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Article

Curriculum: Local, National, Transnational, and Global  

Sybil Durand and Nina Asher

Examining curriculum in terms of local, national, transnational, and global contexts requires engaging discourses of postcolonialism, decolonization, and globalization. Curriculum studies, empirical research projects, as well as literature, film, the arts, and social media collectively illustrate the many ways in which local, national, transnational, and global influences intersect and inform each other. These intersections and the tensions they raise with regards to race, culture, gender and sexuality, and nation, in turn shape curriculum, teaching, and educational research. The resurgence of racism, xenophobia, and global capitalism, and the resounding calls for activism in response to social and systemic injustice have implications for education researchers to persevere in advancing decolonizing curriculum studies that aim to dismantle oppressions and build coalitions.

Article

Transnationalism and Education in the United States  

G. Sue Kasun, Patricia Sánchez, and David Martínez-Prieto

Transnationalism describes the ways in which ties between two or more nations are maintained; these ties abound in social practices that are, at times, situated within rigid governing structures. Transnationalism implies not only physical movement across borders, commonly referred to as “immigration,” but also emotional ties across borders. It also includes distinct ways of knowing that are informed by social media, loved ones, and cultural practices that span borders. The transnational social spaces in which youth are raised are often filled with deep understandings of geopolitical contexts that weave together multiple national perspectives, personal navigation of physical borders (both with and without authorized documentation), and complex social networks in more than one country sustained through ever-changing media applications. However, these knowledges often remain unengaged in and underacknowledged by schools. The disciplines of sociology and anthropology have informed much of the research on transnationalism, although from different standpoints. Sociology has taken a more literal sense of transnationalism, focusing narrowly on physical bodies’ movements back-and-forth over borders. Anthropologists have more robustly engaged the emotional and psychological aspects of transnationalism as it impacts the groups generally described as “immigrants.” Unfortunately, most of the research related to transnational children and education has been under the larger framework of assimilation. The unfortunate result is that the focus on how immigrants assimilate misses the opportunity to interpret (and perhaps misinterprets) a larger set of accompanying phenomena alongside the immigration act. For education, transnational experiences can help students develop a sense of identity, which in turn helps them achieve in the school settings of both receiving and sending countries, should they have to return. Similarly, transnationalism complicates and makes notions of citizenship more robust. Immigrant students are always potentially engaged transnationals during their settlement processes—the possibility exists that they will remain actively connected to their home countries and even potentially return for visits or permanently. Educational research has more recently examined how transnationalism helps create and can deepen literacy practices, especially digital literacies. Numerous education scholars have called for educators to draw upon students’ transnational lives in the curriculum. This can help prepare all students for an increasingly globalized world. This does not suggest a “learning styles” approach in which transnational students are considered a monolithic group in need of a repertoire of instructional strategies to meet the group’s needs. Instead, educators need to create the space in which students’ transnational experiences and perceptions are allowed to be aired, understood, and built upon in schools. In education, the commonly stated goal is for the classroom to function as a “community of learners.” If, in fact, educators aspire to build true communities, transnational students’ lives should no longer remain hidden from the view of their peers and teachers.

Article

Diasporic Transnationalism, Gender, and Education  

Kimberly Williams Brown

Transnationalism, gender, and education are bound together through a global need for cheap, replaceable labor. Women work for less (cheap labor) and often travel globally for work. Education has not been exempt from this phenomenon and teachers’ roles in transnational and global knowledge production and teaching have not always been documented. Despite this, women have been resisting the exploitation of their labor through diasporic transnational networks; one such example is Afro-Caribbean women teachers who demonstrate how a politics of refusal, diasporic transnationalism, and liberation are bound together in interlocking ways. Diasporic transnationalism allows marginalized people to resist a world created on inequities that tells them they are not capable of agency and their own definitions of liberation.

Article

Transnational Childhood and Education  

Aparna Tarc

The field of transnational childhood and education emerges under intensifying mobilities. These global conditions disrupt universalist educational treatments of childhood as a fixed developmental stage of human being. Transnationality shows childhood to be a psychosocially constructed experience that takes myriad form across diverse cultural, historical, educational, and political contexts. The lives of actual children are caught in colonial and national constructions of childhood and subject to its discourses, politics, and normative enactments through public schooling. The emerging field of transnational childhood and education represents a potentially critical intervention in colonial and national enactments of childhood worldwide. Despite interdisciplinary efforts to reconceptualize childhood, Western educational institutions continue to hold to and reproduce hegemonic and colonial understandings of childhood as monocultural, heteronormative, familial, innocent, and protected. Mass global flows of people, culture, and ideas compel policy-makers and educational experts worldwide to consider transnational childhood as the dominant situation of children in and across multicultural nations. The fluidity of malleable childhood experience is poised to generate new educational arrangements and innovations. Transnational lives of children de-stable normative categorizations and fixed situations placed upon children in and through the mechanisms of early childhood education and national schooling. Researchers of transnational childhood and education engage a range of educational experiences and arrangements of children moving within, across, and outside of formal and national schooling institutions. Increasingly children and families are caught in experiences produced by global, geo-political conditions including: war, forcible migration, detainment on borders, internal colonization, and environmental catastrophe. To respond to the times, families and communities seek out and/or are forced to provide opportunities and alternatives for children outside of school. Increasingly children use emergent digital and other forms of remote and inventive means of education. As research in this area is new, transdisciplinary, and ground-breaking, the study of transnational childhoods and education has the potential to radically innovate and deepen the meanings and possibilities of both childhood and education in a rapidly globalizing, uncertain, and changing world.

Article

Transnational Curriculum Studies  

Seungho Moon

Transnational curriculum studies (TCS) examines the fluid dynamics of knowledge creation, knowledge circulation, and knowledge representation across nation-state borders. It challenges the rigid architectures of state power and brings local concerns to the global context such as antiracist pedagogy and climate change issues. At the same time, TCS opens spaces for collaborative study of the same curriculum issues across nation-states from multiple perspectives. Curriculum scholars have extended scholarship to respond to various sociopolitical, cultural movements. Issues studied include human rights, recognition, and epistemicide through a framework that emphasizes hybrid identities and power operations across nation-states. Feminist postcolonial scholars within this field also highlight unequal power operations among nation-states, particularly for “marginalized” communities. They interrogate discourse on equity, power, and exploitation as a consequence of transnationalism. TCS scholars critically examine important questions on recolonization of knowledge through Eurocentric, patriarchal ideologies and the social reproduction of knowledge through curriculum. They also incorporate Indigenous approaches to knowledge learning and dissemination with the support of transnational curriculum inquiry. Key issues in TCS include global inequity and postcolonial discourse in transnationalism, transnational subjectivity and identity discourse, and epistemicide in curriculum and integration of Indigenous knowledge. Future directions for TCS arise from ontological, pedagogical, and methodological issues, which include collaborating with those in the field of border studies as physical and metaphorical spaces in research, linguistic issues in academic communities, and transnational curriculum studies for social actions and transformation. TCS contributes to opening space in curriculum theorizing to draw from multiple ways of knowing, including Indigenous epistemologies.

Article

Academic Diaspora, Transnational Education-Driven Mobilities, and the Nation State  

Le Ha Phan

Transnational education-driven mobilities produce a particular kind of academic diaspora in global higher education that is often valued by both home and host countries but in ways that vary and serve different interests and aspirations. These interests and aspirations are usually tied up with the contrasting perspectives on brain drain and brain circulation. With the promotion of worldwide globalization-driven internationalization of higher education, brain circulation and the associated discourse of connectivity have increasingly dominated policy and scholarly debates. The discourses of brain circulation and connectivity are furthered supported by technological advancements and numerous education-driven mobility programs introduced at all levels. While evidence of gain, circulation, and connectivity remains limited, there are concerns about capacity, knowledge and intellectual dependency, and academic inequalities between more developed higher education systems and those in developing countries. At the same time, varied privileges attached to academic diasporas and educational mobilities can cause tensions and hierarchies within a higher education system. The academic diaspora politics is located within this complex, hierarchical, and dynamic cultural, political, and economic space. As a way forward, grounded/home-based transnationality and a shift in discourse are discussed as a possible productive counter position to help reduce inequalities. Examples from Vietnam and several African countries as well as their respective transnational academic diasporas are provided to demonstrate the nuanced academic diaspora, brain drain, and brain circulation discourses.

Article

Race and the Educational Experiences of Multicultural Families and Biracial Children in Korea  

Eun-Jeong Han and Ellen Kang

Since the mid-1990s, Korea has been transitioning from an ethnically homogenous nation to a multicultural society, mostly due to the growing number of multicultural families. There are a number of issues associated with students from multicultural families (SMFs) in education: (a) lack of Korean language proficiency; (b) lower academic performance; (c) higher rates of mental or psychological issues; (d) higher rates of being bullied, discriminated against, and school dropout; and (e) lack of knowledge of support programs, the stigma of utilizing them, and program efficacy. Existing governmental programs utilize an assimilationist approach, which implies the problems reside in SMFs, when the emphasis should also be applied to an orchestrated shift in cultural values that would embrace multiculturalism.

Article

Negotiating Transnational Mobility and Gender Definitions in the Context of Migration  

Asuncion Fresnoza-Flot

The rise of mobility and transnationalism perspectives in the social sciences has contributed to a burgeoning literature on the cross-border movements of people. Gender as a conceptual lens has increasingly taken a central stage in the analyses, unveiling unequal power relations as well as unmasking the often-hidden macro-social processes and structures that shape them. As a category of difference, gender influences individuals’ attitudes and behavior, including their decision to migrate or not across borders of nation-states. This raises the question of how transnational mobility and gender intersect in the lives of individuals. To shed light on this issue, this article takes stock of the literature on transnational migrations associated with social reproduction: labor, marriage, and reproductive migrations. Such research reveals individuals’ tactics to negotiate their transnational mobility and gender definitions: using the dominant gender scripts in the country of origin, reconciling the gender ideologies in their countries of origin and destination, or aligning their narratives to specific moral values. Transnational mobility acquires different social meanings at certain points in time and in varying contexts, whereas gender remains at large anchored to its heteronormative foundation. Finally, based on the analysis of existing studies, a more holistic approach to transnational mobility through a sexuality-inclusive, process-oriented, subjectivity- and agency-focused, and time-sensitive framework is called for.

Article

Asian Americans and Education  

Benjamin Chang

The communities that constitute the racialized category of Asian Americans consist of approximately 20 million people in the United States, or about 5% of the total population. About 20% or 4 million are of primary or secondary school age, and over 1.1 million are in higher education. Both in popular and academic discourse, “Asian American” generally refers to people who have ethnic backgrounds in South Asia (e.g., Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka), Southeast Asia (e.g., Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam), and East Asia (e.g., China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan). As “Asian American” is an umbrella term used to categorize a very diverse, heterogeneous, and transnational set of populations, Asian Americans as a group present various challenges to education and research in and about the United States. These challenges can concern paradigms of achievement, citizenship, family involvement, access (e.g., higher education, bilingual education), language and culture, race and ethnicity, and school community. In order to address these paradigmatic challenges, a great deal of scholarship has called for a disaggregation of the data on populations that fall under the pan-ethnic “Asian America” umbrella term, to gain a more nuanced and dynamic understanding of the many diverse populations and their historical, cultural, economic, and political experiences. To further address the problematic framing of Asian Americans in education and related fields, scholars have applied critical lenses to key tensions within conceptualization, policy, curriculum, and pedagogy. More recently, the notions of intersectionality and transnationalism have been generative in the study of Asian Americans, within not only educational research but also Asian American studies, which generally falls under the field of ethnic studies in the U.S. context, but has also been categorized under American studies, cultural studies, or Asian studies. While characterizations of Asian Americans as “the Model Minority” or “the Oppressed Minority” persist, the relevance of such static binaries has increasingly been challenged as the Asian American populations and migrations continue to diversify and increase.

Article

Higher Education in China  

Jin Jiang

China’s higher education system witnessed quite a few dramatic institutional changes in recent years. The state has been making a series of attempts to increase the quantity of higher education opportunities through massive expanding of higher education’s capacity (also referred to as the massification of higher education). Meanwhile, the system experienced marketization and privatization, in which the funding for higher education institutions (HEIs) increasingly depends on the non-state sector and student payments for tuition fees. The private (minban) HEIs and Sino-foreign HEIs began to develop in China. With a strong conviction to enhance the global competitiveness of top universities, master plans for developing world-class universities and disciplines were initiated, and talent programs were adopted to attract global high-skilled talent to HEIs in China to enhance the teaching and research capability of HEIs. In recent years, HEIs have been granted larger institutional autonomy with greater accountability. Higher education in China has experienced dramatic institutional changes in recent years and has made great achievements and gained international acclaim. Given such capacity, HEIs became one of the largest systems in the world. More and more higher education opportunities have been provided for students, and an increasing number of leading scholars in the world have been attracted to HEIs in China. However, the development of higher education has encountered several challenges—in particular, unequal opportunities for higher education attainment, difficulties for college graduates in finding employment, and the unequal development of higher education among disciplines, between universities, and across regions. Critical reflections on the development of higher education in China and the notion of broadly defined educational equality are required.

Article

Chinese Occidentalism and Educational Tour  

Kaiyi Li

How Western education was constructed and could be employed to help develop modern Chinese education was an important vehicle for understanding the development of education in China, as well as the broader discourse of Occidentalism in China. Since the mid-19th century, the traditional Chinese worldview “all under heaven” became gradually disrupted. The new image of the West until the 1920s in China overlapped with the image of modernization, and from the image of the West, Chinese scholars conceived Chinese national goals. Education was considered by Chinese scholars and governments to be a tool to realize national modernization as well as a symbol of modernization. Sending educators and officials to Western countries was a popular method then in China to find references for Chinese domestic educational reform. The discourses of Western education articulated by these Chinese who had personal experiences abroad and had a close engagement with the West hence were authorized to describe an authentic Western education, and they thus contributed to the discourses of Occidentalism in China. Although with different social and political backgrounds, Chinese scholars all described education to be the foundational basis of Western countries and constructed direct connections between education and desired social progress, without considering other factors that influenced social progress. Those scholars contributed to the discourse of education as bearing the burden of providing social progress. They also established gaps between Western and Chinese education. One such gap was that Western education represented the international tendencies and model, while Chinese attempts to modernize education were portrayed as being in their infancy, suggesting China should learn from the West. The other gap was that Western education was essentialized as being more substantial and having successfully achieved modernization, while Chinese achievement in modern education was considered to be superficial and to have purportedly missed the essence of modernization. By contending that Chinese modern education missed the essence of modernization, Chinese scholar-officials and educators in the early decades of the 20th century established their opposition to the previous way of organizing modern education in China. However, establishing the gaps between Western education and Chinese education meant emphasizing not the immutability of Western education, but rather the dynamic character of Western education and the orientation of Chinese education. Such a discourse on Western education was part of a type of discourse on Occidentalism in China during the early decades of the 20th century and served to promote domestic reform—the West and China were different, but modernization was universally available to China.

Article

Globally Minded Leaders  

John M. Heffron and Rosemary Papa

The pressures—economic, political, and cultural—on educational leaders to think and act globally have perhaps never been greater than they are today. However, although it may go without saying that we live increasingly in a world of interdependent causation, of interconnectedness (and not simply between the local and the global, but between people and forces everywhere), this fact alone fails to fully explain the need for globally minded leaders in education. When so much of today’s interdependence tends to favor the strong over the weak on an essentially uneven playing field, a favorite complaint of critics on both the right and the left, the ways and means and ultimate purpose for producing such school leaders lie elsewhere, beyond today’s competitive stance. It lies in identifying and providing an unshakeable moral foundation for universal norms of social justice and equity; it lies in a revolutionary new approach to the knowledge base required of globally minded educational leaders, one that turns for guidance to humanistic thinkers around the world, past and present, the only test of their relevance being a philosophical one, not a psychological, an empirical, or a purely practical one; and it lies in embracing the multifaceted yet singularly cognizant of the human at heart. All this because the aim first and foremost is to develop thinkers, and then and only then practitioners. Practice follows from theory and theory from abstract, almost mathematical logic, a dialectical process of reasoning and argumentation. Globally minded school leaders distinguish themselves as masters of the lost art of argument, engaging actively in public dialogue and debate that seeks information, not some false standard of objectivity in the betterment of the human condition. Finally, the anthropological attitude that pursues processes of meaning making and value creation—not limited to an understanding of indigenous cultures, but extending to human and social relations in all their infinite variety—is the attitude of the globally minded leader. Such a one, in this sense of the term, is never finished, but in a perpetual state of becoming, a learning organization bound only by the self-imposed limits of his or her own curiosity and imagination. But the nature of one’s convictions is especially important here; it determines one’s actions, which in turn determine our value as human beings and as citizens of the earth, in linking commonalities of thought to actions that matter. Where do our convictions lie? This is the question globally minded educational leaders, in their challenges to sovereignty at home and abroad, are continually asking themselves on this journey with their learners.