Preparing Elementary Teacher Candidates to Use Global Content:
An Action Research Study
Tracy C. Rock
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Globalization is a powerful force that will shape the future world in which our children will live. To prepare our students for the world, we need to prepare their teachers. To be effective in the new global environment, teachers need broader sets of knowledge and skills than have previously been required. We designed this action research study to examine our teacher candidates’ use of global education content to support our ability to develop their knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward its use. The following research questions focus the study: How do elementary education teacher candidates utilize global content within integrated unit plans? How can the elementary social studies methods course prepare teacher candidates to use global content? The findings reveal teacher candidates’ integration of global content was strongest in the areas of foundational-knowledge-level dimensions with few examples of higher-level application, cross-cultural experiences, or action-oriented learning tasks. Secondly, global education content requiring a critical perspective was minimal or nonexistent in the teacher candidates’ planning. We discuss these two concerns and present action steps to build teacher candidates’ capacity for developing higher levels of global content into their instructional unit planning.
Keywords: Global Education, Teacher Education, Action Research, Social Studies Education, Elementary Teacher Candidates, Global Content