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Internationalizing Education in Teacher Preparation at the University of Missouri – St. Louis


The AACTE Committee on Global Diversity is hosting Internationalizing Education in Teacher Preparation, an October 6  webinar featuring the University of Missouri, St Louis College of Education faculty and staff, including Shea Kerkhoff. Below Kerkhoff outlines four initiatives they implemented to integrate a global perspective into its educator preparations programs.

Classrooms in St. Louis, like most of the country, are globally diverse and connected. Realizing the importance of including global perspectives and fostering international connections, the College of Education at the University of Missouri – St. Louis launched a year-long effort to enhance the internationalizing of our teacher preparation programs. The main objectives were to initiate a professional learning community centered on globally competent teaching, integrate global perspectives in our teacher education programs, create and share globally infused curricula, and strengthen international partnerships. The project was a comprehensive approach targeting faculty, staff, and students. Here we will share four of the initiatives from our year.

Initiative One: Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Inquiry Circles

For Initiative One, all full-time and part-time faculty in the College of Education (COE) and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) were invited to apply for the Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Inquiry Circles. Research shows that inquiry communities where knowledge is constructed through dialogue, collaboration, and reflection–rather than transmitted through a lecture — is an effective form of professional learning. Monthly inquiry circles began with discussion of a reading and included time for community members to problem-pose related to infusing global issues with their courses, lines of inquiry for action research, and discussion of possibilities. We collected self-assessment data in the fall and spring, which included the Teaching for Global Readiness Scale (Kerkhoff & Cloud, 2020). Outcomes of this initiative included increased faculty capacity for global teaching, internationalization of courses across the curriculum, and presentations reporting action research results.

Initiative Two: Teaching Global Readiness Grand Seminar

The Grand Seminar on Global Readiness targeted preservice teacher interns, their classroom mentor teachers, and COE teacher educators. UMSL preservice teachers in their final, year-long internship attend 6 day-long Grand Seminars during the academic year, designed to provide specific professional learning for preservice teachers and COE educators. Ariel Tichnor-Wagner served as the keynote speaker, and UMSL faculty then facilitated breakout sessions relating global competence to their grade level or content area expertise. Approximately 200 preservice teachers, 50 mentor teachers, and 20 COE educators attended.

Initiative Three: Integrating Global Readiness in Curriculum Outcomes and Standards

Following AACTE, Longview, and NAFSA’s lead in creating a global lens for the INTASC standards, the third approach was to revise UMSL’s teacher education undergraduate and masters programs to explicitly include global readiness. A committee of faculty revised the program descriptions and outcomes to align 100% with the NAFSA global lens on the InTASC standards. As an example of the revised program descriptions and assessment, the Masters in Curriculum and Instruction description was revised to include the words global and culture. Assessment of program outcomes now includes the Globally Competent Learning Continuum (Tichnor-Wagner, et al., 2019) in the capstone course.

Initiative Four: Doctorate of Education Partnership with Shenyang Normal University

The Inquiry in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning Ed.D. is an innovative partnership between UMSL COE and Shenyang Normal University’s School of Education in China. In a cohort model, students spent the first year working with faculty in Shenyang and the last two years learning with UMSL faculty. This mutually beneficial program extends Shenyang Normal University’s degree offerings to the doctoral level, increasing their prestige in the region, and increases enrollment of UMSL’s doctoral program. The cohort graduated last year with a 100% on-time graduation rate.

These four initiatives serve as examples of how teacher preparation programs can support internationalization. We were excited to be awarded the 2022 AACTE Best Practices Award in Support of Global and International Perspectives.  Thank you to the Global Diversity Committee for this recognition. It fuels our energy to continue integrating global and international perspectives.

On Thursday, October 6, join AACTE and the Committee on Global Diversity in welcoming the University of Missouri, St Louis College of Education faculty and staff as they share their experience with AACTE membership. Register today.

Shea Kerkhoff is assistant professor of literacy and secondary education at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

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