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Global citizenship education - More than language study and trips abroad?

Seminar summary, by T. Fortune, 28th June, 2017. 

On 27th June, the project team held its first seminar titled: Educating for global citizenship: More than language study and trips abroad? With 16 participants in Melbourne and 4 in Bendigo, we enjoyed presentations and lively discussion about the diverse ways in which our colleagues were thinking about and researching aspects of global citizenship.

Seminar Aim

The purpose of this seminar was to develop conversations about global citizenship education, that is, education that prepares students to be future and globally ready graduates; by encouraging LTU academics to form a community of scholarly collaboration. Three clear areas of interest were apparent:  

  1. International mobility – How to make the best use of study trips and placements abroad? 

  2. Internationalisation-at-home (IAH) –What is happening currently on campus and how can IAH be used to refresh or tweak existing curriculum? 

  3. Placements – How to enhance and develop the presence of local culturally and socio-economically diverse communities for students at La Trobe? 

Opening and welcome by the BEGCE team

Tracy Fortune opened the seminar on behalf of the Building Excellence in Global Citizenship Education project team by providing an overview of the project background and global citizenship at La Trobe.

 

Click here to view Tracy Fortunes slides on Building Excellence in Global Citizenship Education

 

Tracy linked back to the ‘Design for Learning’ Graduate Capabilities to and the eventual establishment of the Essentials as part of Future Ready. The Building Excellence in Global Citizenship Education project was predicated, in part, on exploring the extent to which La Trobe academics have engaged with the notion of global citizenship, what LTU academics are doing across the Colleges, and how scholarly work and research is shared and developed.  

Participants were asked to write any words or phrases that captured their response to the question: What does Global Citizenship mean to you?, and were told that the project team would like to use these in the project. Participant  responses were transcribed and visually captured to represent what global citizenship meant to different educators.

Guest speakers share their take on global citizenship education

Nerida Hyett, Sonia Reisenhofer, Katherine Seaton and Adrian Jones shared their personal ‘take’ on global citizenship.  They had been asked to talk about the particular aspect of global citizenship education that they focused on, and how they have embedded their understanding into curriculum development or research.  The presentations sparked conversation and reflection. 

Internationalisation at Home

Nerida Hyett shared her work on an Internationalisation-At-Home project, which is undertaken by LTU students and students from Tung Wah College in Hong Kong.  As part of the project’s activities, students complete a cultural self-assessment, and meet online (via Skype or Zoom) to talk about aspects of their culture and cultural experiences –family life, study demands, daily living routines, and health care provision.  After a video group meeting, students complete a cultural comparison narrative to share with their peers. This activity provides students with an opportunity to practice intercultural communication skills, and attempts to develop an appreciation of diversity among peers as a starting point toward being global citizens.  The project is being evaluated to determine if this method of learning improves cultural competency, specifically global citizenship learning. Research includes pre- and post-surveys, and focus groups. 

International student mobility partnerships for nurses

Sonia Reisenhofer gave her take on the notion of global citizenship and the Internationalisation work that she has been leading in Nursing and Midwifery.  Sonia revealed that she, and global citizenship, are regularly associated with ‘anything’ to do with the word ‘international’.  This includes onshore international students, student mobility, visits by international students or academics and enquiries for international collaborations. Sonia commented that international student mobility was a labour of love, demanding significant work for the academics involved.  She also reminded the group that  ‘going overseas’ represents only one aspect of ‘internationalisation’ with which global citizenship is associated.  

Global citizenship in maths

Katherine Seaton presented a mathematical perspective on global citizenship, and how students studying a core first year mathematics subject are encouraged to think globally. Mathematics, she explained has a long history as a global language.  Katherine’s presentation prompted recounting of the processes to gain approval of subjects for global citizenship Essential status.  A number of participants said that it was often not clear why some subjects had GC Essential status while others did not qualify.   

Click here to view Katherine Seaton's slides on Global citizenship in maths

Disorienting dilemmas

Adrian Jones talked about the power of ‘disorienting dilemmas’ to promote transformative

learning (Mezirow, 2000); and linked this to global citizenship education. Dilemmas may 

lead to subtle changes in knowledge and beliefs and “deeper understanding of self,

others, and the world” (Herbers & Mullins Nelson, 2009 p 31). Adrian’s presentation

prompted us to think about the extent to which students are challenged, disoriented

and taken out of their comfort zone, and whether such an approach could be useful

in supporting learners to become global citizens.

Concluding thoughts

Presentations from Nerida Hyett (Occupational Therapy); Sonia Reisenhofer (Partnerships/Nursing); Katherine Seaton (Mathematics) & Adrian Jones (History) helped to get our conversation started. Other questions that arose in the conversation at the seminar included –  How do we enable academics to support students to have ‘out of comfort zone’ experiences at home or abroad? Could the collaboration of educators to form a community of practice (CoP) (re)claim a sense of GCE that reflects a somewhat shared understanding –despite significant diversity in how the concept is used? Can we shift beyond a ‘mobility’ conception of global citizenship to embrace an IAH or internationalisation at home? Tracy concluded the seminar by presenting information about upcoming GCE grants (these have now been awarded) and some parting ideas for future collaboration, seminar discussions and research. Participants were asked to reflect again on what global citizenship meant to them completed at the outset of the seminar as the final activity. 

The BEGCE team would like to extend our sincere thanks to all seminar speakers & participants for their contribution. 

REFLECTING ON WHAT GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP MEANS TO YOU- SEMINAR THOUGHTS.

"Impact of international events, awareness of different approaches in solving issues."

"GC is… belonging to an international community Being transient, mobile and free."

"Awareness of own values and culture so can be open to other ways of understanding and being in the world."

"Understanding and valuing the diversity of human experiences across the world."

"GC is about making ourselves accountable to future generations in relation to diversity, in humanity."

"Thanks for reminding me that it is about out of comfort zone learning and that develops good citizens."

"Global citizenship should also include a critical perspective – not just a romanticised version of everyone being part of the world together! Needs to be aware of politics, social justice, inequality etc."

"Importance of understanding cultural influences in the way we carry out our duties."

"Perhaps that GC is flexible and not easy to define is an advantage. Its openness allows people to interpret in ways relevant for their discipline & indeed is revealing regarding disciplinary thinking. If it needs to feel relevant this works well."

"I’m probably underutilizing the diverse/international student cohort that I have in my subject!"