International Educator - May/June 2012 - 125
Global citizenship as self-awareness and awareness of others. As one international educator put it, it is difficult to teach intercultural understanding to students who are unaware they, too, live in a culture that colors their perceptions. Thus, awareness of the world around each student begins with self-awareness. Self-awareness also enables students to identify with the universalities of the human experience, thus increasing their identification with fellow human beings and their sense of responsibility toward them. Global citizenship as they practice cultural empathy. Cultural empathy or intercultural competence is commonly articulated as a goal of global education, and there is significant literature on these topics.
Intercultural competence occupies a central position in higher education’s thinking about global citizenship and is seen as an important skill in the workplace. There are more than 30 instruments or inventories to assess intercultural competence. Cultural empathy helps people see questions from multiple perspectives and move deftly among cultures—sometimes navigating their own multiple cultural identities, sometimes moving out to experience unfamiliar cultures. Global citizenship as the cultivation of principled decisionmaking. Global citizenship entails an awareness of the interdependence of individuals and systems and a sense of responsibility that follows from it. Navigating “the treacherous waters
of our epic interdependence” requires a set of guiding principles that will shape ethical and fair responses.3 Although the goal of undergraduate education should not be to impose a “correct” set of answers, critical thinking, cultural empathy, and ethical systems and choices are an essential foundation to principled decisionmaking. Global citizenship as participation in the social and political life of one’s community. There are many different types of communities, from the local to the global, from religious to political groups. Global citizens feel a connection to their communities (however they define them) and translate that sense of connection into participation. Participation can take the form
a QUESTION OF PURPOSE
they, too, are often used synonymously. the global in all three terms often includes the concepts of international (between and among nations), global (transcending national borders), and intercultural (referring often to cultural differences at home and around the world). also prevalent in the student learning discussion is another cluster of terms that focus specifically on deepening students’ understanding of global issues and interdependence, and encouraging them to engage socially and politically to address societal issues. these terms include global citizenship, world citizenship,6 civic learning, civic engagement, and global civics).7 these terms, too, share several key concepts, and are often used interchangeably. the second divide focuses on the divergent, but not incompatible goals of workforce development (developing workers to compete in the global marketplace) or as a means of social development (developing globally competent citizens.) Global competitiveness is primarily associated with mastery of math, science, technology, and occasionally language competence, whereas “global competence” (a broad term, to be sure), puts greater emphasis on intercultural understanding and knowledge of global systems and issues, culture, and language. as the field grows increasingly complex and the instrumental goals of internationalization become more prominent, it is important that campus discussions and planning efforts sort out their language, underlying concepts, and implied or explicit values. otherwise, people run the risk of talking past each other and developing strategies that may not match their goals.
hat was once simply called “international education” is now a field awash with varied terminology, different conceptual frameworks, goals, and underlying assumptions.6 although “internationalization” is widely used, many use globalization—with all its different definitions and connotations—in its stead. Rather than take on the job of sorting out the terminology, let me point out two significant conceptual divides in the conversation. Both center on the purpose of internationalization. In the first divide, we see one face of internationalization as referring to a series of activities closely associated with institutional prestige, profile, and revenue. these activities are generally quantifiable, lend themselves to institutional comparisons and benchmarking, and provide metrics for internationalization performance that resonate with trustees and presidents. examples include hosting international students, sending students abroad, developing international agreements, and delivering programs abroad. the other face of internationalization—student learning— is much more difficult to capture and assess, but it provides an important answer to the “so what?” question. why does internationalization matter? what impact do internationalization activities have on student learning? how do they contribute to preparing students to live and work in a globalized and culturally diverse world? Different terms with overlapping meanings are used to describe the student learning dimension of internationalization. Global learning, global education, and global competence are familiar terms;
M AY + J U N E . 12 InternatIonal educator
vladislav makarov/ 123rf