Global education: a response towards the global challenges : perception of teacher students on GE
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
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Global education is an umbrella term with the purpose to foster people’s awareness and understanding of challenges in their surrounding on a local and a global scale. Additionally, the approach urges to act responsible and ethically in order to induce change to the society towards a justice and sustainable world on a macro and micro level while embracing democratic principles. In the last decades, its importance has increased in the pedagogical sector in order to shape responsible and active citizens as from a bottom-up perspective. With respect to Finland, GE is an integrated part in the Finnish core curriculum for basic education. However, despite its significance, its meaning is not fully clarified which makes it a challenging process for teachers and teacher students to comprehend the notion of GE. The thesis investigates pre-service teachers’ perceptions and experiences on GE at university of Oulu with the help of a phenomenographical inquiry. The focus is to gain data based on epistemological perspectives, as how the participants make sense of the concept individually. In addition, the qualitative study explores the challenges and the benefits within the framework of GE, as the participants experience it. All in all, the purpose is not to generalize those perceptions, but the study should give an insight into the different views. In the research, nine participants elaborated their perceptions in semi-structured interviews conducted on the premises of Oulu university. The data analysis process involved an inductive methodology which led to the establishment of the outcome space. The study confirms that the meaning of GE is subjected to large variations. The findings demonstrate a discrepancy between the theoretical knowledge and everyday knowledge, as the participants experienced difficulties in conceptualizing the concept. Additionally, the study demonstrates a strong focus on multicultural aspects of GE, while the political dimension specifically focused on democratic principles or social injustice issues are less addressed which indicates a mainstream understanding of GE. However, the thesis concludes that the participants are highly aware and concerned of the global issues regarding their surrounding whereby they acknowledge their responsibilities within the society. Nevertheless, the study shows that their perceptions are partly influenced by their experiences in the teaching programs in which the conduct of GE is unequally exercised. The current approaches as dialogues and research-based inquiries are experienced by the participants as less effective, as controversial issues are not sufficiently addressed. Another observation is that the participants do feel a lack of empowerment which may have an impact on transformational progress within GE. Overall, the study shows that the participants are positively interested in the concept, but improvements within the teaching programs require to be made so that the interest of the students is fostered to generate active global educators.
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