Networking for Global and Sustainability Education – UNESCO ASPnet in Estonia

Networking for Global and Sustainability Education – UNESCO ASPnet in Estonia

UNESCO is tasked to ensure that education serves the values of peace, human rights, freedom, justice and democracy, respect for diversity, and international solidarity as defined in the UN Charter and the Constitution of UNESCO. Since 1953, the organisation has offered schools in its member states the opportunity to apply to be part of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet), which supports the promotion of the UNESCO ideals. Today, the ASPnet connects more than 11,500 schools in 182 countries, and the current strategy aim for the network is to support Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship Education (GCED). These are seen as the key instruments for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Target 4.7 with the aim of giving all learners the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development (UNESCO, 2014).

The ASPnet has, throughout its existence, aimed to strengthen the horizontal links between schools through twinning and flagship projects which support the diffusion of participatory and critical enquiry pedagogies (Schweisfurth, 2005). The Baltic Sea Project (BSP) is one of the oldest flagship projects. Since 1989, it has united schools in the countries bordering the Baltic Sea to tackle regional environmental problems through education. Currently, in the nine participating countries, over 165 schools (mainly upper-secondary level) are involved in the BSP activities (BSP, 2022).

My research deals with the history and current state of these school networks in the context of Estonia and analyses how the process of tighter integration of the BSP network into the UNESCO ASPnet contributes to achieving a more holistic understanding of a sustainable future through enhanced cooperation between different subject teachers and civil society organisations (CSOs).

Revitalising the school network

The process of revitalising the school networks started in 2014, when the Estonian UNESCO National Commission gave the task of coordinating the networks to two separate CSOs that both work as resource centres for schools and teachers: the Tartu Environment Education Centre (TEEC) started coordinating the BSP network while NGO Mondo’s Global Education Centre restarted the UNESCO ASPnet. Both centres are highly valued actors in their respective fields in Estonia.

The integration process of the networks started in 2018 with first the CSOs coming together – the coordinator from TEEC took part in Mondo’s Global Education training with some key teachers from the BSP network and the integration proceeded with joint planning, events and new guidelines for schools. According to the renewed guidelines, all ASPnet schools are encouraged to include global and sustainability education into school development plans, school regulations, management style, and community participation. They are required to do a minimum of one international UNESCO project/campaign/program and two UN thematic days yearly.

ASPnet schools are also expected to mainstream ESD and GCED to curriculum, working plans and lessons and support cooperation between teachers. As a follow-up activity to strategy renewal, all BSP schools were awarded ASPnet membership.

Analysis of the ASP Network in Estonia

The main aim of my study was to analyse the institutional and ideational context of ESD, GCED and ASPnet in Estonia, questioning whether networking can support a more holistic, critical, and transformative GCED and ESD – dimensions which are seen as crucial in the academic literature (Bamber, 2019). I used mixed methods to gather data from the ASPnet teachers and Estonian education policymakers and experts.

A survey questionnaire was completed by 24 teachers in the network, and 20 teachers took part in a participatory workshop during the ASPnet Annual Conference. In addition, ten teachers, five policymakers and five experts and coordinators were interviewed online. A review of annual reports from schools, previous studies, and policy documents was also conducted.

Identifying silos 

The survey data, interviews and workshop conducted with the ASPnet teachers showed some silos between different subject teachers. While teachers of natural sciences (chemistry, physics, biology) linked global competence to environmental awareness, teachers of social sciences (civics, history, geography) and languages linked it to intercultural competence. While all teachers saw the need to encourage students’ critical thinking, social science teachers saw more value in introducing controversial topics to discussions as well as critical examination of topics such as capitalism, colonialism, and nationalism.

Silos also exist in an institutional context where different ministries support various aspects of Target 4.7: the Ministry of Environment supports environmental education and ESD while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives funding for GCED activities. At the same time, the joining of the networks and increased collaboration between different subject teachers has been useful in breaking down the silos and increasing cooperation. However, there is room for improvement in ASPnet at all levels, from the school to national and international levels. Activities often end up being one-off events without a profound impact on the school as a whole. Communication problems and lack of resources also hinder UNESCO ASPnet from reaching full capacity.

Opportunities and challenges

Since the restart of the network, several new educational institutions have applied to join the Estonian ASPnet (including pre-schools, primary schools, and secondary schools), which could be seen as a positive result of the new, more inclusive approach. At the beginning of 2022, the Estonian ASPnet included 60 educational institutions (7-8% of all schools in Estonia). Many schools have joined after their teachers participated in Mondo’s in-service training in GCED.

Being a member of ASPnet is seen to give prestige and legitimacy to the schools (especially in situations where schools need to compete for students), as well as more resources to work on global and sustainability education. The network coordinators motivate teachers to be active by offering recognition, awards and opportunities for student participation and their resources are appreciated by the participating teachers.

Looking at the overall context of GCED and ESD in Estonia, we can see both opportunities and challenges for the promotion of UNESCO values. The main challenges are related to the overall policy discourse, which emphasises neoliberal, nationalistic and security discourses with limited reference to global solidarity. Emphasis is on subjects tested in high-stakes exams and PISA. At the same time, the autonomy of schools and teachers gives opportunities to place more emphasis on ESD and GCED in schools where teachers are trained, resourced, and motivated. The curriculum encourages including these themes in a transversal manner, which supports the activities of ASPnet. Openness and expertise in digital learning are also assets (GENE, 2019).

The study concludes that the ideas around holistic, critical, and transformative dimensions of GCED present in academic literature need contextualising. The decolonisation discourse is becoming more prevalent in academic GCED literature, where it refers predominantly to Global North vs Global South relations, while ignoring the post-Soviet experience.

When asked about criticality, one of the Estonian teachers noted that:

“in school, we should talk more about colonialism as we were ourselves colonized only recently, but we should not be too critical of nationalism as we need to protect our minority language and culture”.

This shows how concepts like ‘colonialism’ and ‘nationalism’ can have different meanings and connotations in different contexts. The ‘west’ in this context is not a symbol of past and current injustices, but a symbol of democracy and human rights as opposed to Soviet and Russian authoritarianism and chauvinism.

 One of the biggest current challenges for the Estonian education sector is the war in Ukraine, the integration of Ukrainian refugees into Estonian schools*, continuing integration of the Russian-speaking minority into Estonian society, as well as fighting propaganda and hate speech. In this situation, GCED can have a key role to play in supporting peace, global solidarity, and human rights, but special emphasis needs to be put on critical media literacy.

 

* By the end of May 2022, Estonia received more than 40 000 refugees from Estonia (3% of the Estonian population), and thousands of refugee children need access to education in Estonia.

Key Messages

UNESCO school network in Estonia motivates a growing number of schools to work on global and sustainability issues

There are silos between natural and social science teachers as well as different ministries in their understanding and promotion of Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Networking between different subject teachers can lead to more holistic approach to teaching global challenges

Critical theory needs to be contextualised in the local history and experience

Johanna Helin

Johanna Helin

EdD candidate at OISE (University of Toronto)

Johanna Helin is an EdD candidate at OISE (University of Toronto) and carries out studies and evaluations through UbuntuEDU in Finland. She has many years of experience in Global Citizenship Education from Finland, Estonia and Canada. Her dissertation research is on global citizenship education and critical media literacy in selected ASPnet schools in different country contexts.

References and Further Reading

Baltic Sea Project website (accessed June 10, 2022): https://unesco-bsp.blogspot.com/ 

Bamber, P. (Ed.). (2019). Teacher Education for Sustainable Development and Global https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/oa-edit/10.4324/9780429427053/teacher-education-sustainable-development-global-citizenship-philip-bamber 

Citizenship: Critical Perspectives on Values, Curriculum and Assessment (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi-org.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/10.4324/9780429427053

 GENE – Global Education Network Europe (2019). The European Global Education Peer Review Process – National Report on Global Education in Estonia. Available at: https://www.gene.eu/peer-reviews

Schweisfurth, M. (2005). Learning to Live Together: A Review of UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project Network. International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, Vol. 51 Issue 2/3, p. 219-234. DOI: 10.1007/s11159-005-3579-9 https://research.birmingham.ac.uk/en/publications/learning-to-live-together-a-review-of-unescos-associated-schools- 

UNESCO (2003). UNESCO Associated School Project Network (ASPnet): historical review 1953-2003. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000130509?6=null&queryId=4f483e5c-0778-470e-9a63-5aaac01f9c13 

 UNESCO (2014b). ASPnet strategy for 2014-2021, Global network of schools addressing global challenges: building global citizenship and promoting sustainable development.Available at: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000231049?14=null&queryId=d968d1b3-3718-42c0-a1ea-8835499d4ccc 

 UNESCO (2018b). UNESCO Associated Schools Network: guide for national coordinators. UNESCO: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000261994

 UNESCO (2019a) UNESCO Associated Schools Network: guide for members. Available at: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000379707?4=null&queryId=3021db41-accf-4546-bf3f-12e6441595a9    

 

Reimagining Teacher Education Pedagogies and Policies in the Context of Mass Global Migration

Reimagining Teacher Education Pedagogies and Policies in the Context of Mass Global Migration

Diversity across the world is hardly new, but its nature is changing given the growing number of refugee and migrant children, placing increasing stress on schools to meet their learning needs [1] These increases in transnational mobility have teachers struggling to reconsider their everyday practices to accommodate many more newcomers in their classrooms, even while immigrant and refugee students lag behind their nonimmigrant peers academically. [2] [3] [4]

In 2019, the number of international migrants reached 272 million; 33 million of them were children. Among the world’s migrants are nearly 29 million refugees and asylum seekers who have been forcibly displaced from their own countries. An additional 41 million people in 2018 were internally displaced due to conflict and violence, an estimated 17 million of whom were children. [5]

The need for teachers to become more responsive to changing social conditions and student populations is gaining urgency [6][7][3][8] as recent reports [9] emphasize the support of children from low socio-economic, migrant, or “disadvantaged” minority backgrounds. This highlights teacher supply and preparation as an urgent issue affecting immigrant and refugee education globally. [10]

Reimagining Teacher Education Pedagogies and Policies Across Turkey, United States, and Hong Kong

Our purpose in this study was to gain insight into quality teachers for immigrant students. Using social justice as a lens, we focused on teacher educators, whose research and experience center on preparing teachers to teach immigrant students and considered their perspectives on teaching immigrant students for educational equity. To this end, in a multiple case study, we examined teacher educators in Turkey, the United States (US), and Hong Kong (HK), as each context presents a distinct case of immigration.

In Turkey, immigrants have recently consisted largely of refugees displaced by war. The US has, historically, long received immigrants, motivated by push factors such as political conflicts, as well as pull factors such as economic opportunities. HK’s colonial past and subsequent re-integration with greater China has meant minimal “traditional” immigration, but rather ethnic minorities who are non-Chinese residents, imported workers, and migrants from mainland China.

We acknowledge the essentializing nature of these characterizations of immigrant, which simplifies the complexity of the phenomenon as it unfolds in each context. Our intention was not to mask the multilayeredness of immigration generally, or in each of these contexts, but to illuminate the varied ways in which the concept of immigrant manifests internationally, and to forward our cases as three specific examples.

Theoretical Framework

We conceptualized the perspectives of teacher educators for teachers of immigrant students using theoretical frameworks articulated by two scholars of social justice teaching and teacher education. First, we used bell hooks’ notion of teaching to transgress [11] to illuminate teacher practice and preparation that can “enables transgressions” needed to dismantle entrenched educational hegemonies experienced by immigrant youth and “[make] education the practice of freedom” [11]. Second, we used Cochran-Smith’s theory of teacher education for social justice which “is intended to challenge the educational status quo and be transformative” [12] by interrogating the central issues of teacher education: teachers, curriculum, teaching contexts, and outcomes. Our study offers insight into what seems to be emphasized (or absent) in pre- and in-service teacher education to support immigrant learners, both within the confines of each unique context and also through collaborative global dialogue across three cultural boundaries.

Teacher Educators’ Perspectives on Preparing Teachers to Teach Immigrant Students

Through our study, we aimed to gain insight into educating immigrant students and what seems to be emphasized (or absent) in pre- and in-service teacher development and practice to support immigrant learners in these three contexts, based on the perspectives of teacher educators who do the work of preparing teachers to teach immigrant students. In doing so, we asked the following question: “Using social justice as a lens, what insights do teacher educators in Turkey, the US, and HK, offer on preparing teachers to teach immigrant students?”

We framed each context as an individual case and examined the perspectives of practicing teacher educators from the US, Turkey, and HK, given the unique insights professionals from each context can offer for teacher preparation/development for educating immigrant students. Our study included 22 teacher educators from Turkey, the US, and Hong Kong, whose research interests and experiences center on preparing teachers to teach immigrant students.

We present the findings from our preliminary analysis of our interview data under three themes of teacher educators’ identity, their work, and implications for teacher education, policy, and research. 

Findings

Teacher Educators and Who They Are

Our analysis revealed that the topic of educating immigrant children was personal to many teacher educators whom we interviewed. They either had a first-hand experience of being an immigrant child or had generational family histories of immigration. Other teacher educators also mentioned that in addition to their personal histories, their professional and educational histories mattered when engaging persistently in topics of research and teaching related to educating immigrant children.

 

Teacher Educators and The Work That They Do

The teacher educators intentionally integrated their research on issues around immigrants and immigration and the elements of social justice with their teaching. For example, they discussed including specific pedagogies on how to teach immigrant students in their teacher education courses and bringing their research into teaching to provide evidence from the field. In addition, many teacher educators elaborated on building partnerships and collaboration as key to teaching immigrant students. Some were involved in family-community partnerships and others were in collaboration with colleagues who have direct immigrant backgrounds or are close to immigrant communities because they believed that such collaboration and partnerships can offer important perspectives on how to teach and partner with immigrant students and families.

 

Teacher Educators and the Work That Needs to be Done

The narratives of the teacher educators across the three national contexts pointed toward what further work needs to be done to ensure education that is equitable and socially just for immigrant students around the globe. The first is a radical reform in teacher education programs; second is learning about and navigating policies that are often against immigrants; third is the need for research that is context specific but also cross-cultural and transnational as one way to respond to the mass global migration. 

 

Within these themes, we also drew upon bell hooks conception as “education as the practice of freedom,” and used bell hooks’ concepts to illustrate teachers’ enactments. An example of our participant, YM, is here. 

Findings

Example of a Webinar: Pre-service Teachers in Dr. Akin-Sabuncu’s Life Studies Education class at TED University

The theoretical lenses afforded by hooks and Cochran-Smith enabled us to discern connections between teacher educator identities and work, and teacher preparation for educating immigrant students. Our findings showed: 1) the relationship between identity and commitments to teaching marginalized populations as each respondent articulated a clear connection to immigrant students as key to their work, an insight into “which teachers are recruited” for social justice teaching [12]; and 2) inserting “a counter-narrative account” that “insist[s] that everyone’s presence is acknowledged” [11] by building bridges between immigrant communities and families and teacher preparation curricula, and enabling the capacities of immigrant students contained in everyday, ordinary actions to be instructive to new and experienced teachers and researchers.

 

Our study illuminates the need for teacher educators to design preparation programs that explicitly address immigrant students, enable novice teachers to make professional connections to immigrant communities through personal, authentic experiences, stretch the curriculum beyond the confines of the university to engage local communities and make full use of the rich resources and partners they represent. Through this study, we present a broader, more global view on teaching and teacher education for (im)migrant students, provide a window into the knowledge and skills teacher educators need to emphasize in their preparation, and offer lessons for and across different national settings.

 

Their narratives across the three jurisdictions highlighted what further work needs to be done to ensure socially just education for immigrant students around the globe. First is radical reform in teacher education programs; second is learning about and navigating policies that are often hostile to immigrants; third is the need for research that is context-specific but also cross-cultural and transnational as one way to respond to mass global migration. 

We are looking forward to sharing our findings at the annual meetings of the ECER-2022 and WERA-2022!

 

Dr Sibel Akin-Sabuncu

Dr Sibel Akin-Sabuncu

Assistant Professor of curriculum and instruction at the Faculty of Education at TED University.

Sibel Akin-Sabuncu, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at the Faculty of Education at TED University. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in the Curriculum and Instruction Program at Middle East Technical University. Dr. Akin-Sabuncu was a visiting scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University during her doctoral studies, and is also currently a postdoctoral researcher and a visiting assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on preservice and in-service teacher education; elementary teacher education; teacher/teacher educator beliefs; teaching and teacher education for social justice/immigrant and refugee students/disadvantaged students; educational equity; critical pedagogy; and culturally responsive pedagogy.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/sibel-akin-sabuncu-77034643

Instagram @sibel_akin_sabuncu

Dr Crystal Chen Lee

Dr Crystal Chen Lee

Assistant professor of English language arts and literacy at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC

Crystal Chen Lee, Ed.D., is an assistant professor of English language arts and literacy at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Her research lies at the nexus of literacy, teacher education, community engagement, and marginalized populations. She received her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Twitter: @CrystalChenLee1

Dr Seung Eun (Sunny) McDevitt

Dr Seung Eun (Sunny) McDevitt

Assistant professor of special education at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, USA.

Seung Eun (Sunny) McDevitt, Ed.D., is an assistant professor of special education at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, USA. Her research interests include diverse teachers and their inclusive practice for marginalized children in early childhood education and care contexts. Prior to entering academia, Dr. McDevitt was an early childhood/special education teacher and a learning specialist in New York City.

Twitter: @SunnyMcDevitt

Dr A Lin Goodwin

Dr A Lin Goodwin

Dean and Professor of the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong

Lin Goodwin (葛文林) is Dean and Professor of the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong. Professor Goodwin’s research focuses on teacher/teacher educator beliefs, identities and development; equitable education and powerful teaching for immigrant and minoritized youth; international analyses and comparisons of teacher education practice and policy.

Twitter: @algoodwin_TC

GENE Awards

EERA is delighted and honoured to be partnering with the Global Educational Network in Europe (GENE) to make significant research funds available to our members to further research in the area of global education.

These research awards are funded by Global Education Network Europe (GENE), the European network of Ministries and Agencies with national responsibility for policymaking, funding, and support in the field of Global Education. For this reason, the subject area for research projects undertaken is that of Global Education.

The purpose of the award is to support quality research around the themes outlined here  – which have been identified as of interest to policymakers. Gathering of existing research, application of existing research from other areas of education to Global Education, follow-up studies, all are perfectly acceptable. It is not expected that the research has to draw policy conclusions – but to make available up-to-date, policy-relevant research from which policymaker can draw their own conclusions.

References and Further Reading

[2] American Psychological Association (APA), Presidential Task Force on Educational Disparities. (2012). Ethnic and racial disparities in education: Psychology’s contributions to understanding and reducing disparities. Retrieved from
http://www.apa.org/ed/resources/racial-disparities.aspx

[12] Cochran-Smith, M. (2010). Toward a theory of teacher education for social justice. In A. Hargreaves (Eds.), Second international handbook of educational change (pp. 445–467). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. https://www.academia.edu/4346572/Toward_a_Theory_of_Teacher_Education_for_Social_Justice

[9] European Commission. (2013a). Education and training in Europe 2020: Responses from the EU member states. Brussels: Eurydice. https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/education-and-training-europe-2020-responses-eu-member-states_en

[6] European Commission. (2013b). Supporting teacher competence development for better learning outcomes. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/repository/education/policy/school/doc/teachercomp_en.pdf

[11] hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress. New York, NY: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Teaching-to-Transgress-Education-as-the-Practice-of-Freedom/hooks/p/book/9780415908085

[7] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2010). Educating teachers for diversity: Meeting the challenge. Retrieved from
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264079731-en

[3] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2016). Supporting teacher professionalism: Insights from TALIS 2013. Retrieved from
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264248601-en

[8] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2019). TALIS 2018
results (Volume I): Teachers and school leaders as lifelong learners.
Paris: OECD
Publishing. https://www.oecd.org/education/talis-2018-results-volume-i-1d0bc92a-en.htm

[10] Paine, L., Blòmeke, S., & Aydarova, O. (2016). Teachers and teaching in the context of
globalization. In D. Gitomer & C. Bell, (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp.
717-786). Washington, DC: AERA. https://www.academia.edu/27448289/Paine_L._Blomeke_S._and_Aydarova_O._2016_._Teachers_and_Teaching_in_the_Context_of_Globalization._AERA_Handbook_of_Research_on_Teaching

[1] Public Policy & Management Institute. (2017). Preparing teachers for diversity: The role of initial teacher education.Brussels: European Commission.

[4] Sugarman, J. (2017). Beyond teaching English: Supporting high school completion by immigrant and refugee students. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/beyond-teaching-english-supporting-high-school-completion-immigrant-and-refugee-students

[5] UNICEF. (2020). Child migration. Retrieved from https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-migration-and-displacement/migration

Developing a Classroom Tool to Promote Critical Perspectives on ‘Single Stories’

Developing a Classroom Tool to Promote Critical Perspectives on ‘Single Stories’

EERA is delighted and honoured to be partnering with the Global Educational Network in Europe (GENE) to make significant research funds available to our members to further research the area of global education. We asked the recipients of the Global Education Award 2020/21 to share their research with the broader EERA community.  

In 2009, the Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, delivered a Ted Talk about what she called The Danger of a Single Story. Adichie’s central theme is that how stories are told, who tells them, when and how, is ‘really dependent on power’. She illustrates this by drawing on her own experiences of being subjected to single stories about Africa as a place of ‘catastrophe’ and juxtaposing this with examples of the single stories she has held about others.

So that is how to create a single story, show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.

Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, 2009

Adichie’s talk was translated into 45 languages and clearly resonated deeply with many people. In common with other educators with an interest in facilitating Global Citizenship Education (GCE), we (the two researchers) found it useful to use The Danger of a Single Story as a stimulus for conversations about challenging prejudice and stereotypes.

We became interested in how this could be supported by developing a tool for exploring global issues critically from different perspectives on how the world is. Building on previous research on teachers’ experiences with GCE (Franch, 2020), we were influenced by Vanessa Andreotti’s (2010) ideas on developing critical literacy to pluralize ways of knowing, and possibilities for thinking and practice. Andreotti’s ideas have also been significant in developing GCE as a form of critical pedagogy; influencing our use of the term ‘critical GCE’ here (Blackmore, 2014).

Whilst ideas about critical GCE are generally familiar to those working in the field, we were aware of concerns about the lack of opportunities for teachers to engage with these in practice (Blackmore, 2014; Pashby and Sund, in Bourn, ed. 2020). For instance, we knew The Danger of a Single Story might be popular with teachers, but we were less clear about whether and how far they might use it to promote critical GCE. We aimed to develop a tool to support the use of Adichie’s talk, which could be explored with teachers. As educators based in Italy and the UK, we were also interested in comparing responses between two different European contexts.

Developing the ‘Single Story’ tool

To begin developing the tool, we drew on existing ideas and frameworks developed with similar aims in mind. These ranged from tools like the Development Compass Rose and Andreotti’s (2006) framework for distinguishing between ‘soft’ and ‘critical’ GCE, to more recent work on applying her HEADS UP tool in classrooms, developed into a resource for teachers. Whilst acknowledging these developments, and not wanting to ‘reinvent the wheel’, we felt there was space for a tool which could support responses to Adichie’s Single Story specifically.

We devised a series of six themes or ‘lenses’ through which different questions could be applied to any issue identified as a Single Story. This might be represented by an image, text, film clip, or even an object.

For instance, Adichie’s example of the single story of Africa might be represented by an image typically used by organisations seeking donations for development projects (see image below from Radi-Aid).

“The frequent portrayal of Africa as a continent in need prompted sadness among the respondents in the study, which was carried out in collaboration with the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK.

Such campaigns often depict black children in need, and several of the respondents wished that these stories could be complemented by showing children of other colors or backgrounds, or black doctors, professors or aid workers. They would like to see portrayals of people with agency in their own situations and results of their accomplishments.”  — RADI-AID

Photo: Edward Echwalu
Design: Click Design. For RADI-AID
Having drafted the tool, the next step was to pilot it with teachers in Italy and the UK via online webinars. To prepare teachers, we encouraged them to complete an Identity Starburst from a template provided. During the webinars, stimuli such as images and ‘values cards’ were used in conjunction with activities and reflective questions to facilitate a participatory process.  Activities encouraged individual reflection on themes of identity and perceptions of self and others, before inviting teachers to respond to Adichie’s talk, identify their own ‘single stories’ and use the tool to analyse them. This process attempted to strike a balance between the need to produce research outcomes and empowering teachers to co-construct the tool with us as researchers (Bullivant, Ayre and Smith, 2022).

Reflections on Teachers’ Responses, the Tool, and Issues of Power

Our comparative analysis found some differences, influenced partly by the way in which GCE has evolved in each country, as well as differing cultural, social, and political factors and histories.  UK teachers were more likely to have encountered Adichie’s talk and were more familiar with the enquiry-based and participatory activities used in webinars. This reflects the influence of critical and postcolonial discourses towards a more critical form of GCE in the UK (Bullivant, 2020). In contrast, Italian teachers’ experience has been grounded primarily in intercultural education (Franch, 2020). Whilst topical events and issues unique to each country shaped the kinds of single stories shared by teachers to some extent, these were often part of over-arching themes common to both contexts.  For example, discussions of single stories in the Brexit debate in the UK overlapped with themes of identity, migration, and populism in Italy. Beyond this, a number of other common themes emerged: 

  • Teachers in both contexts welcomed the space to share and reflect on complex issues, and experiment with the tool. They shared ideas about how they might use the tool in practice, including adaptations for different age groups.
  • The concept of single stories resonated with teachers’ experiences personally and in their teaching with young people. They reflected on the responsibility of schools and available resources in perpetuating the ‘single story of progress’ about “developed” and “underdeveloped” countries (Andreotti, 2015).
  • When reflecting on their own identities and the way in which single stories originate and persist, many teachers tended to remain at the level of superficial analysis of factors shaping identity and perceptions of self and others, rather than more critical analysis of the roots and power dynamics influencing these.

 

These themes support our rationale for developing the tool in the first place, especially the resonance found between the concept of single stories and teachers’ experiences and reflections on the inadequacy of existing resources to challenge these. They also informed ideas for developing it going forward. These include straightforward adaptations to terminology to create versions for different age groups and the more complex need to draw teachers’ attention to their own positions and perspectives, and questions of power underpinning these.

 

Dr Andrea Bullivant

Dr Andrea Bullivant

Dr Andrea Bullivant is employed by Liverpool World Centre and has facilitated Global Citizenship Education for twelve years. Her work has focused increasingly on bringing research and practice together to develop new understanding across the sector, to engage community partners and develop evaluation and research that can support practice outcomes and influence policy. She is the Director of TEESNet, a UK wide network promoting GCE and Education for Sustainable Development in Teacher Education. She currently co-chairs Our Shared World and is the lead evaluator for a number of UK based GCE projects.

Dr Sarah Franch

Dr Sarah Franch

Dr Sara Franch is an expert in international development cooperation and global citizenship education. She holds a PhD in pedagogy from the Free University of Bolzano and is involved in research and training on global citizenship. She currently works for a publisher and is responsible for developing products on pedagogical innovation.

GENE Awards

EERA is delighted and honoured to be partnering with the Global Educational Network in Europe (GENE) to make significant research funds available to our members to further research in the area of global education.

These research awards are funded by Global Education Network Europe (GENE), the European network of Ministries and Agencies with national responsibility for policymaking, funding, and support in the field of Global Education. For this reason, the subject area for research projects undertaken is that of Global Education.

The purpose of the award is to support quality research around the themes outlined here  – which have been identified as of interest to policymakers. Gathering of existing research, application of existing research from other areas of education to Global Education, follow-up studies, all are perfectly acceptable. It is not expected that the research has to draw policy conclusions – but to make available up-to-date, policy-relevant research from which policymaker can draw their own conclusions.

References and Further Reading

Andreotti, V. 2006 Soft versus Critical Global Citizenship Education. Policy and Practice – A Development Education Review. Centre for Global Education https://www.developmenteducationreview.com/issue/issue-3/soft-versus-critical-global-citizenship-education

Andreotti, V. 2010 Postcolonial and post-critical ‘global citizenship education’. In G. Elliott, C. Fourali & S. Issler (Eds.), Education and Social Change: Connecting Local and Global Perspectives (pp. 238-250). London: Continuum. https://www.routledge.com/Postcolonial-Perspectives-on-Global-Citizenship-Education/Andreotti-Souza/p/book/9781138788060

Andreotti, V. 2015 Global citizenship education otherwise: Pedagogical and theoretical insights. In A. Abdi, L. Schultz & T. Pillay (Eds.), Decolonizing Global Citizenship Education (pp. 221- 230). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-6300-277-6_18 

Blackmore, C. (2014) The Opportunities and Challenges for a Critical Global Citizenship Education in One English Secondary School. Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy University of Bath, Department of Education. April 2014 https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/studentTheses/the-opportunities-and-challenges-for-a-critical-global-citizenshi

Bullivant, A., Ayre, J., and Smith, A. Facilitating the ‘Tipping Point’: Co-creating a manifesto for education for environmental sustainability. British Educational Research Association. Research Intelligence, Issue 150, Spring 2022 https://www.bera.ac.uk/publication/spring-2022

Bullivant, A. 2020. From Development Education to Global Learning: Exploring conceptualisations of theory and practice amongst practitioners in England. PhD Thesis. Lancaster University http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/from-development-education-to-global-learning(9202418c-5116-425e-b0eb-40af09e3cc08).html

Franch, S. 2020 Global citizenship education discourses in a province in northern Italy. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning. Vol. 12(1):21-36. https://www.scienceopen.com/hosted-document?doi=10.14324/IJDEGL.12.1.03

Pashby, K and Sund, L. Critical GCE in the Era of SDG 4.7: Discussing HEADS UP with Secondary Teachers in England, Finland and Sweden. In Bourn, D (ed). (2020) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Global Education and Learning. Bloomsbury https://www.bloomsburycollections.com/book/the-bloomsbury-handbook-of-global-education-and-learning/ch23-critical-global-citizenship-education-in-the-era-of-sdg-4-7-discussing-headsup-with-secondary-teachers-in-england-finland-and-sweden

Building Partnerships via an Interactive Map of Critical Global Citizenship Education

Building Partnerships via an Interactive Map of Critical Global Citizenship Education

EERA is delighted and honoured to be partnering with the Global Educational Network in Europe (GENE) to make significant research funds available to our members to further research the area of global education. We asked the recipients of the Global Education Award 2020/21 to share their research with the broader EERA community.  

The ECIGAL research group at the University of A Coruña in Spain is dedicated to promoting and researching Critical Global Citizenship Education (CGCE). We are committed to designing collaborative projects that bring together regulated education institutions (such as schools and universities) with other relevant social agents, such as NGOs and other organizations devoted to social and environmental justice.

We prioritize the use of participatory research methodologies and the development of critical (digital) literacies that can help us identify, re-interpret and deconstruct global inequities (Andreotti, 2006; Bourn, 2015). As part of this overall strategy, we have sustained a long-term partnership with the NGO Solidariedade International de Galicia (Galician International Solidarity), initiated in 2013, that has led to the creation of an interactive mapping project. Our first pilot project used social cartography to create an interactive digital map of CGCE practice in Galicia, in the northwest corner of Spain. We designed a cartographic room where teachers and NGO representatives came together to discuss and create a structured description of their initiatives that could then be added to the map, to provide ideas and inspiration for other practitioners (Cruz-López, Digón-Regueiro, & Mendez-García, 2021).

 

The EERA/GENE-Funded Project MAPESS (March-December, 2021)

With our most recent project Mapping Critical Global Citizenship Education in Spanish Schools, we expanded our pilot map from the regional to the national level, providing teachers, schools, and NGOs with a platform for sharing practices and forging new collaborations. We´ve called this new map Cénit, or Zenith in English

Cénit Map of Global Citizenship Experiences

 

Preparing critical global citizens from the early years

We have chosen to focus on the primary level (year groups 1 to 6, roughly from 6 to 12 years of age) because most CGCE practice that we have identified through our research to date has been at the secondary level. Nevertheless, as the first phase of obligatory schooling, these early years are especially important to awakening children’s awareness of global connections, and introducing a critical mindset towards our roles and responsibilities as citizens of the global north. Furthermore, the most recent Spanish education legislation, which came into force on the 19 January 2021, explicitly provides for the introduction of “Education for sustainable development and global citizenship” throughout “all compulsory education,” allowing people to “adopt informed decisions and take an active role – both locally and globally – in facing and solving problems common to all citizens of the world” (Statement of Motives, LOMLOE, 2020).

 

Connecting to the core curriculum – mathematics, science, and language

The project has focused on core curricular areas in primary education, since our previous research has found these to be relatively under-explored. We wanted to explore ways to incorporate a CGCE perspective within and across subject areas that are generally considered to lack social relevance: mathematics, science, and language. We have chosen these core subject areas because they tend to have a highly structured and content-oriented curriculum (Berglund & Reiss, 2021). Creating another cartographic room was not feasible, due to Covid-related health restrictions, so we used videoconferencing to interview three different kinds of social agents working in each of Spain’s 17 Autonomous Communities: 1) representatives of development NGOs working with schools, 2) subject areas specialists in mathematics, science, and language, and 3) primary school teachers.

 

Expanding the Cénit map throughout Spain

Through these interviews, we hope to expand the Cénit Interactive Digital Map of CGCE throughout Spain. Instructional videos and documents support participants to add guided descriptions of their own practice. These are reviewed and validated by the project team and then made public for practitioners to access from any part of the world.

ECIGAL

Keeping teachers in the centre of collaborative networks

We intend to support teachers in seeking collaboration from external specialists (NGOs and subject area specialists), while at the same time maintaining a central role in the design of CGCE projects. Teachers are best positioned to understand their own particular classroom contexts and adapt their lessons accordingly. Taking a more central role is likely to foster sustainability, so that teachers can repeat, extend, and share their work with colleagues without depending on external agents to take the initiative.  And since teachers are expected to follow the state-mandated curriculum, helping them to find ways to achieve both CGCE and curricular objectives simultaneously reduces the possibility that the former may be abandoned when covering required content takes priority (Digón-Regueiro et. al, 2017).

 

Renée DePalma

Renée DePalma

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University of A Coruña, Spain

Renée is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of A Coruña (Spain). Her research over the years has focused on equalities and social justice in terms of race, ethnicity, language, sexuality and gender. She coordinates the ECIGAL research group, which promotes and investigates Critical Global Citizenship Education (CGCE). For more on us and our work, please visit our web site https://www.ecigal.gal/

GENE Awards

EERA is delighted and honoured to be partnering with the Global Educational Network in Europe (GENE) to make significant research funds available to our members to further research in the area of global education.

These research awards are funded by Global Education Network Europe (GENE), the European network of Ministries and Agencies with national responsibility for policymaking, funding, and support in the field of Global Education. For this reason, the subject area for research projects undertaken is that of Global Education.

The purpose of the award is to support quality research around the themes outlined here  – which have been identified as of interest to policymakers. Gathering of existing research, application of existing research from other areas of education to Global Education, follow-up studies, all are perfectly acceptable. It is not expected that the research has to draw policy conclusions – but to make available up-to-date, policy-relevant research from which policymaker can draw their own conclusions.

References and Further Reading

Andreotti, V (2006) ‘Soft versus critical global citizenship education’, Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review, Vol. 3, Autumn, pp. 40-51. https://www.developmenteducationreview.com/issue/issue-3/soft-versus-critical-global-citizenship-education

Berglund, F. & Reiss, M. J. (2021) Biology. In: What Should Schools Teach? Disciplines, subjects and the pursuit of truth. Sehgal Cuthbert, A. & Standish, A. (Eds) UCL Press, London, pp. 189-201. https://www.uclpress.co.uk/products/165025 

 Bourn, D (2015) From Development Education to Global Learning: Changing Agendas and Priorities. Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review, Vol. 20, Spring, pp. 18-36.https://www.developmenteducationreview.com/issue/issue-20/development-education-global-learning-changing-agendas-and-priorities 

Cruz-López, L., Digón-Regueiro, P., & Méndez-García, R. (2021) Social cartography as a participatory process for mapping experiences of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship: an account of the design. International Journal of Research and Method in Education. Available at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1743727X.2021.1966621 

Digón-Regueiro, P., Méndez-García, R. M., DePalma, R.; Longueira Matos, S. (2017). A place for development education in the current Spanish and English curricula: Finding possibilities for practice. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning 9(2), pp. 29-46. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1167862.pdf