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Bridging Borders: Global Perspectives in Education.

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The individualization of curriculum is a challenge for the teacher education system in India. Curricula are prescribed by Universities for all the affiliated colleges, and these undergo revision only every few years. The curriculum innovation described in this report is a response to this challenge. The study explores a unique case of the development of a certificate add-on course relating to global perspectives in education for a group of pre-service teachers. The inquiry was based on a constructivist paradigm and revolved around two fundamental questions which emerged as the focus of the study. How did the teacher educator with almost no prior experience of curriculum development describe her experiences of developing a course on global perspectives in education? How did the participants in the course describe their learning experiences? The method of inquiry adopted was qualitative, and the research strategy used was the case study approach. The tools for data collection included interviews, observations and content analysis of documents. The data was analyzed using a narrative approach. The setting was a college of education affiliated to the University of Mumbai. The college is situated in the central business district of the metropolis of Mumbai, the commercial capital of India. The institution has about 200 students and 15 faculty members and runs courses for almost all levels of teacher education. The "actors" in this study were a group of 11 Bachelor of Education students who undertook the course in "Global Perspectives in Education" as an add-on course to enrich and supplement their studies. The "events" were the learning experiences of the researcher who developed the course to orient the students to the practice of education in different parts of the world, as well as the learning experiences of the students who had chosen to participate in the course. The processes studied were the evolution of the course and participants involvement in the learning process. The curriculum innovation incorporated perspectives on education from different parts of the world and covered a wide range of issues. A variety of source materials were used, among them the most popular was an American film "Freedom Writers" released in 2007 based on the book "The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World around Them" by Erin Grunwell. Another book used for readings was a bestseller, "Teacher Man" a memoir published in 2005, authored by Frank McCourt. A selection from the INNODATA Monograph Series published by the IBE UNESCO which provide information on successful innovations of interest and relevance to educational practitioners were used as case studies. Issues related to trade in education services and teaching overseas were also included. The course was transacted through a diversity of teaching methods such as case studies, discussions, viewing of film clips, reviews of books, readings, and other innovative methods. A secondary objective of the course was to enable the pre-service teachers to gain generic skills of critical thinking, reflection and analysis. The major findings of the study revealed that the course was process-based rather than product-based. The participants willingly engaged in the process of acquiring perspectives from across borders as they felt these skills were required to improve their prospects in the future. From the perspective of the teacher educator, though the process of curriculum development is not an easy one, it is a rewarding experience. Curriculum development is not static; rather it is ongoing and dictated to a large extent by contexts of the learning situation. A list of case studies used for the presentation by the students is appended.
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Author:Lath, Meenakshi
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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