There is no denying that charismatic leaders and “lighthouse” projects can have major impact in achieving goals like internationalization. These efforts, however, are often limited and short-lived, missing the chance to have lasting and deep influence in effecting organizational reform in educator preparation. Many colleges have positive initiatives that strive to implement broad goals related to internationalization, but true internationalization is systematic and requires holistic transformation of everything from curriculum to faculty and staff attitudes to funding structures.
True internationalization, according to the report Internationalizing the Campus: A User’s Guide from the American Council on Education (ACE), is not an easy or quick process – requiring one global requirement or adding international content to existing courses will not suffice. Successful internationalization, “requires making the case to multiple stakeholders and tapping external interest… [it] is a slow, cumulative process and must compete with many other…priorities and demands for attention.” Simply having campus-wide internationalization plans or goals are also insufficient. Half of campuses identify internationalization in their missions or as a strategic priority, but that does not necessarily trickle down to various colleges and disciplines – in fact, education remains the least internationalized discipline in the United States.
Internationalization in colleges of education is equally important as any other discipline, especially in teacher preparation. Many leading teacher educators realize the importance of internationalizing their program and practice. Craig Kissock and Paula Richardson of EducatorsAbroad argue, “It is time that we heed the extensive literature calling on us to internationalize our teacher education programs and bring a global perspective to education decision making in order to prepare globally minded professionals who can effectively teach any child from, or living in, any part of the world.” Further, Reyes Quezada from the University of San Diego acknowledges that “A priority…exists for American colleges and universities to graduate future P-12 teachers who have international experiences, demonstrate foreign language competence, think globally, and are able to incorporate a global dimension into their teaching.”
Teacher education presents a unique set of considerations and challenges when administrators consider adding a global dimension. “Internationalizing teacher education,” argues one study, ”is most effectively done when global awareness and development of international understanding and perspectives are weaved into the full fabric of educator preparation…In teacher preparation program design, a systemic approach that fosters global competence requires taking into account the contributions and impact of the full set of studies and experiences in which prospective teachers engage as part of their overall curriculum. These experiences range from general education requirements and subject area concentrations, to the curriculum and pedagogy courses and clinical experiences to develop the skills and understandings they need to qualify for licensure as a teacher.”
When facing the prospect of internationalizing, deans and faculty in education face myriad strategies and perspectives. The mini-case studies in this section demonstrate different models and exemplify deep and lasting internationalization efforts. GTE intends these studies to act as examples, serving as a guide to colleges of education seeking to internationalize. GTE’s staff and steering committee developed these snapshots through a series of comprehensive surveys and interviews. We considered differences in leadership style, college, campus, and system support, and unique aspects of program design that could be replicated elsewhere. Please visit this section frequently as we hope to expand and highlight more efforts from around the country and contact us if you would like your campus highlighted on Global Teacher Education.