Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 5, No 1 (2016)

Rethinking Global Citizenship Resources for New Teachers: Promoting Critical Thinking and Equity

Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education
Volume 5 Number 1 2016

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Rethinking Global Citizenship Resources for New Teachers: Promoting Critical Thinking and Equity

Lorna R. McLean

Associate Professor
Faculty of Education
University of Ottawa

Sharon A. Cook

Distinguished University Professor
Faculty of Education
University of Ottawa

Keywords: global citizenship education; equity; teacher education

ABSTRACT: Global citizenship education, or education aiming to develop teacher candidates' knowledge and empathy with transnational challenges, has become increasingly recognized as an important field internationally, requiring a particular set of pedagogical understandings and tools to facilitate learning. Traditionally, global citizenship education resources have been developed by non-governmental organizations to aid teachers in classroom presentations and to profile issues of concern to their constituencies. Understandably, some of these resources require revisions to correspond with teacher candidates' grade levels, learning styles, subject-based disciplines and broad issues of equity. Accordingly, we developed a guide for teacher education candidates and novice teachers based on a collaborative inquiry model that we called a "Primer" in order to assess the compatibility, equity and adaptability of classroom-ready global citizenship education materials. Our aims were to understand how pre-service candidates made use of the Primer as a means to integrate global citizenship topics in the regular curriculum. Based on our research—which was informed by a mixed-method methodology consisting of focus groups, journal reporting, and survey data—we documented teacher education candidates' experiences with the Primer. Our research of how teacher candidates made use of the Primer, offers evidence that their desires and abilities to teach global citizenship themes through classroom-ready resources has been facilitated by utilizing the Primer.

Introduction and Research Questions

In 2005, UNESCO identified teacher education as the primary opportunity for achieving education for sustainable development (Liddy, 2012). Likewise, global citizenship and development education is increasingly recognized as an important field internationally, requiring a particular set of pedagogical understandings (Mundy & Manion, 2008; Merryfield, 2010; Goodwin, 2010; Evans et al, 2009; Abdi & Shultz, 2008;) principles, (Hicks and Holden, 2007; Peters, Britton & Blee eds., 2008), theoretical perspectives, (Eidoo et al, 2011) and knowledge, (Jorgenson & Shultz, 2012; Rapoport, 2010). When we began our global citizenship project with teacher candidates at the turn of the twenty-first century, global citizenship educators had few resources to use. Today, teacher candidates are overwhelmed with an abundance of choices of variable quality.

Traditionally, many curriculum resources for teaching global citizenship have been developed by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to profile issues of concern for their constituency and to aid teachers in classroom presentations. Often, educational materials are developed by NGOs to satisfy financial requirements by their funding agencies. This goal can inhibit the teaching materials' pedagogical and content range and limit some global citizenship teaching resources for classroom use. In Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funded our Faculty of Education's ten-year global citizenship project with NGOs under the Global Classroom Initiative. Likewise, in various countries such as the United Kingdom, the government provided seed funding to coalitions of International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) (Blee, Britton, David and Young, 2006). In the United States, ( is also a product of collaboration among international agencies and universities with the goal of providing a broad range of teaching resources.

While some NGOs have volunteer teachers or people with pedagogical training to prepare resource materials, many others are either staffed by development experts with limited pedagogical skills or use outdated educational models. Even when experienced educators create classroom materials, there is often pressure for NGOs to "brand" and circumscribe materials to increase their visibility and capitalize on fund-raising opportunities. The result is that while some educational materials are outstanding, others need to be adapted to particular classroom circumstances (McLean, Cook & Crowe, 2006). Still others need to be rejected by educators as inappropriate for the task at hand. Understandably, many contemporary global citizenship education materials require critical and collaborative revisions to correspond with teacher candidates' grade levels, learning styles, community norms and broader issues of equity (Cook, Crowe & McLean, 2011, p.1).

Teaching from a global citizenship perspective is supported by recent province-wide initiatives such as those mandated in the Ontario Ministry of Education (OME) and other provincial curriculum guidelines in Canada that identify themes closely related to peace, global education and environmental sustainability (OME, 2007; 2013). Our goal has been to help novice educators critique and discriminate among the resources available to teach global citizenship, to adapt these materials for their students' educational needs and to suggest improvements to the NGOs' and INGOs' resources so the sponsoring organizations can improve these products. Our program aims to have pre-service teachers integrate global citizenship topics into the regular curriculum and to encourage them to develop new perspectives for teaching. To accomplish these dual tasks, we developed a Primer as an assessment tool to promote and support global citizenship pedagogy and curriculum under the assumption that without good resources, teachers can make only limited use of the progressive pedagogical strategies encouraged by global citizenship education (Merryfield, 2010).

Elsewhere, we focused on the pedagogy of teaching from a global citizenship perspective among teacher candidates (McLean, Cook & Crowe, 2008). In that research, we found that teacher candidates of core subjects related to global citizenship, such as Social Studies, Civics, History and Geography, need to be introduced in their pre-service programs to current and relevant information about the challenges of the developing and developed world and they require an appropriate pedagogy to deliver this information if they are to be successful in teaching global education. We found that teacher candidates require specific interactive pedagogical skills to teach these topics and "…they need classroom-ready curricula on which to draw to integrate global citizenship topics into provincially-approved curricula" (McLean, Cook & Crowe, 2011, p.1; Gaudelli, 1999). Hence, there is an obvious need to help pre-service teachers choose resource materials wisely. The Primer was designed to assist with the challenge of discriminating between resources that are useful and those that are not.

This study, in particular, targets the need for teacher candidates to access high-quality classroom-ready resources on global citizenship education for their students and within the standard curriculum while developing a "culture of critique" of these materials (Horsely, Newell & Stubbs, 2005; Cole, Barwell, Cotton & Brown, 2013; Gallavan, 2008). A number of studies that have examined global citizenship education have conflated the needs of teaching candidates with an analysis of curriculum materials (Blee, Britton, David & Young, 2006; Hicks & Board, 2001). Drawing upon teacher inquiry processes as a progressive practice for professional development, our aim in this study is to focus primarily on the critical consumption and development of curriculum materials, either electronic or print-based, to help teacher candidates access global education resources for use in the classroom. We believe that this Primer would be useful for experienced teachers as well, although they are not the focus of this research.

Among the multitude of demands and expectations that teachers confront, constantly reviewing documents or websites is time-consuming and requires professional pedagogical and academic knowledge to determine the suitability, adaptability and reliability of a resource. Therefore, we developed a guide for teacher candidates that we called a "Primer" (See Appendix). The Primer utilizes cognitive-developmental notions of child development and readiness, commonly presented to candidates in Canadian Faculties of Education.

For our research into how the Primer was being utilized by our candidates, we drew on Ermeling's four features of collaborative teacher inquiry: identify and define important and recursive instructional problems; connect theory to action; utilize evidence to drive reflection; and work toward detectable improvements (Ermeling, 2010). We view our research in understanding teacher candidates' use of the Primer as an opportunity for them to develop critical thinking skills through a professional learning experience (McNaughton, 2012; Duncan & Barnett, 2010). Our intention was for the candidates to go beyond the limited scope of the Primer to generate their own bank of skills and to recognize that becoming a teacher is a lengthy process spanning a career (Sears, 2014). As well, we anticipated that candidates might see their role in the future, if not now, in the production of NGO and INGO materials for the larger global community. In this article, we explore the ways in which the Primer was used by four groups of teacher education candidates. Our study addresses the following questions:

  1. What are the characteristics of the teaching population wishing to use such resources and pedagogy?
  2. What are the expectations and challenges of global education, its resources and pedagogy?
  3. How did teacher candidates use the Primer and what are the implications for their professional practice?

To respond to these questions, we begin with a discussion of the definitions, expectations and challenges of evaluating global citizenship resources for use in the classroom by exploring some of the studies that influenced our development of the Primer and research. In particular, we detail how the development of global citizenship education as a field—with its own components of analytical, evaluative and participatory skills— has evolved alongside issues of equity within education. This literature review includes an overview of the pedagogical practices that have developed within global citizenship education that are often seen as challenging on many levels, even for experienced practitioners. This discussion lays the groundwork for the authors' analysis of the questions listed above.

Definitions, Expectations and Challenges of Global Citizenship Education, Resources and Pedagogy

For our purposes, global citizenship education follows closely the definition set out by Graham Pike that identifies four components: the interdependence of all people within a global system; the connectedness and diversity of universal human attributes that link to areas of knowledge, curriculum subjects, aspects of schooling, and the environment; a global perspective to enable students to look beyond the confines of local and national boundaries; and, multiple perspectives that privilege the educative value of considering different views before reaching a judgment (Pike, 2000, p. 65).We also draw on other themes emerging from the literature. For example, the role of NGOs in global economic and educational systems has been identified as a way to contest the continued record of social injustice (Blackburn, 1998; Bigelow & Peterson, 2002). Moreover, the importance of Indigenous Peoples' views (Lamy, 1987) and the emphasis of wholism over particularism (Kolker, Ustinova, McEneaney, 1998) have been featured as themes within global citizenship education since the late 1980s. Merryfield emphasized the components of analytical, evaluative and participatory skills in private and public life as relevant to global citizenship education (1997; see also Kirkwood, 2001; Lapayese, 2003; Willinsky, 2005). Anti-racism (Merryfield & Subedi, 2001), feminism (Cook, 2008a, 2008b; Mofatt, 2000; Reardon, 1993) and multiculturalism (Toh, 1993; Zachariah, 1993) have also been identified as germane features of global citizenship education through their values and ideas of both the interdependency of the world and humans as citizens of a global community (Toh, 1993). Lastly, among many characteristics, global citizenship education calls for respect of differences and an appreciation of the rights of others; for example, Stanley Aronowitz and Henry Giroux (1991) stress power differentials, the disabling authority of hegemonic structures as well as the possibilities of empowering discourse (see also Preece, 2002; Wells, 1996).

The range of themes and topics encompassed by global citizenship education is immense. Teacher candidates and novice teachers may feel overwhelmed and intimidated by demands for their expertise in one or more of these fields within an already demanding curriculum. Understandably, teachers rely on classroom-ready resources to help them translate these complex topics into useful lessons and student-friendly classroom experiences.

Pedagogically, what has come to be called global citizenship education bears testimony to its social activist and progressive roots. It arose at the same time as Experiential Learning, the Values Clarification model, Open Schools and Child-Centred education (Cook, 2008a; Hendrix, 1998). Part of this progressive tradition of global citizenship education has been the claim that content and process should be fused or at least interdependent (Le Roux, 2001). As the field has advanced, strategies have been developed to encourage activity-based learning (Selby & Pike, 2000; O'Sullivan & Vetter, 2007) and perspectivistic analysis (Parker, Ninomiva & Cogan, 1999; Pike & Selby, 1988; Teach Magazine, 2005; Reardon, 1996; 2001), critical analysis, conflict management and resolution skills (Harris & Morrison, 2003), cooperative learning (Holden, 2000), story-telling (Calder, 2000; Moore, 2003; Robins, 2008), digital technologies (Zong, 2009; Harshman & Augustine, 2013; Gaudelli, 2006), student projects and community surveys (Tye & Tye, 1993). Hicks and Bord also note that global education tackles contemporary and future problems (2001; see also Perkins, 2002; Reardon, 1993; Calder, 2000). Pedagogical practices in global citizenship education are thus wholistic, reflective, and can be woven through other disciplines such as history and mathematics. Teaching strategies for global citizenship education stress empathetic strategies like roleplay (Holden, 2000) and simulations, (Gautier & Rebich, 2005), transformative inquiry skills, and authentic community partnerships and associations (Willinsky, 2005). As well, new approaches to assessment encompassing cognitive, affective and participatory domains have also been suggested (Evans, Ingram, Macdonald & Weber, 2009; Diaz, Massialas, Xanthopoulos, 1999; O'Sullivan & Pashby, 2008).

While such pedagogies are not foreign to teacher candidates and are typically woven throughout pre-service teacher education, interactive strategies are challenging on many levels for novice and even experienced practitioners. First, they require more time to implement than transmission-based pedagogical models such as lecturing or reading from a text. Since interactive pedagogies require active student engagement to be successful, complex strategies must often be modified for particular age groups or differentiated learning styles. Furthermore, teacher candidates must be willing to experience some frustration and confusion when negotiating these interactive pedagogies. A simulation game or perspectivistic analysis requires not only time to complete successfully and debrief with students, but also careful attention to the details of particular case studies related to complex issues. In turn, this approach demands a detailed knowledge of situations and outside readings beyond the range of experience of either the teacher or student. Hence, complex pedagogical demands, compounded with unfamiliar content, may cause teacher candidates to feel inadequate in the face of these exceptional demands of teaching global citizenship education (Appleyard & McLean, 2011). Teachers are drawn to classroom-ready resources that can assist them in successfully incorporating global citizenship education in their curriculum (McLean, Cook & Crowe, 2006).

Characteristics of the Teaching Population Needing Global Education Resources

Our discussions with teacher candidates indicated that while they find the subject matter of global citizenship to be important, many were also intimidated by the knowledge and pedagogical skills required to teach a rapidly changing information base, and by the challenge of a pedagogy with such heightened expectations for student engagement (McLean, Cook & Crowe 2008; Rapoport, 2010). Frequently, teacher candidates felt poorly equipped by their undergraduate education courses to act as authoritative information-providers for global citizenship education (Reimer & McLean, 2009; Gallavan, 2006; Holden & Hicks, 2007). Our research has allowed us to identify and define important and recursive instructional problems for teacher candidates (Ermeling, 2010). We conclude that assessing classroom-ready materials on the basis of the pedagogical content, as well as the information provided or assumed, is necessary.

Asking candidates to assess the value of outside agents' resources, such as NGOs who provide curricula, seems to run counter to the usual model of teacher education that tends to legitimize prepared resource materials. By encouraging teacher candidates to use the Primer to analyze and assess NGO-produced materials, we sought to instill a "culture of critique" in which all resources are assessed by prospective teachers. For this to be a reasonable goal, candidates required an exemplary guideline, thereby raising their confidence that they could recognize and then adapt appropriate pedagogies and information with these resources. The Primer invites teacher candidates to connect an exemplar (the Primer) to an instructional problem—how to assess what is acceptable in resources and what is not—while utilizing specific key prompts to utilize evidence in each case. On this basis, teacher candidates were given the means to drive their own reflection about these resources (Ermeling, 2010). Through this culture of critique, teacher candidates sharpened their critical faculties in recognizing, adapting, revising and then emulating the development of outstanding instructional resources, working towards "detectable improvements in their practice" (Ermeling, 2010) to sustain these teacher candidates throughout their teaching careers.

By introducing candidates to the Primer, we hoped to support a culture of critique through three objectives. First, we aimed to activate the prior knowledge of candidates who have studied issues related to equity in their undergraduate courses. All of the teacher education candidates in our study entered an eight-month B.Ed. Program with a Bachelor's Degree, with some having completed graduate studies. Given these prior learning experiences and the expertise of many candidates in their teachable subjects, we knew that a sizable number of them had background knowledge in equity-related issues such as gender, racializations (e.g. the way in which people are constructed in relation to their physical appearance, national origins and power differentials), sexual identity, or (dis)abilities. Based on our research and that of others, we also knew that candidates may not have seen their experience or knowledge as transferable to the learning demands and instructional challenges of global citizenship education (Dei, 2008; Ermeling, 2010).

Teacher education represents a formative stage in the candidates' learning (Maclellan, 2012). To address the disconnection between candidates' prior knowledge and their current ability to teach global citizenship education, and to drive candidates' critical consideration of classroom materials, we developed a Primer with a question-based format. These questions were designed explicitly to address the level, age and learning style, pedagogic approaches and, in particular, equity-related issues to activate candidates' prior knowledge by connecting theory to action. We also intended to probe candidates' understanding of hidden assumptions, omissions and bias alongside the more favourable attributes of equity, multiple perspectives and representations of global interdependence within these teaching resources. For candidates who were unfamiliar with these concepts, we intended for the Primer to be a springboard for further independent inquiry (O'Sullivan & Pashby, 2008) and to improve their understanding of criteria for critiquing resources in advance of using them in the classroom (Ermeling, 2010).

Second, through the Primer we demonstrated ways for candidates to connect theory to practice in their work as teachers. The apparent reluctance of teacher candidates to embrace theory is well documented (Smith & Hodson, 2012; Pring, 2012; Knight, 2012; Ermeling, 2010), as teachers often view theory as separate and independent from practice and as irrelevant to successful practice. Hence, candidates often miss the theoretical underpinnings of resources and therefore, the opportunity to judge that particular component of materials. Based on our commitment to infusing theory with action (praxis) in developing the Primer, we attempted to demonstrate how theoretical underpinnings (e.g. racializations and gender) could inform the practice of teachers (Ermeling, 2010; Korthagen, 2010).

In so doing, we take up the challenge as expressed by Hagger and McIntyre in their critique of "university-based teacher educators [who] have not shown themselves to be at all expert at [...] thinking concerned with questioning the practicality of apparently good theoretical ideas" (Hagger & McIntyre, 2006, p. 66). In designing our Primer, we framed the relationship between practice and theory as a model that supported teachers' professional learning (Maclellan, 2012). We argue that this relationship is a bottom-up process that is grounded in the individual teacher candidate's own learning style. Hence, we aimed to demystify discussions of theory generally by responding to Hagger and McIntyre's initiative to make theories practically useful (2006).

Finally, we aimed to encourage subject-based educators to integrate a global citizenship perspective into their teaching styles and methods. Multiple studies have documented the difficulty that subject-based educators face when incorporating global citizenship education into their disciplinary curriculum (Campbell & Crowe, 2011; Horsely, Newell & Stubbs, 2005). Although some teacher candidates may see a role for theory, in general, disciplinary training shapes certain perceptions of how one integrates new materials and perspectives into such areas and levels (Smith, 2001). Not surprisingly, because of a lack of experience and materials to teach global citizenship, confidence is a factor for candidates to integrate global citizenship topics into the broader curriculum. In their study on teaching citizenship in science, for instance, Hayward and Jerome note how candidates were not familiar with using their own lives as a "starting and ending point and so did not feel at ease with changing the implicit rules governing discourse on the subject" (2010, p. 216). Thus, some teacher candidates are faced with the challenge of developing the confidence and skills to integrate global citizenship knowledge and pedagogy into a subject-based curriculum about which they are aware they know too little. The benefits of acquiring these skills, however, can prove worthy for instruction (Cole, Barwell, Cotton, Brown, 2013). Teacher candidates face a steep learning curve as they attempt to identify and define important and recursive instructional problems in teaching the curriculum. However, if we can aid them in incorporating global citizenship knowledge and perspective into their subject-based curricula by offering support to discriminate between appropriate and less appropriate resources during a formative stage of their professional career, we are providing opportunities to support learning as candidates construct teaching expertise while also promoting global citizenship education (Goodwin, 2010).

The Primer: Characteristics and Possibilities

The Primer originated as a checklist to assess the value of resources for any content or interest area. As such, the original version stressed the first two categories of age- and learning-style appropriateness in the pedagogy employed in the resource. These two categories address the age range and learning styles of the curricular resources including the ratio of written to visual text, layout of student and teacher materials, balance of interactive and information strategies, and opportunities for communicating knowledge, values and research expectations. Issues relating to pedagogy were also addressed alongside alignment with the provincial Ministry Curriculum Guidelines, use of media and technology, integration of content and process and the use of interactive pedagogies recommended for particular stages of development. The reference points for the first iteration were Barbe, Swassing & Milone (1979), and Gardiner & Hatch (1989). With the clear need for pre-service candidates to critically assess global education resources, the Primer's content underwent multiple levels of assessment towards its improvement. A major section on equity was added, drawing on the relevant literature in that emerging area (Cook & Riley, 1994; Stanley, 2011) as well as professional knowledge. Questions in this section directed candidates to find evidence of multi-perspectivity, gender biases, racializations, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, class and cultural representations such as religion, etc. We created the "equity" category to parallel the more conventional fields of level, age- and learning-style appropriateness, and to emphasize the central importance of equity concerns in any curricular resource used to teach global and citizenship topics.

All of the criteria suggested for pre-service candidates are expressed as questions. We chose this structure to invite novice teachers to approach all educational resources from a critical perspective. We aimed for the Primer to be used in two distinct ways: first, to suggest questions that pre-service candidates should address with resources they intended to adopt, and secondly, to critique the Primer itself. We wanted to hear from pre-service candidates about any areas of confusion or omission. How could the Primer become a more useful guideline for them?

We also designed the criteria to assess the value of the curriculum resources as applicable to other topics and resources, not just those used to teach global citizenship. However, we do contend that global citizenship education resources in particular, require an assessment tool to assess their effectiveness and appropriateness for candidates to choose among the welter of available resources, and to suitably reinforce their own limited knowledge. Once having struck the original list and revised it several times over, we solicited teacher candidates' views on how they were utilizing the Primer as a means to obtain more information about how it could become even more useful (Primer: Appendix). The following section describes the methodology and addresses the process of analyzing the teacher candidates' responses to utilizing the Primer.


To use and critique the Primer with teacher education candidates and to determine how the Primer might be refined, we developed a three-pronged approach based on a mixed-method research paradigm (Cresswell, 2007; Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2006). To better understand the candidates' reactions to utilizing the Primer and to collect their suggestions for improvement, we held a series of four 1-1/2-hour workshops with the teacher candidates: two workshops were coordinated with teacher candidates from the four divisions of Teacher Education: Primary (Kindergarten to Grade 3), Junior (Grades 4 to 6), Intermediate (Grades 7 to 10) and Senior (Grades 11 and 12); the third workshop was conducted with the Primary/Junior candidates; a final workshop involved only Junior /Intermediate candidates (Table 1). All of the workshops took place prior to the teacher candidates' first practicum. The first two workshops with a total of 50 pre-service teachers were organized early in the teacher candidates' program as part of the annual Fall Institute at the beginning of October. The Fall Institute involves about 300 teacher candidates who attend a series of workshops related to teaching from a global perspective over two days. Our session involved two researchers and was advertised as an opportunity to explore the pedagogy and resources related to teaching from a global citizenship perspective. As an expression of the interest in our topic, we had full registration for the workshop.

We offered three components for each of the workshops. In the first part we introduced the Primer to the teacher candidates, discussed the origin of the idea and explained the rationale for our choice of categories. During the second part we introduced three separate resources for the teacher candidates to evaluate using the Primer: a multi-media video presentation, a print module for an interactive activity and a mapping exercise with a particular focus on gender issues. The selection of activities ranged across the four grade divisions: primary, junior, intermediate and senior. The third stage of the workshop included a focus-group discussion and debriefing by the teacher candidates about their experience of using the Primer, to encourage them to critique the resources and the Primer. One of the researchers led the session and the second researcher transcribed the discussion. Following each workshop, the researchers met to discuss their findings and record their evaluation of the session.

Table 1 Participation at Workshops

Workshop Level of Participants Total Number of Attendees
1 Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior 50
2 Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior 50
3 Primary and Junior 40
4 Junior and Intermediate 40

By combining candidates from the four teaching divisions, we wanted to explore the pedagogical expectations and resource-based challenges of teaching global citizenship education and to determine how the candidates utilized the Primer to critique the resources. We aimed to alter the Primer in response to concerns or new ideas presented. Our research design aimed to chart the recursive instructional problems experienced by teacher candidates, have them connect these problems to theory, and encourage them to reflect on how the resource (and the Primer) could be improved (Ermeling, 2010). Notably, all 100 of the candidates self-selected to attend the first two workshops, suggesting a high degree of motivation. By contrast, the third and fourth workshops were held during class time within the regular Curriculum Design course. The third and fourth workshops required 80 teacher candidates to participate in the discussion as a component of their course; thus, they may have had a more limited commitment to understanding global citizenship education and the Primer that we sought to introduce than those who self-selected to attend the first two workshops. Given that the third and fourth workshops took place in a Curriculum Design course, much of the discussion centered on the curricular advantages and challenges of using the Primer.

A second source of quantitative data emerged from the annual Fall Institute (Fall Institute Survey). Approximately 120 questionnaires were generated at this event (See Table 2). Based on their experience of attending workshops, listening to keynote speakers and watching films, candidates completed an online survey with questions related to integrating global citizenship education into the curriculum. To analyze the data, we tabulated the responses and drew upon Auerbach and Siverstein's (2003) method of reviewing the relevant text and grouping it into categories of repeated ideas to create themes.

Table 2 Fall Institute – Return rate on questionnaires

Teacher Education Candidates Responses to survey Return rate (%)
300 120 40 %

A third source of data was derived from the informal day-to-day conversations that the researchers had with teacher candidates following their first practicum experience. To understand the recursive instructional problems candidates faced and the varied uses to which the Primer was being applied (Ermeling, 2010), as well as changes that might be made to the Primer, the authors took note of the candidates' comments regarding their use of the Primer in differing circumstances.

Discussion and Findings:

Candidates' Expectations and challenges of global education, its resources and pedagogy

In addition to those challenges surveyed earlier in this paper, teacher candidates identified a range of expectations and challenges for teaching global citizenship education in relation to resources and pedagogy. When candidates were asked to identify and define important recursive instructional problems or barriers that might prevent them from teaching global citizenship-related topics, they responded that problematic subjects (e.g. religion or poverty) and issues regarding such topics as sexual orientation or parental reactions to controversial topics were seen as the greatest barrier (37%), followed by problems with materials or resources, as in the case of NGOs and fundraising initiatives or credibility of information from organizations (22%). Of particular interest, knowledge-based issues outranked the teacher candidates' concerns over difficult teaching strategies, the latter of which were identified by only 16% of the candidates (Fall Institute Survey, 2011). These results confirm our findings from previous research over the course of this project's life of almost a decade.

We gained further insight into pedagogical challenges when we raised this topic as a point of discussion at the workshops. Concerns regarding the integration of global citizenship into the mainstream curriculum were addressed specifically by the candidates in all age divisions. Among candidates of younger children, a major problem was seen to be addressing the complexity of global issues while still respecting the needs of a young student population. Teacher candidates also raised the integration of theoretical frameworks such as racializations and feminist theories into an elementary-level curriculum that largely focuses on local, regional and national issues. Among those who taught older students in senior grades, the tight scheduling of curriculum in classes was considered to be a major impediment as candidates worried about insufficient time to teach mandated content. As well, candidates were concerned about how they would access related material to take up these issues within their subject area considering the limited time for each class, how long it would take to prepare lessons to develop such themes, which supplies would be needed and how accessible they were, and whether this approach could be adapted easily to the curriculum. Further, teacher candidates wanted to know how materials might allow for accommodation, modifications and extension activities for their students (see also Hayward & Jerome, 2010; Hicks & Holden, 2007). The role of global citizenship education within the prescribed curriculum was another concern, including how heavily weighted global issues are in the curriculum. Generally, teacher candidates wanted to know how a global citizenship perspective could be adapted to mainline subject disciplines (Goodwin, 2010).

As an expression of these concerns, teacher candidates overwhelmingly requested more online and print resources specific to grade level and subject disciplines. (Fall Institute, 2011; see also Horsely, Newell, Stubbs, 2005). There was also a general agreement among the candidates about the need to confirm the legitimacy of the resources through comments such as "is the resource just a message about money?" and "what is the validity of the sources that are produced by the NGOs?" These and other worries about the quantity, balance and appropriateness of curriculum resources to teach global citizenship effectively in the classroom acted as further prompts for the Primer and its criteria to discriminate among resources.

Use of the Primer by teacher candidates and implications for professional practice

We discovered that teaching candidates mainly found the Primer to be useful in addressing their concerns although some candidates were clear that they were not prepared to use the Primer. Even these candidates, however, understood a culture of critique to be necessary in choosing appropriate resources or pedagogies for their pupils. Many candidates identified the value of using the Primer to assess the suitability of the many resources available to them and demonstrated their ability to use the Primer effectively. Moreover, candidates suggested additional opportunities for using the Primer to connect theory to action that were beyond our expectations. For example, one candidate recounted how she had used the Primer in a theory-based course to analyze articles for a paper she wrote. Another candidate reported using the Primer as a basis for his critique of general teaching resources during his practicum.

Some candidates took the approach of the Primer literally and followed the guidelines to the letter to work towards improving their teaching. Their reflections on using the Primer were practical, inferring that "here is a tool, and I will apply the categories to my evaluation of a resource." Among these candidates, additional suggestions for revising the Primer tended to focus on other practical needs such as the cost of resources and how current the website is. Other candidates identified the broader implications of the Primer to further challenge assumptions, omissions and bias. For these candidates, questions emerged based on critical inquiry and a culture of critique. Among these candidates, questions were raised concerning "who produced the material," "how are differing points of view represented," and "how does a teacher reconcile the contradictory nature of some of the ideas in the resource, such as religion and views on sexual orientation" (See also Merryfield, 2010; Preece, 2002; Swee-Hin & Floresca-Cawagas, 2000; Abdi & Shultz, 2008). Still other candidates preferred to develop their own criteria to assess resources and pedagogies.

One of our intentions was for candidates to personalize the Primer by emphasizing certain components over others. With these responses it appears that candidates saw the possibly of developing resources and instructional problems in new directions as their instructional needs changed. When candidates recommended changes to improve the quality of a classroom resource produced originally by a NGO, we forwarded those recommendations to the sponsoring agency (See also Blee, Britton, David & Young, 2006). In this way, we sought to impress upon our candidates that generating good resources to support global citizenship education is a community endeavour, one to which they can contribute for the benefit of the students receiving these resources, and for the broader community that derives advantages from improved public education resources.

These examples and others indicated to us the utility of such a document for many of the pre-service candidates with whom we worked. We could see the impact of the Primer in promoting a culture of critique in teacher education and in suggesting a wide applicability of guides of this kind in raising candidates' confidence and skills to teach global citizenship through collaborative teacher inquiry (McNaughton, 2012; Maclellan, 2012). In so doing, these "important and recursive instructional problems" of finding appropriate resources for the teaching of global citizenship education, and for other academic tasks to which a culture of critique can be applied, have been addressed (Ermeling, 2010).


With this Primer we attempted to enhance teacher candidates' learning by focusing on collaborative teacher inquiry to develop the confidence and skills to integrate a global citizenship perspective within interdisciplinary and subject-based curricula. By inviting candidates to engage in the dual purpose of critiquing resources and improving the overall design of the Primer guideline, they have engaged in both conceptual and practical learning. To the extent that we succeeded in engaging teacher candidates in the critical process of assessing classroom materials, we provided an opportunity for them to participate in knowledge and to construct curriculum in "liberatory and transformative ways...." (Banks, 2008, p. 323).

First, with regard to the culture of critique, the candidates clearly understood the necessity of critiquing resources; however, their approach to this level of critique varied by degree and depth of individual intentions. Some pre-service candidates chose not to use the Primer at all, but instead developed their own criteria. Second, on the utility of theory to inform practice, overall, candidates accepted the theoretical frameworks and recognized the practicality of theory for teaching complex topics. The third goal, however, of enlarging the candidates' ability to integrate global citizenship education into their subject-based teaching garnered the least success in our study. Evidence of the range of concerns as expressed by the candidates in the workshops varied from how they would manage to include more information and resources into an already crowded schedule to wondering about the emphasis on global citizenship within the curriculum. Although we succeeded in achieving our first two aims, we were less successful in convincing candidates to focus on a global perspective within their subject-based discipline, primarily among secondary school candidates.

In sum, the Primer is an educational initiative designed to facilitate the teaching of global citizenship as an interdependent and multi-perspective enterprise. To remain current, the Primer is continually under revision and updated by the authors and the teacher candidates to reflect current trends in thinking about equity issues. With regard to assessing gender, for example, in the revised 2015 Primer, we explore gender and gender identity beyond a male/female, man/woman binary. Through our use of the Primer with teacher candidates, we have endeavoured to push the general field forward by operationalizing interdependence and multi-perspectivity using a variable set of resources, most of which have been assessed according to a Primer. Candidates evaluated the materials from a number of perspectives to decide if a resource was appropriate for one group, but not another, if a component needed to be altered, or if the resource did not meet their curricular needs and therefore should be discarded. In so doing, we have evidence that teacher candidates have come to understand the construction of knowledge in new and exciting ways, and that their increasing desire to teach global citizenship themes through classroom-ready resources has been facilitated.


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Assessing Classroom-Ready Curriculum Resources in Peace and Global Citizenship Education: A Primer

(Sharon A. Cook, Tracy Crowe & Lorna R. McLean, 2011)

Most curriculum resources for teaching peace and global educational topics have been developed by non-governmental organizations to profile issues of concern to that constituency and to aid teachers in their classroom presentations. Many are outstanding and can be used with almost no adaptation. Understandably, some others require changes to make them appropriate to level, learning style, community norms or pedagogical equity. The following questions are intended to help in assessing these learning materials.

1. Level, Age & Learning Style Appropriateness

* Does the resource clearly indicate the educational level (academic, applied, workplace- oriented, open, gifted, transitional) for which it is intended? What evidence demonstrates the appropriateness of the resource for this particular level?

Consider the following:

  • reading level
  • conceptual development
  • types and placement of supporting questions or other comprehension aids
  • visual features, including explanatory illustrations.

* Is the age range of the target audience identified? What evidence demonstrates the appropriateness of the resource for a given age? (See all features identified above.) Is there evidence in the resource, of features for students of differing ages (including older), working at various levels of learning, to attract interest and serious consideration? What is the approximate length of sample in-class activities? Do these match the recommended length for the level and age group?

* Is the presentation of the information developmental, so that new understandings are introduced at various stages of the curriculum?

* What is the relationship of written to visual text?

* What additional information do you need to provide for students to understand this resource?

* Are the stated outcomes, expectations, and formative and culminating tasks in line with the Ministry of Education Curriculum Guidelines in your region?

* How are differing points of view reconciled in the resource?

2. Pedagogic Questions

* What additional research do you need to complete to be able to use this resource?

* Is any media or technology integrated into the resource? Is it appropriate for the age and level in terms of interest, cognition and developmental stages? Are there supportive questions to accompany the technological/media resources?

* Are assessment and evaluation items suggested for the resource? How do these suggestions fit with Curriculum documents in your region, stages of development, and outcome statements?

* Are the content and process components appropriately connected?

* Are any of the following strategies used, and if so, are they used appropriately (given the level, age and content)?

  • role plays
  • simulations
  • cooperative learning
  • community service
  • document analysis
  • decision-making.

* Is there a reasonable balance of interactive strategies and information providing? (Assess the difficulty of the concept, for which information provision is usually required.)

* Is there an opportunity for students to communicate their knowledge or opinions on a topic in a variety of ways, utilizing for example, recognition of Gardners' "Multiple Intelligences"?

* Are students invited to seek additional information from a variety of sources?

3. Equity Concerns: Gender, Racializations, Culture, Sexual Orientation, Dis/Ableness, Class, etc.

* In what ways do equity concerns intersect within the resource?

* How often are women's/men's or girls'/boys' specific needs or interests noted in the resource? Choose a sample lesson and one representative desired outcome. Substitute the opposite gender and assess whether the item still makes logical sense. Should it make sense? To what degree does the discussion of gender within the resource encourage sensitive classroom discussions about other instances where gender matters, such as politics, economy and health (HIV/AIDS)?

* How many of the suggested activities would interest girls as well as boys?

* Are boys and girls, men and women all represented visually and textually throughout the resources?

* Is the racialization of the group being examined identified? Is the racialization of the observer different from that of the observed?

* To what degree does the discussion of racializations within the resource encourage sensitive classroom discussions about other instances where racializations matter? Are issues of racializations integrated with discussions on gender, economy or politics?

* How are issues of culture covered in the material? Is there an attempt to explain culture without resorting to exoticism, stereotypes or invoking the bizarre?

* If religion is at the root of a culture's identity, is there sufficient space devoted to defining religious principles and their relationship to culture?

* Does the material cover the economic, colonial or political basis of this culture?

* Are diverse family/living arrangements such as same sex partners, single parents or grandparents represented in the resource?

* Does the resource feature people with dis/abilities? Could you integrate questions of ableness with this resource?

* Within the resource, is there evidence of differing class-based families/communities?

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