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Introduction: Rethinking Globalization, Education, and Citizenship


by David T. Hansen — 2011

Background/ Context: This essay is a part of a special issue that emerges from a year-long faculty seminar at Teachers College, Columbia University. The seminar’s purpose has been to examine in fresh terms the nexus of globalization, education, and citizenship. Participants come from diverse fields of research and practice, among them art education, comparative education, curriculum and teaching, language studies, philosophy of education, social studies, and technology. They bring to the table different scholarly frameworks drawn from the social sciences and humanities. They accepted invitations to participate because of their respective research interests, all of which touch on education in a globalized world. They were also intrigued by an all-too-rare opportunity to study in seminar conditions with colleagues from different fields, with whom they might otherwise never interact given the harried conditions of university life today. Participants found the seminar generative in terms of ideas about globalization, education, and citizenship. Participants also appreciated what, for them, became a novel and rich occasion for professional and personal growth.

Purpose/ Objective: The purpose of the present essay is to outline the aims and activities of the faculty seminar on globalization, education, and citizenship. I describe its origins, its composition, and the sequence of discussions, readings, and writings participants undertook. I discuss how the seminar adopted as its method of working the form of the spoken and written essay. “Essay” derives from the French essayer, denoting a trial of ideas in an attempt to understand. The introduction also anticipates the scope and style of the essays that comprise this special issue of the journal.

Conclusions/ Recommendations: The final portion of this introduction raises questions for continued research and practical wisdom. Among them are questions about the nature and purposes of education in our time (with education treated as more than schooling); the meaning of unofficial as well as official notions of citizenship; the dynamics and problematic of “belonging” in a changing world; the meaning of learning as well as misuses of the concept; the place of beauty in inquiry into globalization, education, and citizenship; how the essay form opens up a reconsideration of faculty support and assessment; the benefits and limitations of technology; and the meaning of respect as an orientation in research and practice in globalized conditions.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 113 Number 6, 2011, p. 1135-1153
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16135, Date Accessed: 12/12/2017 5:29:48 AM

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About the Author
  • David Hansen
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    DAVID T. HANSEN is professor and director of the Program in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College. He has written on conceptions of teaching and of teacher education, including in works such as The Call to Teach (1995) and Exploring the Moral Heart of Teaching (2001). In recent years, he has been studying questions about the relation between cosmopolitanism and education in our time.
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