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International Education in Global Times

Engaging the Pedagogic


Paul Tarc

This book illuminates the changing landscape and expediency of international education in global times. Within this larger picture, the book focuses on the educational effects of international encounters, experiences and lessons – the complex processes of learning and subject formation in play during and after one's international/intercultural experience. These complex processes, hinged on past and present self-other relations, are illustrated by employing the parable of «The Elephant and the Blind Men.» In contrast to more narrow, developmentalist conceptions of intercultural learning, Paul Tarc attends to each of the linguistic, existential, structural, and psychical dimensions of difficulty constituting learning across difference. Becoming aware of, and reflexive to, these dimensions of difficulty and their implications for one’s own learning and resistance to learning, represents the domain of cosmopolitan literacy. The key intervention of this book is to re-conceive pedagogical processes and aims of international education as fostering such cosmopolitan literacy. Graduate courses on international education, study abroad, global citizenship education, and preservice education courses focusing on international education and teaching internationally could be primary candidates for this text.


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Preface: Approach of This Text


PREFACE Approach of This Text In the fall of 2009 I developed and began teaching a new course entitled ‘International Education: Opportunities and Challenges’ for pre-service education teacher candidates. There was institutional support for this course given my faculty’s and university’s mandate to ‘internationalize.’ For my part I understood that I could draw on my past experience of teaching in private international schools in the global South for seven years during the 1990s. I was also aware that there were increasing opportunities for my students to begin their teaching careers outside of Ontario or Canada. Mirroring the subtitle of this course I developed for my students, designing and teaching the course has provided its own set of ‘opportunities and challenges.’ It provided the opportunity to draw on both my academic and experiential interests and knowledge to design and teach a course aimed at opening up students’ thinking around education, schooling, teaching opportunities and the wider world. The course also posed for me a set of unique challenges. One big challenge was narrowing down curricular content for a very short 18-hour elective course. Another challenge was to bring a level of criticality into the largely celebratory and Western-centered imaginaries of international educa- tion. Still another was to resist polemic engagement in ideology critique and personalizations of privilege/oppression (and guilt) in a standpoint fashion that students could master and reject. Finding readings that are relatively accessible yet critical and nuanced continues to be difficult; indeed going beyond students’ schooled and me- diatized...

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