Internationalizing Teacher Preparation

As economic, social, and technological transformations link us in unprecedented ways, the critical role of teachers in preparing young people for a new global reality has never been clearer; yet, few teachers begin their careers with the deep knowledge and robust skills necessary to bring the world into their classrooms.

In February 2008, the Longview Foundation brought together leaders in education, government, and other sectors to examine what is currently being done in schools, colleges, and departments of education to prepare future teachers for the new global reality and to generate momentum to do more. The result was the commissioning of a new report and funding stream for Longview.

Teacher Preparation for the Global Age: The Imperative for Change, highlights promising practices identified during this meeting and subsequent discussions and suggests a framework for internationalizing the education of all pre–service teachers and increasing the number of world language teachers, especially in less commonly taught languages.

Teacher preparation programs that have been comprehensively internationalized ensure that the following actions occur:

  • General education coursework helps each prospective teacher to develop deep knowledge of at least one world region, culture, or global issue, and facility in one language in addition to English.
  • Professional education courses teach the pedagogical skills to enable future teachers to teach the global dimensions of their subject matter.
  • Field experiences for faculty and students support the development of pre–service teachers’ global perspectives and contribute the broader research base of the aligned strategic plan.
  • More teachers are prepared to teach less commonly taught languages and language education pedagogy is updated based on current research and best practice.
  • There are incentives, not barriers, to faculty at all levels engaging in this work.

In addition since the publication of the report, the following elements have been identified as critical to comprehensive, sustainable internationalization for today’s teacher education programs:

  • Programs and courses are creating and utilizing formative and summative assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of new strategies in developing the global competence of prospective teachers.
  • Technology is integrated into the student experience to enhance instructional practice and to facilitate connections to the world.
  • Prerequisites for language study are in place and opportunities to build further proficiency and language application exist during students’ course of study.
  • Key partnerships locally, regionally, and nationally exist and larger reform initiatives tie back to campus and college’s strategic plans.
  • All work aligns to the global aspects of the college and campus strategic vision.

Though the strategies outlined in this report have begun to represent a consensus on the best way forward, we hope they will continue to inspire and challenge teacher preparation to embrace its pivotal role in educating teachers to better prepare tomorrow’s citizens for their roles in the world.

We know this is just a beginning. Please share your ideas and examples with us!

Learn more about our fellows program, other work we have supported and about current funding strategies in the teacher preparation category.