22 SES 13 C, Paper Session
The imagined ‘global thinker’ in many cultures is inherently value-laden. Broadening and expanding one’s global thinking by emphasis on curricular reform and pedagogy and particularly in higher education suggests two very interesting developments. First, there is increasing interest the free flow of knowledge across borders (Bunn & Bennett, 2020; Marginson, 2018), the establishment of the New Humanities (Altschuler & Weimer, 2020; Hyvönen, 2020), and the notion that a student’s heightened sense of self-worth, competition for jobs, and employability (Denman, 2017; Römgens, Scoupe & Beausaert, 2020) is at stake. Secondly, there is the notion that there may be a cultural lens overlaying the way we approach teaching, learning, and research, suggesting that ‘global’ may be confined to a particular worldview (Wannamaker & Ma-Kellams 2020). In an attempt to track and map the ‘global thinker’, regardless of definition, there are many challenges to overcome, many of which include the ambiguity of lateral thinking, the perceived erosion of learning content over delivery, and the realisation of its ‘imaginative’ potential and applicability.
While the curriculum generally specifies what students are expected to learn and requirements for graduation through accreditation and quality control standards set by the disciplines, universities are increasingly under pressure to professionalise their degrees to conform to what students and industry demand. At the same time, higher education institutions are increasingly monitoring offerings, not by the quality of content but by the quantity of enrolees. Their emphasis increasingly is on financial viability and immediate employability of graduates. All of these developments undermine an historic regimen that promotes the development of the ‘global thinker’.
This discussion identifies and analyses the tensions between the core activities of universities, namely teaching, research, and the development of the imagined ‘global thinker’. It also considers the feasibility and implementation of tracking a student’s academic progress through the use of a personalised assessment tool that has been custom-tailored for over ten years to identify, track, and scaffold a student's higher order skills, specifically: creativity, communication, analytical thinking, problem solving and reflective thinking over the course of a university degree. Examples of cultural distinctions will be identified using free flow thematic analysis, which uses the cumulative assessments of students’ academic progress in the field of comparative and international education in Sweden and Australia.
The initial review of the literature indicates that there is much confusion and debate around the terms of ‘global thinker’ and what that means. More importantly, how to recognize, teach and assess higher order skills that make up a ‘global thinker’. Studies of at least some of these attributes suggest they vary over time and across different cultural contexts. Given their value-laden nature, it is not surprising that each attribute may be interpreted differently in various cultures, life experiences, contexts and disciplines. The research conducted to date focuses on these contextual differences and how they affect learning outcomes. This includes cultural differences, but also different learning, professional, business and community contexts.
Altschuler, S., & Weimer, D. (2020). Texturing the Digital Humanities: A Manifesto. PMLA/Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 135(1), 74-91. Bunn, M., & Bennett, A. (2020). Making futures: equity and social justice in higher education timescapes. Teaching in Higher Education, 25(6), 698-708. Denman, Brian D., (2017). “Post-Worldview? A dialogic meta-narrative analysis of North-South, South-South, and Southern Theory”. In: International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, Vol 19, No 2/3 Emerald Group Publishing, Bingley, UK: 65-77. Hyvönen, E. (2020). Using the Semantic Web in Digital Humanities: Shift from data publishing to data-analysis and serendipitous knowledge discovery. Semantic Web, 11(1), 187-193 Marginson, S. (2018). World higher education under conditions of national/global disequilibria. Centre for Global Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education, London. Römgens, I., Scoupe, R., & Beausaert, S. (2020). Unraveling the concept of employability, bringing together research on employability in higher education and the workplace. Studies in Higher Education, 45(12), 2588-2603. Wannamaker, S., & Ma-Kellams, C. (2020). Capturing the worldview of global citizens: Development and validation of an improved measure of global citizenry. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 26(1), 78.
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