Popular Culture & Globalization: Teacher Candidates' Attitudes & Perceptions of Cultural & Ethnic Stereotypes

By McGaha, Julie | Multicultural Education, Fall 2015 | Go to article overview

Popular Culture & Globalization: Teacher Candidates' Attitudes & Perceptions of Cultural & Ethnic Stereotypes


McGaha, Julie, Multicultural Education


Introduction

In order to prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to live and work in an interconnected and interdependent world, it is essential they have teachers who understand global processes and can employ a global perspective in the classroom. While globalization can lead to expanded economic markets, increased mass communication, and reduced border restrictions, globalization has also been associated with tensions between those who benefit from global processes and those who are victims of the abuses associated with globalization (human trafficking, poverty, environmental issues, etc.).

Given the inequalities which exist along racial, ethnic, and class lines, stressing these concepts as part of larger social, political, and economic forces is important for developing a human rights-based approach for education, which advocates inclusion, equal opportunities, and non-discrimination. In an effort to expose teacher candidates to the manner in which global inequalities transcend national borders, I use a series of international advertisements to highlight the manner in which concepts such as race, ethnicity, power, and privilege are promoted and perpetuated through the media in different areas of the world.

Drawing on historic ideologies of colonialism and imperialism, as well as the disparities and xenophobia associated with globalization, these examples depict how contemporary globalization perpetuates discourses of racial and ethnic inferiority.

Motivation for Study

The motivation for this study grew out of a college-wide effort at my institution to prepare teacher education candidates with a more global perspective. Like most universities (Knight, 2003), my university is attempting to increase the opportunities and activities related to global and international initiatives. Since teacher education candidates study abroad in lesser numbers than their peers in other fields (Open Doors, 2013) and the number of international students in undergraduate teacher education programs is limited, one way to increase global awareness is through course related activities and assignments.

As such, I redesigned an Introduction to Secondary Education course to focus on global engagement. The goals of the course are to expose teacher candidates to a wide-range of issues in secondary education. Topics include an introduction to the teaching profession, issues of reform, and current trends in public education. Two additional goals include (1) the impact that categories of diversity (racial, ethic, cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic, ability, and student development) have on teaching and learning and (2) the manner in which schools shape and are shaped by society and community.

With a focus on global engagement, the scope of the course changed to explore these concepts more broadly including the impact of global issues, interconnectedness, and the legacy of imperialism on children and education.

Teaching about issues rela ted to globalization should be an important component of teacher preparation. While we have always lived in a diverse world, globalization has increased the demands and realities of diversity, presenting new challenges related to infrast ructure, resource allocation, and social stratification. At the same time they also create new spaces and challenges, especially in education, for issues related to bilingual education, multiculturalism, and academic achievement. As such, it is important that teacher education candidates understand these implications and the manner in which they can impact their classroom.

Teaching about issues related to globalization is also important from a social justice perspective (Parker, 2008). While Western nations such as the United States maintain a strong commitment to democracy and equality, the reality is significant inequalities exist along racial, ethnic, and class lines.

Theoretical Perspective

I used both Critical Global Education (CGE) and Critical Media Literacy as theoretical frameworks for this study. …

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