essays on globalization, education, and citizenship

Teachers College Record, Volume 113, Number 10, 2011

Featured Articles
by David Hansen
This essay is an introduction to a special issue that emerges from a year-long faculty seminar at Teachers College, Columbia University, the purpose of which has been to examine in fresh terms the nexus of globalization, education, and citizenship.

by Lalitha Vasudevan
At a time when there is increased hybridity in local and global citizenship, language and literacy practices, and performances of cultural identity and affiliation, narrowing of our ways of knowing can detrimentally impact how educators and scholars engage in intellectual inquiry and educational practice. This essay uses the mode of questioning to create a dialogue about the discursive, rhetorical, and even physical postures that educators and scholars might embrace when re-imagining everyday practices of teaching, learning, and research to be open to unexpected trajectories.

by Graeme Sullivan
Although the profile of what it is to be an educated citizen needs to be cast across international divides the learning impulse originates with an individual and is further seen and felt throughout the community. If there is a failure to appreciate how all types of learners in all kinds of settings make sense of their education we are all impoverished. Consequently, if communities are unable to understand what it is that those individuals within it “make” as they contribute the collective good then the community itself has ceased to be a learning culture.

by Regina Cortina
With globalization—a term that signifies the ever-increasing interconnectedness of markets, communications and human migration—social and economic divides in countries around the world are hindering the access of many people to the major institutions of society, including and especially education. My goal in this essay is to reflect on the dilemma that John Dewey identified in Democracy and Education regarding the "full social ends of education" and the agency of the nation-sate.

by Molly Quinn
While eschewing definitive findings, conclusions, or recommendations—rather hoping to cultivate new questions, experiences, and stories of our times, and summon us to renewed responsibility, the author undertakes an experiment in reconceiving the ‘3 R’s at the rendezvous of education, citizenship, and globalization: on, and as, natality in our roots, routes and relations.

by William Gaudelli
The aim of the essay centers on a question: What can we see beyond seeing? This essay considers the typical ways in which we see the world in the a-typical settings of travel. I consider how this type of seeing, when the very purpose of the excursion is to see, often positions the seer to do so as a spectator, consumer or flattener of others.

by Olga Hubard
The author's inquiry is driven by the following questions: How is our sense of self influenced by the place where we live? And what happens when our lives take place in two different homes, two cultures? She explores the guiding questions through the unique perspectives of three individuals whose lives straddle Mexico City and New York City. She shares these perspectives as much for the ideas they embody as for the ponderings they provoke. Thus, her reflections, often in the form of questions, are interwoven into the three accounts.

by Michelle Knight
The goal of this paper is to open up a dialogic space where educators can learn from and with transnational immigrant youth who are already participating in civic learning opportunities as local and global citizens in and beyond the sphere of schools.

by Maria Torres-Guzmán
This essay proposes that a fresh look at hybridity can render a rich concept for constructing resistance to conformity and uniformity, and for renewing a commitment to a multicultural, multilingual, egalitarian, ecologically-sound, and democratic world.


Seeking provocations and reclaiming the numbers game

"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -- Anaïs Nin

In she walked. Already I was braced. And was not disappointed. She unleashed her net of despair, insistent on the savior story; the bootstraps-blindside-redemption narrative.

I sat, with jaw clenched and teeth gnashed, interjecting occasionally when her questions led her to draw absurd conclusions from the responses. She already knew the story she wanted to tell: her questions felt like artifice.

But my anger and hurt/surprise at what seemed like a missed opportunity to tell a compelling story presented an opportunity for tremendous pride. I watched with a full heart as a young man of 20 years held his ground and conveyed his convictions with a resounding calm. I was reminded, by him and familiar and new graduate students, that I am truly part of a team of like-minded, earnest, creative others. The "risk to blossom" must be taken.

This woman, this reporter, presented a provocation -- a reminder that our work is about creating the spaces to cultivate and nurture forth the creative capacities of the youth with whom we work. I am naïve if I forget that the histories and institutional affiliations of "our" youth -- who are involved with the justice system - will be of great interest to distant others. But how might we communicate, effectively and passionately, that these are normal, everyday, engaged, playful, thoughtful young people who are not only so much more than their institutional labels, they often defy those labels entirely.

I was describing this year's project to a former student on the steps in between buildings this week. She noted that in her recent experience working for an academic research center, research like ours was not what was being funded or sought out by the funding agencies. They want numbers. So let's give them numbers:
- the frequency of smiles between youth and adults, participants and facilitators
- how long it takes someone to feel comfortable enough to offer a peer encouragement
- the average number of affirmations and to whom they are directed
- how often and how many genre risks a young person takes - in their composing, consuming, and distribution of texts
- how many, within a given educational space, feel a sense of belonging

And let us reclaim outcomes in the realm of participation - real participation and not merely the behaviors that have been sanctioned by "experts" -- and look for value added in how youth contribute to shaping the curriculum of the educational spaces in which they participate; of course, this assumes educators will allow them this invitation. Could we imagine outcomes that sought greater humaneness among members of a classroom community? Or the mere recognition that one is a member of a community...

Reclamation of the stuff that seems to attract and affirm the monetary risks funders are willing to take; actions that leverage the ideas that capture the broader social imagination by transforming it with tales of fantastical imaginaries -- this is the new frontier of socially conscious, morally committed, pedogically inspired research about the literate lives of adolescents.