The role of teachers in fostering global competence is critical, yet many teachers have not themselves developed this competence. As the Longview Foundation (2008) described, ”The critical role of teachers in internationalizing P-12 education has never been clearer, yet today’s educators rarely begin their careers with the deep knowledge and robust skills necessary to bring the world into their classrooms.” While the tremendous influence of globalization, the interconnectedness of world economies, and the importance of intercultural communication have been clear for some time, too little attention has been given to the question of how to make teacher preparation programs more reflective of international dimensions and – concomitantly – how to ensure that we have more internationally competent teachers. The purpose of this section is to share ideas and strategies that can help institutions and individuals to approach the challenge of internationalization more effectively and efficiently.
Jane Knight (2003) notes that internationalization at the post secondary level is "an ongoing and continuing effort." She emphasizes that it is a process that requires "infusing and embedding the international and intercultural demensions into policies and programs to ensure that the international dimensions remains central, not marginal, and is sustainable." A framework for internationalizing teacher preparation, then, requires more than a cursory overview, a semester-long course or a single trip overseas. In designing a teacher preparation program that fosters global competence, a systemic approach must take into account the entire curriculum of pre-service teachers —from general education requirements to content-specific courses, including curriculum and pedagogy courses, as well as throughout the focused clinical experience sequence.
The framework for internationalizing teacher preparation includes curricular offerings in general education, as well as in professional education and clinical experiences that are integrated with knowledge and skills related to global competencies. In a context of institutional support, these initiatives will also align with the global aspects of a college and campus strategic vision. Future teachers who experience a global curriculum should develop deep knowledge of one or more world regions, understand culture and differences across cultures, be familiar with global issues, and gain facility in one or more world languages in addition to English. Professional education courses reflect the pedagogical concepts and skills to enable graduates to teach in ways that reflect the global dimensions of particular subjects and disciplines.