The development of this graduate course is based on the recognition that global education or global learning is a contested and complicated concept. Roland Case (1993) points out that there are two dimensions of global education: the substantive dimension, which focuses on the acquisition of knowledge regarding global systems, international events, world cultures, and global geography, and the perceptual dimension, which emphasizes the cultivation of open-mindedness, resistance to stereotyping, non-chauvinism, empathy, and so on. To Case, “the perceptual dimension is the lens for the substantive dimension.” However, proponents of global education do not share a common perceptual lens in determining what types of substantive knowledge are to be included in the curriculum, nor have they reached consensus on pedagogical aims and methods for deliberating and implementing global education. Hence, global education, like multicultural education, must aim to raise professional educators’ awareness of varied perceptual lenses within and beyond cultural and national boundaries in order to address and redress cultural conflicts. To this end, this course examines influential liberal, post-modern/post-structuralist, and post-colonial perspectives on the aims and methods of multicultural education.
To a large extent, the course design is overly ambitious. It indeed risks over-generalizing and oversimplifying liberalism, neo-liberalism, postmodernism, post-structuralism, and post-colonialism. At the same time, the overview of varied theoretical and perceptual frameworks for developing multicultural education is helpful for facilitating professional educators’ undertaking an inclusive and collaborative inquiry into the ultimate aim(s) of global education/global learning.
Case, R. (1993). Key elements of a global perspective. Social Education 57(6). 318.