure learning.

Sustainable Development Goal 4: This goal focusses on quality education, which is defined as being culturally agile, being globally engaged, being responsible, being reciprocal, and promoting peace and non-violence.

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