This article shares transformative knowledge, human stories and resources for considering educational tourism concepts for globalizing learning communities to bridge gaps between world cultures in education. Research shows the world has become more open and less restricted by borders. In theory and in practice, this momentum suggests learners, teachers, educators and leaders must experience and gain knowledge about resources and strategies for using new technologies, storytelling and curriculum as powerful tools for building language and communication bonds across generations and cultures in presenting common issues, sparking dialogue, and inspiring action to solve education and socio-economic problems world-wide. Students today are graduating into a world that is more globally connected than ever before. In fact, studies show that nearly 1 in 5 jobs in the U.S. is tied to international trade and requires some level of English proficiency. The classroom is no different and this calls for exploring international cooperation in global educational development to improve the quality of teacher education and teachers language and intercultural competency. Research shows there is a need to expand global learning opportunity communities for newcomer immigrants and others who are affected by teacher education policy and practices affecting inclusivity in education.
Knowledge; Educational tourism
In literature educational tourism is often described as pursuits of learning that involves traveling or connecting with others from other geographic areas, either learning knowledge (historical, cultural, social) or even learning a new language. Education has used different forms of tourism as a tool to complement learning, accumulating experiences from practice, which is often embodied in international or global education experiences. In recent years this emergent trend has been combined with new technologies as a good opportunity to implement new ways of blending cultural enrichment and curriculum in primary school, compulsory and higher education.
Since 2015, an initiative known as the Global Teach Connect Project has been advancing learning experiencing beyond borders towards informative dialog on global immigration, policy, practice and strategies for enriching teachers’ and higher education faculty’s global teaching practices. The aim of this education project supported by U.S. Department of Education funded partnership is to explore teaching and learning competencies to address the increased diversity in world learning communities and implications for least commonly taught language learning or learners . The strategies from this project aim to provide expansive access to interactive research-based resources designed to help all stakeholders, but especially educators, understand the roles of cultural awareness, gender, language acquisition, educational policy and implications for globalizing learning opportunities for all people, not just a privileged few.
Although we are well into the 21st century, many educators, leaders and policy makers are not aware there is a wealth of Webbased resources designed by global learning experts, teachers and educators, who are well-positioned to engage participants in world learning community building activities, including film viewing and the sharing of personal stories through audio, video and written experiences. There are multilingual resources that can be used to create and innovate world learning communities, which could be cultivated for use collaboratively for implementing global learning in one’s home country in culturally appropriate ways.
The significance is that through educational tourism, new technology and world-wide learning communities help to connect individuals to new experiences and knowledge building opportunities. Such connectedness deepens the existing work of researchers, teachers, educators, school leaders, policy makers or institutions and organizations interested in breaking down walls that often impede building bonds between new immigrant learning communities or newcomers in the education world. New world learning communities serve to expand strategies for globalizing learning opportunities for all people by increasing connectedness within our home, policy, business and educational communities.
Global Teach Connect (GTC) is by no means the first group to suggest international cooperation to improve the quality of teacher education and to expand global learning opportunities for all learners. For example, international research takes us back to 1953 when a unique group of administrators, educators and teachers join together to start the following group that continues to host forums, establish partnerships and launch campaigns to allow members to take an active role in addressing local and global teacher shortages and still exist today:
The International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET) is a US-based International NGO with consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council. … members include scholars, administrators, educators, policy makers, business leaders and individuals committed to providing quality educators for all. ICET as a concept began during an international teacher congress held in August in Copenhagen in 1952. Key events during the congress included the formation of the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession (WCOPT) and a commitment to form a group to prepare summary reports of opinions and current practices with regard to selected topics including Education for Teaching. In 1953, a small group of teacher educators attending the WCOTP Assembly in London formed the International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET) .
Perhaps the time has come that as we think about globalizing world learning communities, we expand our focus beyond the shortage of classroom teachers by redefining the meaning of quality teachers in globalized world that is now so much more culturally diverse and knowledge dependent on newer technologies. This welcomed change highlights the struggle for many to understand the new global landscape as the new foundation of educational systems. New global technologies are advancing educational development from seeking isolated classrooms strategies to globalized community strategies with diverse groups of learners who bring with them their unique approaches to learning, culture and language. This change has now exacerbated the problem of “quality global teacher shortages” worldwide as teacher education institutions, organizations and program leaders seek solutions to new issues such as teachers’ ability to address widespread diversity in global learning communities that has promulgated a question by Townsend and Bates .
Increasing globalization has impacted on teacher education in terms of teachers now having to understand and cater for a diverse population. In certain parts of the world there are now classrooms where a multitude of languages are spoken and where different religious and cultural understandings must be considered when teaching. A teacher can no longer assume that what seemed to be right to a white western middle-class community, will have meaning for students from other countries that have different cultural values, different understandings of the values important for human development and different habits and structures of knowledge. This has brought about the need for a substantial shift in teacher attitudes about the task and substantial change in terms of the teacher education program offered by universities.
Based on the perceived research need for exploring international cooperation in global educational development to improve the quality of teacher education and to expand global learning opportunity communities for people affected by teacher education, the purpose of this section is to present how transforming learning and teaching environment strategies require the commitment of all stakeholders, especially teachers or teacher educators. This belief is based on both theory and reality that individual values of academics and policy makers in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) influence the content, learning outcomes and pedagogy found in educational settings whether we are talking about classrooms, virtual or global learning communities.
Institutional vision, mission and goals play a primary role in value setting and in the way academics will respond to proposed cultural, pedagogical and policy changes to address requirements for globalizing and sustaining world learning communities for all learners regardless of their culture, language or gender . A critical question is: How do we go from educational policy to change pedagogical practices to improve learning for all migrant and second language learners? The following case describes one approach by two universities that agreed to partner in search of potential solutions or responses to this question.
Case-in-point: The GTC story
Drexel’s School of Education GTC project created interactive customized workshops and summits to identify how linking research to practice could change the educational diversity discourse to foster learners and educators ability to critically question their assumptions and frames of reference for globalizing teaching and learning for all learners especially new immigrant ( or newcomers) and second language learners. The following describes GTC’s casein- point approach to incorporating this ideology and espoused theory put forth in this paper.
In partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East and South Asia Area Studies Centers (MEC and SAC), Drexel University School of Education will enhance associations and collaborations by seeking out new pathways for promoting quality education and teacher training that focuses on the language pedagogy and policy related to Middle Eastern and South Asian cultures. The project team efforts build on ongoing practice-based research and successes in academic and public programming that includes attention to intercultural understandings, teaching and learning by advancing knowledge through training, curriculum and development.
The project focuses on unveiling strategies to meet the nation’s areas of greatest need in preparing teachers, educational leaders and policy makers to respond appropriately to educational diversity and equity by globalizing teacher education policies and practices. In cooperation with two university area studies centers these efforts embrace and advocate for advancing the educational value of civic engagement, courses and programs that enhance comprehensive area studies and language training globally and specifically among the rich and diverse communities of regions with growing populations of diverse populations often resulting from newcomer immigrants.
The activities in this partnership are directly aligned with two Universities Vision and several signatures areas targeting growth and development within Schools of Education. Specifically, these sub grants are embodied in the concept of globalizing learning and teaching through Equity and Access. For example, this is an excerpt from the strategic planning group:
Our faculty and professional staff will apply their expertise to increase the availability of high-quality learning and produce graduates who will do the same. Our work will address the complex barriers to learning, inequalities in access to education, and constantly evolve our practices to meet the needs of all. Building on our legacy of empowering historically disadvantaged populations, we will nurture academically productive collaboration among faculty and with other university departments, local community organizations, and students.
Globalizing learning communities
The Global Teach Connect project supports Drexel’s exceptional educational and research expertise in globalizing education, which is accessible to the local campus, regional communities and international communities in virtual settings. Affiliated faculty and graduate student researchers further engage in research and practice-based activities to expand the debate of language pedagogy and global education policies beyond borders.
Such an inclusive approach is necessary to close the divide that in the past separated us from diverse populations. As a result, some individuals or groups have not been traditionally included in conversations about the access and equity in teacher education, global learning communities and policy arenas.
Several forward-looking new initiatives support this meaningful direction towards creating more globalized learning communities and high qualified teachers prepared to teach new diverse student audiences globally. GTC strategies include a framework based on lesson learned that support (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Global teach connection conceptual framework for globalizing world learning communities.
• Creating new curricula in global education with emphasis on new migrant populations
• Developing educational leaders and teachers with specialization in language pedagogy, policy and area studies and award certificates
• Using new technologies to expand exemplary global training and professional development networks with schools and communities serving diverse and new immigrant populations
• Collaborating with teacher education, language and literacy faculty to explore ways to advance teachers intercultural competency and language proficiency to innovate, create and sustain globalized learning environments.
Visit GTC websites and links to other resources below to learn more about our team and how we plan to achieve our goals
Global Teach Connect Project sites .
The argument in this paper is that although new comers to the U.S. education system do not fall into the category of educational tourists, they are global learners who could often find benefit from more high quality global teacher and leader support in the learning process to help them adjust to U.S. academic culture and expectations. There are interrelated policy issues that diverse, second language, and immigrant learners face in and beyond the classroom that affect their success in global educational systems where English is the foundation language.
Teachers and leaders require new strategies for aligning their instruction with the goal of including all learners in the classroom so that “every student has a chance to succeed”. By creating and sustaining policies that support high quality, global teaching competencies institutions and organizations can grow and sustain globalized learning communities. Establishing global learning, language and policy networks will require collaboration with teacher education programs to develop teachers and leaders with specialization in intercultural understandings to create new inclusive curricula to address socio-cultural and learning needs of newcomers and welcome them to our educational system.
Suggested workshop toolkit resources and readings
Coming to America – Podcast by Real People Tell Stories of Immigrating to America.
A Culturally Responsive Guide to Fostering the Inclusion of Immigrant-Origin Students. Carola Suárez Orozco. Adam Strom and Rosalinda Larios.
Citation: Pittman J. Green W (2020) Globalizing Educational Tourism and World Learning Communities in Higher Education to Advance Intercultural Awareness, Language Policy, Curriculum and Teacher Competencies. J Tourism Hospit 9:429. doi: 10.35248/2167-02126.96.36.1999.
Received Date: Mar 11, 2020 / Accepted Date: Apr 23, 2020 / Published Date: Apr 30, 2020
Copyright: © Pittman J. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited