30 SES 05 A, Global Citizenship Education and ESE (Part I)
Paper Session Part I, to be continued in 30 SES 12 A
The relevance that GCE has recently gained is deeply connected with a growing interest by policymakers and the civil society in global citizenship: GCE has become part of the policy development of national and international organizations (Andreotti & de Souza, 2012). Its promotion has become a major objective across many education systems, and some countries have already included GCE in their national curricula as an educational priority for the twenty-first century (Sant et al., 2018). Global citizenship education is considered essential to empower all students to become informed and engaged global citizens in a globalised world, in order to make it more inclusive and fair. The need to educate all students for GCE implies the adoption of different educational policies, innovative curricula and teaching approaches (UNESCO, 2015; Reimers et al., 2016).
In this view, teacher education, both during pre-service and in-service, is considered as a crucial factor for the successful implementation of GCEin educational systems, ensuring that changes are implemented and sustained over time (Schugurensky & Wolhuter, 2020; UNESCO, 2018). Across Europe, universities are recognised as key institutions for offering teacher education programmes focused on GCE (GENE, 2018). Although an increase in the number of studies related to GCE and teacher education in the last decades (Yemini, Tibbitts & Goren, 2019), research is mostly concerned on teachers’ experience and classroom practices (Tarozzi & Mallon, 2019), and the field of teacher education on GCE appears as an emerging topic in the academic literature (Estellés & Fischman, 2020; Goren & Yemini, 2017). An in-depth investigation of the actors involved in initial teacher education (ITE) and the teaching programmes is thus needed, with a focus on universities as main agents for ITE. This is particularly relevant for the Italian context, where ITE across all levels of education does not encompass any compulsory training activity related to GCE.
This paper presents the results of a preliminary study that seeks to delve into prospective teachers’ interest in GCE and the inclusion of GCE-related issues in a teaching programme in Italy. The target group of the research is prospective teachers attending the ITE course to become pre-primary and primary school teachers at LUMSA University (Italy).
Examination of the recent political and educational discourse on global citizenship education at the national level, which framed the present research, highlighted a growing interest in the topic, although the initiatives undertaken by different actors appear fragmented, mostly related to general recommendations, and do not address ITE.
The absence of a strategy at the national level on GCE, together with the unclear status of GCE in national curricular documents and in teacher education programs in HEIs, that often do not even encompass the term “global citizenship education” in their syllabi, are the most relevant challenges for both educators and researchers interested in implementing and analysing GCE in Italy. In addition to the general issues related to GCE (from its multiple conceptualizations to the heterogeneity of topics, learning outcomes and pedagogical tools), the peculiarity of the Italian case is represented by the still vague status of GCE across all levels of instruction and the consequent attempt (by researchers and teachers interested in delving into this educational area) to “bring to light” and connect existing practices into a GCE perspective, without the support of an overarching framework at national and institutional levels. For this reason, the Italian situation represents a peculiar scenario within international research based on curricula and programs for ITE explicitly focused on GCE (e.g. Estellés & Fischman, 2020; Goren & Yemeni, 2017; Bamber et al., 2016).
The aim of this research was twofold: i) to investigate prospective teachers’ viewpoints and interest towards GCE in order to gauge their willingness to be engaged in GCE-related activities during both ITE and their future teaching in schools: research has in fact shown the relevance of teachers’ interest in GCE for its successful inclusion in school curricula (Bourn, Hunt, & Bamber, 2017); (ii) to investigate prospective teachers’ self-preparedness on topics, teaching methods and approaches related to GCE after attending courses that tackle topics and pedagogical competences that are linked to GCE but not explicitly focused on it. In order to reach these goals, a questionnaire was drafted and administered online to prospective teachers in pre-primary and primary schools enrolled in the Primary Education Sciences course at LUMSA University, Italy, in the academic year 2019–2020 and attending the second and fifth years—i.e. at the beginning of their traineeship in schools and in the last year of the course. Prior to the administration of the questionnaire, an analysis of the ITE curriculum at LUMSA was carried out in order to highlight if GCE-related topics and issues were already included in some courses of the teaching programme. Through this preparatory investigation, it was found that students were provided with opportunities to learn topics and methodologies related to GCE in the science and geography courses, where issues concerning the UN Agenda 2030, the SDGs and ESD were tackled, with a specific focus on environment protection and environmental sustainability. The questionnaire comprised 12 questions focused on prospective teachers’: • Background information (gender, course year, previous teaching experience, etc.). • Interest in political and social issues at national and international levels and GCE-related topics of interest. • Self-preparedness on GCE-related issues and teaching strategies. • Willingness to carry out specific lessons or activities once they become teachers. Some of the questions were partly modified from the student and the teacher questionnaires of the International Civic and Citizenship Study (ICCS, 2016) developed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) (Schulz et al., 2018). Seventy-eight students (72 female students and six male students) answered the online questionnaire, administered in December 2019 (the prevalence of female students should not be surprising because Primary Education Sciences courses are mostly attended by females in Italy).
The data gathered from the questionnaire underlined the surveyed students’ interest in GCE issues, although they search for information mostly related to national contexts. With regard to students’ self-preparedness, prospective teachers reported feeling prepared in the use of pedagogical methodologies and approaches, which are the objects of both general and discipline-oriented training activities included in ITE programmes for pre-primary and primary education. Most teacher candidates felt prepared for teaching several GCE-related topics, ranging from the environment to world poverty and emigration. Study results suggest that, on the one hand, the students’ teaching programme provided them with basic discipline-related and pedagogical knowledge that was not directly linked to GCE but that may allow prospective teachers to implement GCE in their classrooms. On the other hand, the results highlight the influence of personal interests and of non-formal and informal education on determining students’ knowledge and awareness of global citizenship, this remedying the lack of formal provision on GCE in national regulations and therefore in ITE curricula. The limitations of the present study, mainly related to the convenience sample selected and its strong connections with a specific teaching programme and context of instruction, do not allow us to draw conclusions that can be generalized to ITE curricula for pre-primary and primary education teachers in Italy as a whole. Further research should investigate prospective teachers’ experience in GCE in relation to their attitudes and engagement: taking future teachers’ experience of GCE into consideration means analysing the relationships between their interest in GCE-related topics, their opportunities to learn about GCE (inside and outside the pre-service programmes), and their degree of global engagement as converging aspects that should be at the heart of pre-service teacher training on global citizenship.
Adreotti, V., & de Souza, L. M. T. M. (2012). Postcolonial perspectives on Global Citizenship Education. New York and London: Routledge. Bamber, P., Bullivant, A., Glover, A., King, B., & McCann, G. (2016). A comparative review of policy and practice for education for sustainable development/education for global citizenship (ESD/GC) in teacher education across the four nations of the UK. Management in Education, 30 (3), 1-9. Bourn, D., Hunt, F., & Bamber, P. (2017). A review of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education in Teacher Education. Background paper prepared for the 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring Report, ED/GEMR/MRT/2017/P1/8. Estellés, M., & Fischman, G. E. (2020). Who Needs Global Citizenship Education? A Review of the Literature on Teacher Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 1-14. GENE (2018). The State of Global Education in Europe. https://gene.eu/wp-content/uploads/State-of-Global-Education-2018.pdf Goren, H., & Yemini, M. (2017). Global citizenship education redefined – A systematic review of empirical studies on global citizenship education. International Journal of Educational Research, 82, 170-183. Reimers, F. M., Chopra, V., Chung, C. K., Higdon, J., & O’Donnell, E. B. (2016). Empowering global citizens. A world course. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Sant, E., Davies, I., Pashby, K., & Shultz, L. (2018). Global Citizenship Education. A critical introduction to key concepts and debates. London: Bloomsbury. Schugurensky, D., & Wolhuter, C. (2020). Teachers’ Education and Global Citizenship Education. An Introduction. In D. Schugurensky and C. Wolhuter (Eds), Global Citizenship Education in Teacher Education. Theoretical and Practical Issues (pp. 1-19). New York: Routledge. Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon, J., Losito, B., Agrusti, G., & Friedman, T. (2018). Becoming Citizens in a Changing World. IEA International Civic and Citizenship Education Study 2016 International Report. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IEA. Tarozzi, M., & Mallon, B. (2019). Educating teachers towards global citizenship: A comparative study in four European countries. London Review of Education, 17 (2), 112–125 Yemini, M., Tibbitts, F., & Goren, H. (2019). Trends and caveats: Review of literature on global citizenship education in teacher training. Teaching and Teacher Education, 77, 77–89. UNESCO (2015). Global Citizenship Education. Topics and learning objectives, Paris: UNESCO Publishing. UNESCO (2018). Preparing Teachers for Global Citizenship Education: A Template. Paris: UNESCO Publishing.
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