In Saudi Arabia a national government body assesses all of the teachers in the country, while in the United States teacher supervision is left to each individual school. Teacher retention and pedagogy create intense discussions across the globe, but are specific to their local contexts—illustrating the current process of globalization.
Stefinee Pinnegar, a faculty member in the Brigham Young University’s McKay School department of Teacher Education, and colleague Mary Lynn Hamilton published a chapter in the book Preparing Teachers for the 21st Century. The book provides perspective and methodology on preparing high-quality teachers across the globe. It argues that educators around the world can learn from each other in addition to solving educational problems through theory and local experience.
Pinnegar and Hamilton’s contribution, chapter seven, is titled, “The International Terrain of Teaching and Teacher Education: How can Teacher Educators Prepare Teachers for a World We Cannot Envision?” Pinnegar and Hamilton undertook an extensive two-year research project examining all of the bibliographies in the journal Teaching and Teacher Education to find which countries are leading the international discourse on teacher education. Pinnegar found that professionals from the United States are the most cited researchers on teacher education—implying that international teacher education discourse is not entirely international. “We suspected that pretty much Americans dominate the conversation,” Pinnegar said. “Mary and I wanted to think further: If we are really going to have an international discourse on teacher education, what would that look like?”
Pinnegar and Hamilton’s chapter dug into two theories of globalization: (1) The world is one culture due to globalization and (2) Educators take ideas from different countries and adapt them to their own culture in interesting and unusual ways.
Returning to the comparison of national government assessment of teachers in Saudi Arabia vs. school-level supervision in the United States, we see that although both countries accept the necessity for assessing and supervising teachers, each uses the system most appropriate for its context and culture. “This approach, called local variability, assumes that the world becomes similar, but only because each different place picks the best ideas and then adapts those ideas for the local culture,” Pinnegar said. “Local participants borrow from other cultures, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to a unified global culture.”
Contact Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922
Writer: Brooke Higginbotham