Teacher Quality in the Twenty-First Century: Developing Globally Competent Teachers

Teacher Quality in the Twenty-First Century: Developing Globally Competent Teachers

Erik Jon Byker (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA), Tingting Xu (Stephen F. Austin State University, USA) and Juan Chen (Stephen F. Austin State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0204-3.ch024
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Abstract

In the twenty-first century, teachers and those who are preparing to become teachers are situated in a global and technological context. Such context necessitates that high quality teachers help to equip their learners to navigate an interconnected and interdependent world. Society's interconnectedness and interdependence means that the decisions made by an individual and a community affect the lives of other human beings around the world (Herrera, 2012). Being globally competent means understanding how the world is interrelated and the ways people can make a difference each other's lives. The purpose of this chapter is to describe and report on ways to develop globally competent teachers. The chapter also reports on the authors' empirical studies related to international perspectives on teacher preparation and the development of global competencies. The chapter concludes with empirical and practitioner-oriented recommendations for preparing high quality teachers to also be global competent.
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Introduction

Effective teaching requires high quality teachers. Defining high quality teaching, though, is difficult. There is a plethora of dispositions, skills, and knowledge areas that combine to make high quality. Staying relevant within the current contextual milieu also makes it difficult to define what makes a “high quality” teacher. In the twenty-first century, teachers and teacher candidates are situated in a global and technological context. Such context necessitates that high quality teachers help to equip their learners to navigate an interconnected and interdependent world. Society’s interconnectedness and interdependence means that the decisions made by an individual and a community affect the lives of other human beings around the world (Herrera, 2012). Being globally competent means understanding how the world is interrelated and the ways people can make a difference in each other’s lives. High quality teachers need to be globally competent as well as help prepare students who are also globally competent. The purpose of this chapter is to describe and report on ways to develop globally competent teachers. Specifically, the chapter examines the authors’ empirical research studies to analyze the degree of teacher candidates’ knowledge and skills about global issues.

Objectives

To meet the aforementioned purposes, the chapter has four main objectives. First, the chapter provides background information regarding global competencies. Related to this point, the chapter situates the importance of global competencies in policy-oriented documents like the Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s (2014)Framework for State Action on Global Education. The chapter also introduces two theoretical frameworks, which ground the authors’ empirical studies. One theoretical framework is based on the Asia Society’s (2011) Global Competency Matrix and the second theoretical framework is called Critical Cosmopolitan Theory (Byker, 2013). The chapter’s second objective is to examine the literature to identify and describe scholarship about high quality teaching in relationship to the development of global competencies. This literature review also describes research about the impact of globalization on teaching and learning. Additionally, the review addresses studies about the role of teacher education in the development of globally competent teachers.

The third objective of the chapter is to summarize the authors’ empirical research studies related to preparing globally competent teacher candidates. Two studies are examined. The first study compares the degree of global and cultural awareness among teacher candidates in China and the United States. The second study, which the chapter summarizes, is about teacher candidates’ uses of Internet resources for global competency development. Additionally, the authors report on teacher candidates’ perceptions of the relationship between Internet-based activities and global competencies. The authors also compare the case studies to identify ways to support teacher candidates’ development of global competencies. The chapter’s last objective is to discuss the research summaries in relationship to the chapter’s theoretical framework and to the wider “contemporary context” of preparing globally competent teachers. The authors discuss and recommend ways for preparing high quality teachers to also be globally competent. The recommendations are both research related and practitioner-oriented. The authors provide suggestions for future research areas related to global competencies and teacher preparation.

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