International Experience for Engaged Global Citizens in Education

This paper reports upon a Higher Education Academy Departmental Development Grant delivered by the BA Education team at Liverpool Hope University from January 2012 until April 2013. The aim of this project was to produce a workable framework for university teaching staff to design a curriculum that enables students to develop a rich and complex understanding of what it means to be an ‘Engaged Global Citizen’ and test it out in a series of different learning contexts. The intention was to explicitly avoid producing a set of instrumental knowledge, skills and attributes but instead place values and dispositions (such as openness to difference, diversity, the other, self-respect, commitment to change and toleration of uncertainty and ambiguity) at the heart of the whole learning process. Crucially the project team has sought to demonstrate how these values can be nurtured and developed through different types of learning experience.

By working intensively with undergraduates and tutors in an Education Studies programme at Liverpool Hope University, the project has been undertaken in four distinct but inter-related phases. The result has been a strategy that can be adapted to fit undergraduate programmes not only in Education Studies but in related subjects where an international dimension is integral. The essential features of our project have been:

• curriculum interventions informed by student voice / experience
• a diversity of disciplinary and cultural backgrounds of tutors
• a reflexive approach by tutors involving examining their own personal beliefs and values
• flexibility in development of actions
• a rigorous evidence- based approach
• a focus on transformative learning
• a partnership with external organisations with expertise in global education
• use of social media and networking

The single most important outcome of the project has been to produce a pedagogically sound framework based on concepts of transformational learning, which transcends some previous homogenised approaches which can be instrumental and gloss over ambiguity and differentiation. This will be presented here in simple diagrammatic form where the intention has been to provide a heuristic device that teachers can use and/or revise to put their own contextual details into that will fit with their learning contexts and their students’ needs.