Internationalize Teacher Preparation and Professional Development

State Governments Respond to Globalization

States are providing incentives for teacher education institutions to make sure teachers themselves have international knowledge and skills. Photo: iStockPhoto.

Teacher preparation and certification programs have not traditionally focused on preparing teachers to teach about the world. Many universities, especially those with federally funded Title VI centers, do offer professional development activities to increase the international knowledge of practicing teachers. Schools of education around the country are beginning to recognize the need to internationalize their programs. And teachers that are already in the classroom can benefi t from many state supported professional development activities.

  • The Arizona Department of Education is providing professional development seminars to principals and teachers in Arizona’s K-12 schools. These seminars are designed to provide the necessary curriculum content and pedagogical skills to teach in international schools.
  • California funds the California International Studies Project, the only statewide K-12 program dedicated to developing teacher competency in international studies, world history, and geography. Open to teachers in low-performing schools and districts in seven regions throughout the state, it assists more than 2,200 teachers each year. The project sites conduct institutes and workshops, and organize support systems to upgrade teachers’ instructional skills and deepen their knowledge in all school subjects that have international content.
  • In Delaware, two professional development clusters have been formed using innovative distance learning techniques to prepare teachers in international topics, one focuses on Asia and the other on technology and international studies.
  • Indiana University’s School of Education offers the“Learning through Experience,” Overseas Student Teaching project. The university has established partnerships with schools and education officials in 13 countries, allowing candidates to learn about education, culture, and life outside the United States at a formative phase of their training and includes time teaching abroad. A number of Indiana public and private universities and colleges offer international curriculum workshops for in-service teachers.
  • Michigan State University’s education majors are required to take a Social Foundations of Education course with global perspectives and resources infused. The University has also launched a new Global
    Educators Program for prospective teachers interested in bringing deeper global knowledge and perspectives to their teaching practice. It will include globally oriented professional education courses, extra-curricular activities, and international experiences.
  • Oklahoma Associations Supporting International Studies (OASIS) is a collaboration of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Oklahoma State Department of Education, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and is housed at the University of Oklahoma. OASIS has implemented a professional development institute for teacher leaders who spread best practices in international studies through regional workshops.
  • The University of Vermont Asian Studies Outreach program has run a statewide program for more than 10 years that introduces the study of Asia to Vermont schools. Th ree hundred schools, or 50 percent
    of Vermont schools, are now off ering content about Asia on a regular basis.
  • West Virginia launched a series of eight statewide Teacher Forums that informed teachers about the relevance of 21st Century skills such as “Global Awareness” to their classrooms.
  • Wisconsin created a professional development initiative to help teachers integrate international content in all major subject areas. The Department of Public Instruction has hosted several professional
    development workshops to connect standards in 11 subject areas to global activities, and has identified and honored model programs and teachers statewide. The University of Wisconsin–Madison, requires all pre-service teachers to take a 3-credit Global Perspectives requirement with courses drawn from departments throughout the university. An optional 21-credit Certificate of Global Studies is available to students who are interested in focusing more intensely on global education.