Growing Our Work in Internationalization

An #AACTE24 Session Recap and Reflection

Within the field of education, internationalization has been a point of discussion for the better part of the past decade. However, it has risen in popularity following the global pandemic. The pandemic made it apparent to educators and students alike the gaping holes in the preparedness of K-12 educators.

Along with the ways our students struggled with online learning here in the United States, similar struggles were experienced by children across the globe. Internationalization aims to make us more aware of the challenges faced at schools outside of our country to uphold our commitment to social justice. The time is ripe for us as a field to learn more about internationalization and what it may look like to prioritize it at our respective institutions in the U.S. This conversation was opened up at the AACTE 2024 Annual Meeting by moderator, Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D. and the speakers Sarah K. Anderson, Ph.D., Margery McMahon, Pinky Jain, Ph.D., and Susan Ledger, Ph.D.

The panel centered questions around how internationalization fits within our notions of high-quality teacher education, the scope of teacher education, and why the U.S. should work toward better understanding internationalization efforts. Given that all of the scholars on this panel were situated at universities in other countries, their perspectives highlighted their personal experiences in implementing these tactics over the last few years. When asked how scholars may expand their scope of teacher education, Anderson and McMahon shared opportunities that currently exist that allow for funding through the British Academy fellowships, comparative research spaces and study abroad programs.

Internationalization is more than simply training new educators, our focus should be on their level of preparedness. When we focus on the production of new educators we fall into the trap of industrialization which leads us to surface-level relationships with our students. This new approach aims to build longstanding, positive relationships with student-teachers so they feel further inclined to continue teaching and reciprocate that holistic approach in their own classrooms.

“Internationalization is at our doorstep,” Anderson said, and therefore we are encouraged to learn more about it.

There was an emphasis placed on attending academic conferences not just in your home country but internationally as well. A special invitation was extended by McMahon to submit abstracts for the 2025 International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) taking place at the University of Glasgow.  Ledger encouraged submissions for the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA) hosted at the University of Newcastle. In broadening our scope by attending international conferences, we open ourselves up to learning new pedagogies that are succeeding at other institutions. Jain reminds us that, “we have a lot of co-learning to do” which can be achieved through active engagement in global discussions.

This sharing of ideas may also occur through international groups of administrators such as the Alliance for International Education, International Baccalaureate, and the Global Network of Deans of Education. Such spaces create a forum for educators from various countries to come together and share what is working for them as well as assist in reframing the ways we view certain countries. Ledger reminds us of the intrinsic value of meeting others from outside of our own, safe, comfort zones. Although it’s admittedly challenging at times, it prepares us all to co-create a more diverse field of education that helps us achieve a “workforce of educators that can go anywhere,” according to Jain.

Cassaundra Guzman is an AACTE Holmes Scholar and Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University.