Global, international and intercultural education: three contemporary approaches to teaching and learning

Mónica Lourenço (Research Centre on Didactics and Technology in the Education of Trainers, University of Aveiro, Portugal)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 22 October 2018

Issue publication date: 22 October 2018



Lourenço, M. (2018), "Global, international and intercultural education: three contemporary approaches to teaching and learning", On the Horizon, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 61-71.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited


Globalization has played a key role in shaping societies over the past couple of decades. Still, there is little agreement on its merits and perils and, most importantly, on how it can be best defined. Attempts to provide a broader understanding of this charged concept see globalization as the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary social life, including economic, political, social and cultural spheres, as a result of rapid advances in technology, communication and travel (Giddens, 2000). This interconnectedness offers new possibilities to interact with and learn from culturally-diverse people, as well as to access information in real-time. However, it also brings challenges of unparalleled magnitude. Because we are interconnected (and interdependent), what happens in other parts of the world on a global level affects us on a local level, and vice versa. Hence, climate change, war and conflict, gender and social inequality, poverty and unemployment and forced migration have all become global problems with consequences for many different countries and communities.

Addressing these global problems requires increasingly complex skills, knowledge and predispositions from people (Banks, 2004), such as critical thinking; communication, negotiation and collaboration skills; knowledge and understanding of global issues and responsibilities; valorization of diversity; and commitment to social justice; to name but a few (Oxfam, 2015). This brings out the need for clearer and bolder education goals, as well as more flexible, appropriate and inclusive forms of education.

In the higher education sector, institutions have addressed these challenges by turning to internationalization (Maringe and Foskett, 2010). This meant attracting students and staff from different parts of the world, leading research addressing scientific and social issues of global significance, or developing teaching programs that have both local and international relevance. Despite adopting different approaches and strategies in the development of their internationalization agendas, higher education institutions seem to agree on the fact that an education suitable for this new era entails the integration of an international, intercultural or global dimension. These three terms are intentionally used as a triad in several definitions related with internationalization (Beelen and Jones, 2015; Knight, 2004; Leask, 2015). As Knight (2004, p. 11) explains:

International is used in the sense of relationships between and among nations, cultures, or countries. But we know that internationalization is also about relating to the diversity of cultures that exists within countries, communities, and institutions, and so intercultural is used to address the aspects of internationalization at home. Finally, global, a very controversial and value-laden term these days, is included to provide the sense of worldwide scope. These three terms complement each other and together give richness both in breadth and depth to the process of internationalization.

Concurrent use of these terms is not restricted to higher education or to the “Western” world. In a recent empirical study, Yemini and Fulop (2015) report on how Israeli school administrators are making substantial efforts to integrate an international, global and intercultural dimension into the processes of instruction and learning, as well as at the organizational level, in local secondary schools, in a parallel move to the related internationalization process taking place in higher education. These three dimensions have also been used to identify educational approaches suited to the characteristics of the contemporary world, as detailed below.

Contemporary approaches to teaching and learning

Global education

The concept of global education is not new and has a long tradition in English-speaking countries (Hicks, 2007; Tye, 2014). In the mid-1960s, for instance, an increasing number of educators in the USA began to question whether education was helping young people to understand the contemporary world, considering that it was essential to encourage greater understanding of local-global issues amongst students. Hanvey’s 1976 model of “education for a global perspective” marked a key moment in the history of the concept. In a revised edition of his seminal work An attainable global perspective, Hanvey (2004, p. 1) described this type of education as:

[…] that learning which enhances the individual’s ability to understand his or her condition in the community and the world and improves the ability to make effective judgements. It includes the study of nations, cultures, and civilizations, including our own pluralistic society and the societies of other peoples, with a focus on understanding how these are all interconnected and how they change, and on the individual’s responsibility in this process. It provides the individual with a realistic perspective on world issues, problems and prospects, and an awareness of the relationships between an individual’s enlightened self-interest and the concerns of people elsewhere in the world.

With the arrival of the new millennium and as a result of unforeseen changes brought by globalization, educators and policy makers around the world recognized the importance of initiatives to infuse a global dimension in school curricula (Killick, 2015). The Europe-wide Global Education Congress, held in Maastricht in November 2002, was a pioneering event in this respect. The event brought together government representatives, regional and local authorities, as well as civil society organizations from member states of the Council of Europe and from several other nations of the world to increase and improve support for global education, understood both as a necessity and a right. At this event, a common definition of global education was drafted:

Global Education is education that opens people’s eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all. Global Education is understood to encompass Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict (Council of Europe, 2002, p. 66).

According to this definition, global education is as an umbrella term that brings together the agendas of different fields of education, such as development education, human rights education, education for peace and conflict resolution and education for sustainability. Such an approach enables sharing of strategies across differing but similar types of education that share a critical global perspective for greater human dignity. The definition also alludes to the fact that global education involves not only cognitive factors, related with knowledge and understanding of global issues, but also affective factors, centered on respect for others and the world and aiming at promoting engaged participation for more inclusive and sustainable societies.

The focus on engaged participation explains the reason why some organizations, such as Oxfam International and the UNESCO, have chosen to operate under the heading of “global citizenship education”, in some ways possibly a clearer label than global education, traditionally understood in terms of “learning about the world”. For the UNESCO (2014, p. 15), global citizenship education “aims to empower learners to engage and assume active roles, both locally and globally, to face and resolve global challenges and ultimately to become proactive contributors to a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable world”. In a similar way, Oxfam (2015, p. 5) regards global citizenship education as “a framework to equip learners for critical and active engagement with the challenges and opportunities of life in a fast-changing and interdependent world”.

Still, the concept of “global citizenship” is ambiguous and contested (Andreotti and Souza, 2012; Goren and Yemini, 2017; Oxley and Morris, 2013). Some authors (Bates, 2012; Parekh, 2003) consider that this type of citizenship is not feasible because it lacks an authority and/or a state in relation to which citizens can assume their duties and responsibilities. Moreover, it is not desirable, as it can lead to uprooting of the citizens from their local community. An opposing view suggests that globalization has brought about the possibility (and need) for people to see themselves (or at least part of their identity) as citizens of a global community (Peterson and Warwick, 2015). As Clifford and Montgomery (2011, p. 13) explain, “while some argue that there is no society for global citizens to be citizens of, we see planet earth as our commonality and endorse the ethic of social justice where we do not secure a better live for ourselves at the expense of a much worse life or others”. Thinking about global citizenship in this way challenges nation-based notions of citizenship by conceiving its possibility in terms of actions, participation and membership that exists beyond national borders.

Considering that the primary goal of global education is to prepare students to be effective and responsible citizens in a global society, several authors and organizations have attempted to identify the characteristics of global citizens. Oxfam (2015) sees the global citizen as someone who:

  • is aware of the wider world and has a sense of his/her own role as a world citizen;

  • respects and values diversity;

  • has an understanding of how the world works;

  • is passionately committed to social justice;

  • participates in the community at a range of levels, from the local to the global;

  • works with others to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place; and

  • takes responsibility for his/her actions.

Oxfam (2015) goes on to propose a curriculum for global citizenship that includes the knowledge and understanding, skills, values and attitudes that learners need both to participate fully in a globalized society and economy and secure a more just, inclusive and sustainable world than the one they have inherited. These include knowledge and understanding of social justice and equity, critical and creative thinking, and respect for people and human rights. Oxfam’s framework emphasizes the need for global citizenship education to be integrated in a systematic and gradual way throughout the curriculum starting in the early years, thus providing a valuable tool for curriculum design.

International education

Global education is often confused or used interchangeably with international education. Some of this confusion is bound to rest on the fact that they both transcend national boundaries. Epstein (1992, p. 409) refers to international education as “organised efforts to bring together students, teachers, and scholars from different nations to interact and learn about and from each other”. Crossley and Watson (2003, p. 14) identify the role of international education in the preparation of students for “employment anywhere in the world’ and the development of ‘an understanding of different countries, as well as good relations with people of different nationalities and languages”. Thompson and Hayden (2004, p. 276), for their part, see international education as being ‘related to the achievement of greater levels of mutual respect and harmonious coexistence among nations’.

The term international education has also been applied to the work of international education institutions, such as the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the OECD or the United Nations. In this respect, it is mainly concerned with policy matters, such as the acceptability of qualifications, the definition of assessment and benchmarking tools, the promotion of educational exchanges, and the initiation of cultural agreements. These global education superstructures, though, are fraught with criticism from many educationalists who believe that they lead to similar practices in national education systems across the word and to a “Westernization” of the curriculum, which are detrimental to the preservation of cultural diversity. Yet, this is a much debated topic. For instance, culturalists believe that global ideas are adapted by policy makers and practitioners to the local context, thus rejecting the suggestion that these organizations work together to create global education uniformity (Spring, 2009).

One way to promote international education is through international schooling. International schools are difficult to define. According to Marshall (2014), the location, curriculum and who the students are all contribute to how international a school is. The majority of international schools are private and fee-paying, students are the children of expatriates working in a country that is not their home, and follow an international curriculum. The idea of a formal curriculum with a specifically international focus first appeared in the late 1960s with the development of the International Baccalaureate. Its original purpose was to facilitate the international mobility of students and prepare them for university by providing schools with a curriculum and diploma qualification recognized by universities around the world. The relevance of such a curricular orientation to national education systems is increasingly recognized in recent years (Hayden, 2013). As a consequence, schools worldwide are offering an international curriculum with the aims of encouraging an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, languages and points of view. However, it is worth highlighting that international schooling is only a part of what constitutes international education. As cautioned by Marshall (2014, p. 118), “some international schools (it is important to note that not all) are involved in international education”.

Another way to promote international education is through fostering educational experiences in other countries, for instance, through short-term exchange programs. In Europe, the Erasmus program (currently Erasmus+) which stands for “European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students”, is a successful example. Established in 1987, Erasmus has supported not only more than 5 million students, apprentices and volunteers, but also staff and youth exchanges, amounting to 9 million people in total (European Commission, 2017). Specific issues tackled by the program include reducing unemployment, especially among young people; promoting adult learning, in particular for new skills and skills required by the labor market; encouraging young people to take part in European democracy; supporting innovation, cooperation and reform; reducing early school leaving; and promoting cooperation and mobility with the European Union’s partner countries. According to Phillips and Schweisfurth (2008, p. 44), these type of exchanges “play a key role in creating the international scholar”, as they not only enrich students’ academic and professional lives, but also improve language learning, intercultural skills, self-reliance and self-awareness.

Programs such as Erasmus illustrate a move in the rationale of international education from a more pragmatic function, which rests on the development of academic qualifications, to a more ideological role concerned with the moral development of the individual (Cambridge and Thompson, 2004). In this respect, international education has been pointed out as leading to international mindedness and international understanding. International mindedness is about pursuing knowledge and understanding of cultural differences and global issues and how they affect us all. It is also about being able to critically analyze those issues to propose solutions. As Hill (2012, p. 246) highlights, “it is about putting the knowledge and skills to work in order to make the world a better place through empathy, compassion and openness”. International mindedness can be thought of as a precursor to international understanding. It refers to “the development of that insight and attitude in the individuals who, rising above their own selfish and narrow interests, find out the really valuable items in all other cultures besides their own” (Ravi, 2011, p. 700). Fundamental to international mindedness and understanding is appreciation of cultural diversity within and between nations and of the multiple perspectives that arise from it. This lies also at the heart of intercultural education.

Intercultural education

As a result of globalization, there has been an increased movement of people across national boundaries. Whether migrants, refugees of mere travelers, these people often bring along other languages, cultures and worldviews. Societies, previously considered monolingual and monocultural, are now much more diverse in terms of ethnicity, class, language and religion. This poses considerable challenges to education systems, which are being asked to deal with linguistic and cultural diversity on a daily basis, to guarantee the academic achievement and successful integration of all children and promote a heightened understanding of and respect for other people (UNESCO, 2009).

To achieve these goals, multicultural education has been introduced in various countries around the world as a response to the changing demographics of students. In a well-known definition, multicultural education is understood as “a field of study and an emerging discipline whose major aim is to create equal educational opportunities for students from diverse racial, ethnic, social-class, and cultural groups” (Banks and Banks, 1995, p. 11). More recent definitions highlight the role of multicultural education in promoting democracy and social justice (Banks, 2009), assisting students in thinking more critically (May, 2009), and empowering them to act and make significant contributions to the world (Banks, 2014).

Gollnick and Chinn (2013) list six fundamental beliefs underlying multicultural education:

  1. cultural differences have strength and value;

  2. schools should be models for the expression of human rights and respect for cultural and group differences;

  3. social justice and equality for all people should be of paramount importance in the design and delivery of curricula;

  4. attitudes and values necessary for participation in a democratic society should be promoted in schools;

  5. teachers are fundamental to students learning the knowledge, skills and the need to be productive citizens; and

  6. educators working with families and communities can create an environment that is supportive of multiculturalism, equality and social justice.

Themes of diversity, equality, democracy, social justice and anti-racism are, thus, central to our understanding of multicultural education. As such, this concept can be called slightly different things around the world. In Europe, for instance, the term “intercultural education” is often preferred to “multicultural education” (Portera, 2011). Intercultural education aims to “go beyond passive coexistence, to achieve a developing and sustainable way of living together in multicultural societies through the creation of understanding of, respect for and dialogue between the different cultural groups” (UNESCO, 2006, p. 18). Intercultural education is regarded as pursuing the following aims: the reduction of all forms of exclusion, the furthering of integration and school achievement, the promotion of respect for cultural diversity, the promotion of understanding of the cultures of others, and the promotion of international understanding. These aims are meant to be implemented in curricula, teaching methods and materials, language teaching, school life, teacher education and also in the interaction between schools and the community (Santos et al., 2014).

After studying a number of documents from international conferences, the UNESCO (2006) put together three principles on which intercultural education should be centered. The first principle relates to respect for the cultural identity of the learner through providing culturally appropriate and responsive education for all. The second principle sees intercultural education as providing every learner with the cultural knowledge, attitudes and skills which are necessary for achieving active and full participation in society. Finally, the third principle sustains that intercultural education should promote respect, understanding, and solidarity among individuals, and among different ethnic, social, cultural and religious groups and nations.

If multicultural education sees equality for all at its core, in intercultural education the keyword is dialogue. Intercultural dialogue is “a process that comprises an open and respectful exchange of views between individuals and groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds and heritage, on the basis of mutual understanding and respect” (Council of Europe, 2008, p. 15). In practice, this requires that individuals develop an intercultural competence, which involves the ability to interact effectively and appropriately with people from other cultures. In the past twenty years scholarly attention has been devoted to defining and creating a taxonomy for intercultural competence. Despite a variety of models and frameworks available nowadays, they all seem to agree that intercultural competence comprises attitudes, knowledge and skills that are developed gradually through a lifelong process (Byram, 1997; Deardorff, 2009). The development of intercultural competence departs from situations of intercultural dialogue which occur in daily life and should be learned, practiced and maintained. Fundamental is an understanding that intercultural education is indispensable for all students, even in monocultural contexts, and should not be seen simply as a way to integrate migrant students or to deal with multicultural contexts. All students should have the opportunity to see diversity as a normal characteristic of current societies and as a means for personal development (Alred et al., 2002).

The above literature review indicates that there are many common themes in global, international and intercultural education. All of these approaches aim to promote students’ understanding of the world outside their own countries and communities, develop attitudes and predispositions that underpin a respectful and equal discourse between cultures and inspire them to act toward positive change. In the end, they all embody a transformative vision of education and a new paradigm that goes beyond local and national barriers, individualism and competitiveness, toward a feeling of belonging to a greater whole. This implies a profound change in the basic premises that regulate educational programs. Indeed, it is no longer enough to educate children and young people to be efficient workers in a global economy; it is fundamental to teach them how to live together sustainably and peacefully, respecting one another and the environment, and provide them with opportunities for critical, ethical and responsible action toward greater equality and social justice.

Background, themes and organization of the special issue

In line with these themes, The International Institute of Knowledge Management (TIIKM), Sri Lanka, and the University of Northern Colorado, USA, joined efforts to organize the 3rd International Conference on Education (ICEDU), titled Models of Global Education and Education Mobility for the 2020’s. The conference was held between 20 and 22 April 2017, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and witnessed the participation of around 120 delegates representing more than 30 countries. Technical sessions, poster sessions and keynote speeches focused on a multitude of themes related with global issues, technological enhancements, inclusion, comparative education, cultural and linguistic diversity, mobility, curriculum design and teacher quality. The event, therefore, offered a platform for academics and policymakers to discuss and share knowledge and recent research under one common goal – to advance the quality of education received by students worldwide.

This special issue brings together a collection of selected papers from the conference, written by a wide range of contributors from around the world, as well as conceptual and research articles written by renowned experts in the field. The ten papers that comprise this special issue offer an updated and critical analysis and/or recommendations of how educational institutions (from primary up till higher education) meet the challenges associated with globalization and internationalization, mobility and migration, as well as the diverse needs of students, teachers and learning communities. Drawing on a synthesis of theory and practice, the papers focuses on one (or several) approach of contemporary education highlighted above from three distinct perspectives – a student perspective, a teacher perspective and a curriculum perspective.

David Killick, from the UK, leads off this special issue with an opinion piece on a holistic model for graduate attributes. Titled “Graduates in/for a multicultural and globalising world”, the paper questions the vague notion of “global citizen” and argues for a more holistic construct of global selfhood as a legitimate goal for graduates who must make their way in a multicultural and globalizing world. This theoretical model sees the global graduate as someone who has the capabilities to lead a life he/she has reason to value. These include “global perspectives”, related with a recognition of the ways in which one’s own personal and professional actions, and those of others, impact upon the capabilities of diverse people in diverse contexts to lead lives they have reason to value; and “cross-cultural capabilities” to conduct one’s personal and professional life among diverse people in diverse contexts in ways which do no harm to their capabilities to lead lives they have reason to value. From this theoretical modeling, the author presents practice implications for learning and teaching in higher education.

A different take on graduate attributes in/for a globalized world is offered by Maurice Danaher and Anthony Rhodes, from the United Arab Emirates, and Ashley Ater Kranov, from Saudi Arabia. In “Concurrent direct assessment of foundation skills for General Education”, the authors describe a performance assessment method to measure “foundation skills”, i.e. life skills, transferable skills and technology skills that allow graduates to succeed in the academic discipline of their choosing and subsequently in their employment. The General Education Foundation Skills Assessment (GEFSA) framework comprises a scenario/case describing an unresolved contemporary issue, which engages student groups in online discussions, and a task-specific analytic rubric to concurrently assess the extent to which students have attained the targeted foundation skills. The method was applied in three semesters to non-native English speaking students in a General Education program at a university in the United Arab Emirates. According to the authors, the results suggest that the method can consistently elicit and measure the foundation skills of students in a General Education program, providing valuable data for curriculum development.

Remaining with a focus on the students, Jakub Dostál, Martina Chalupová, Martina Černá and Martin Prokop, from the Czech Republic, address one of the main internationalization strategies used by higher education institutions worldwide – student mobility – and identify the challenges put forward by a current global threat. The paper, titled “International terrorism as a threat to student mobility”, presents a study that aimed to determine whether fear of terrorism is a barrier to international student mobility. Based on data collected through interviews with representatives of four universities located in the Czech Republic, Finland, Belgium and France, the authors describe how terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris led to diminished participation of international students in these countries, as well as last-minute cancelations of short-term mobility events, such as the International Business Week. The authors suggest that along with the traditional barriers of language, financial costs, and incompatibility of higher education systems, fear can become a serious threat to the internationalization of higher education.

Short-term mobility is also at the core of the next paper on the “Professional development of future foreign language teachers during short-term exchanges”. Written by Sílvia Melo-Pfeifer and Christian Helmchen, from Germany, the study follows four prospective foreign language teachers before, during and after a short-term internship in Spain, to understand the self-perceived influence of these exchanges on their professional values, pedagogy and practice. Results from content and discourse analysis of future teachers’ letters of motivation, e-mails and focus group interview reveal a shift of priorities in their discourses: from an initial focus on language skills improvement, they come to value the intercultural pedagogic experience they lived, focusing on differences and similarities between professional values and pedagogical practices across contexts. Considering these results, the authors make a strong plea for the generalized implementation of professional exchange programs as a means to raise teachers’ awareness of global structural, educational, political and curricular contexts and demands, and help them reconsider taken-for-granted beliefs and practices.

Also addressing pre-service teacher education, Eny Winarti, from Indonesia, writes a paper on “Emancipatory education and the preparation of future teachers”. The paper describes the impact of a program sustained on the tenets of emancipatory education in the development of twenty-first century skills by a group of future elementary school teachers in Indonesia. Following the steps of action research, the author first describes how she planned and implemented the teaching program; then, she explains how she observed and reflected on the impact of the activities. Results point to changes in future teachers’ attitudes and skills related with the following aims of emancipatory education – manifestation of humanization, critical conscientization, and development of problem-solving skills. Yet, some remnants of “old tendencies”, typical to Javanese culture (e.g. not thinking out of the box or waiting for direct instructions), were visible. Based on these findings, the author offers recommendations for introducing emancipatory education in developing countries, to help teachers become more sensitive and respond in a more appropriate way to the challenges of teaching and learning in the twenty-first century.

The themes of twenty-first century skills and teacher education are also central to the next paper on “Teacher’s feedback in teaching science in a bilingual Bruneian primary classroom”, by authors Siti Munawirah Panjang, Roslinawati Roslan, Norashikin Yusof and Masitah Shahrill, from Brunei. The study depicted in this paper analyzes the use of feedback to students by a male primary teacher in a Year 5 science classroom that uses English as the medium of instruction. Drawing on Chin’s (2006) questioning-based discourse approach, the authors analyze the different types of teacher feedback, as well as the students’ cognitive processes that emerged from three lesson transcripts. The results show that the teacher only practiced low-level questioning, and gave feedback mostly to accept the students’ answers rather than to challenge their ideas. The authors highlight the need for science teachers to analyze their classroom talk and make recommendations about how to give useful feedback to students to promote higher-order cognitive processes. Furthermore, they make the case for Content Language Integrated Learning as a possible approach to overcome Bruneian students’ English language needs.

Susana Pinto, from Portugal, writes about “Intercultural competence in Higher Education: academics’ perspectives”. The study sought to identify and understand the perspectives of a group of academics who participated in a training program on intercultural competence on the components of this competence and on its relevance for higher education students. Using Deardorff’s (2006) Process Model of Intercultural Competence, the author analyzes the transcripts of two sessions of the training program, as well as observation notes taken on site. She concludes that academics are aware of the multidimensionality of intercultural competence, acknowledging that it comprises attitudes, knowledge and skills, which are developed over time and lead to internal and external desired outcomes. Academics also consider intercultural competence to be crucial for higher education graduates in a context of internationalization, because it helps them to fight prejudice, empowers them professionally and prepares them to live in a globalized world. Based on these findings, and considering the central role that academics play in developing students’ intercultural competence, the author underlines the importance of promoting professional development programs for academics that allow them to develop their own intercultural competence and learn how to embed it in the curriculum.

The last three papers of the special issue revolve around the higher education curriculum, offering new perspectives and approaches. Michael Byram, from the UK, leads the way with a conceptual paper on “Internationalisation in Higher Education – an internationalist perspective”. In this paper, the author analyzes some conceptualizations and definitions of internationalization and explains the concept of internationalism, arguing that it has a moral dimension that may provide a normative value base for the processes of internationalization. The author goes on to propose some implications of internationalism for the internationalization of higher education, namely, for curriculum implementation and design.

Mónica Lourenço, from Portugal, stays on these themes with a paper titled “Internationalizing teacher education curricula: opportunities for academic staff development”. The paper shares the results of a study conducted with a group of teacher educators in a Portuguese higher education institution, which aimed to understand the impact of a 13-month workshop about internationalization of the curriculum and global education on teachers’ perceived professional development. Through analyzing teachers’ discourses and interactions during a focus group session, the author concludes that the workshop presented a meaningful opportunity for teachers to develop knowledge on global education, reconsider their teaching practice, (re)discover the importance of collaborative work and assume new commitments to themselves and to others. The paper concludes with a set of recommendations for a professional development program in internationalization of the curriculum.

The final paper of this special issue, written by Christy McConnell Moroye and Bruce Uhrmacher, from the USA, has the seemingly paradoxical title of “Teaching in the moment: educational experience in the age of tomorrow”. The authors begin by arguing that little attention is being paid to the quality of present experiences in schools and classrooms, with institutions and educational actors focusing too much on tests, standards, workforce development and college readiness. Therefore, based on their own teacher education practice and on the work of John Dewey, particularly on the notions of continuity and interaction, the authors propose two types of “present” and “educative” experiences that have potential to improve educational settings across the globe. These are esthetic experiences – which they see as comprising connections, risk-taking, sensory experiences, perceptivity and active engagement – and ecological experiences, involving ecological care, interconnectedness and integrity. The authors end their paper by urging teachers and teacher educators to “teach in the moment”, through creating the conditions for meaningful present experiences for teachers and students that may lead to future growth and engagement.


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The author would like to end this editorial by thanking all the people who made this publication possible. These are, first of all, the contributors, whose enthusiasm, perseverance and forbearance during the reviewing and editing procedures were heart-warming. She would also like to thank the corps of peer reviewers who provided rigorous and constructive comments to the manuscripts. These were fundamental in helping to substantially improve the quality of this special issue. She extends her sincere gratitude to the editorial team of On the Horizon, particularly to Tom Abeles for the kind invitation to guest edit this special issue, to Andy Hines, Adam Griffiths, Jayne Edge and Louise Lister for kindly taking this project on, and also for taking time out of their days to reply to all of my queries. Finally, one last word to the readers – the author hopes that the recommendations and pedagogical examples shared in the various contributions to this special issue may be a source of inspiration for those who pursue the task of educating students and teachers to embrace the opportunities and challenges of this globalized and multicultural world.

Corresponding author

Mónica Lourenço can be contacted at:

About the author

Mónica Lourenço is based at Research Centre on Didactics and Technology in the Education of Trainers, University of Aveiro, Portugal

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