Teachers’ First Experiences with Global Projects: Emerging Collaboration and Cultural Awareness
AbstractTwo cohorts of teachers recently participated in a professional development program focused on incorporating global perspectives and activities into K-12 classrooms using contemporary technologies. One part of this program requires teachers to plan and carry out a global project with an international classroom as a means to introduce them to a host country’s education system before they travel abroad to that country the following summer. This paper summarizes descriptive survey results from 22 teachers and 264 of their K-12 students to depict the types of global projects undertaken along with the key outcomes that were supported (i.e., development of global skills, collaboration, and awareness of global issues and cultural perspectives). Results indicated that teachers new to global project design implemented two primary types of global projects: sharing and comparing cultural information and pen pal projects with either unscripted or scripted topical conversations. Students expressed high interest in global projects, but in these types of projects the topics of discussion chosen (or not chosen) by teachers and students did not lend themselves to developing advanced cultural awareness, and student interaction fell short of higher levels of collaboration. Implications are provided for professional development that prepares teachers to design more comprehensive projects focused on authentic global issues that may better elicit collaboration and expand student awareness of global issues and cultural perspectives beyond the outcomes seen in this study.