Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

What Teacher Capacities Do International School Recruiters Look For?

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

What Teacher Capacities Do International School Recruiters Look For?

Article excerpt

Introduction

Canadian teachers are increasingly (out) in the world, whether joining the growing ranks of teachers going abroad or finding assignments in Canadian classrooms, where "the world" also has significant presence. Expanding global teacher labour markets, heightened student mobilities, transnational curricula, and intensifying global cultural flows are placing new demands on Canadian schools, teachers, and teacher education programs. One response to these demands is the heightened attention to, and programmatic initiatives for, internationalizing teacher education (ITE). In the emergent ITE literature, there are multiple foci, such as "international placements" and "culturally relevant pedagogy." This article explores the international schools sector, where an increasing number of new teachers are finding employment. Specifically, it examines the teacher capacities deemed most important by experienced international school recruiters attending international recruiting fairs in Canada in 2015 and 2016. There is a paucity of academic research on international schools, (1) and the small-scale exploratory study presented in this article breaks new ground in connecting the perspectives of international school recruiters (as gatekeepers to the job market of international schools) to the internationalization of teacher education. Illuminating the perspectives of a small number of recruiters (typically school heads or administrators) working in the international school sector offers insights for ITE as attenuated to the conditions and contexts of international school teaching, where hundreds (2) of Canadians, among other Anglo-Westerners, are beginning their teaching careers.

Canadian graduates of teacher education programs are travelling beyond the local, due to, at least in part, a scarcity of opportunities to teach in local school boards. In many parts of Ontario, for example, there are few opportunities for recent Bachelor of Education graduates to find employment (Ontario College of Teachers [OCT], 2014). The demand for certified Anglo-Western teachers is rising in relation to the rapid growth of the international school sector in many parts of the world (Bunnell, 2014; Hayden & Thompson, 2016). Studies claim that an increasing number of Canadian teachers are teaching internationally (Bunnell, 2014; Hayden & Thompson, 2008). Despite intensifying calls to internationalize teacher education as aligned with globalization (Association of Canadian Deans of Education [ACDE], 2014; Kelly, 2004; Kissock & Richardson, 2010; Longview Foundation, 2008; Quezada, 2010; Zhao, 2010), there is little available knowledge on the diverse international school contexts where an increasing proportion of Anglo-Western teachers begin their formal careers (Bunnell, 2014; Hayden & Thompson, 2008; Resnick, 2012; Tarc & Mishra Tarc, 2015).

Illuminating the pedagogical conditions and qualities of international schools is important not only for ITE but for state schooling writ large as many international school teachers re-enter home-country school systems. (3) A key point to acknowledge here is that the international schools sector has also become significant for Canadian K-12 class rooms, given the increasing numbers of Canadians who have formative teaching experiences in international school contexts and return to teach in Canadian classrooms (Savva, 2013). There do exist a small number of studies on the pedagogical conditions of international schools, typically case studies (e.g., Ledger, Vidovich, & O'Donoghue, 2014; Tamatea, 2008). However, in the wake of calls to internationalize teacher education, there remains fundamentally a paucity of research on the diverse and diversifying international schools sector hiring expatriate teachers (Bunnell, 2016; Tarc, 2013). This deficiency begs the question of whether teacher education is sufficiently adapting to the heightened mobilities and career trajectories of an increasing proportion of its graduates. …

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