The Influence Of Globalization On Rethinking Of Teaching Methods In The USA

Abstract

It is becoming more obvious today that the phenomenon of the present-day globalization connotes profound and drastic changes in all spheres of social life, particularly economics, technologies, politics, and culture. Under these circumstances, education is considered as a lifelong and difficult pathway to economic prosperity and sustainable development of the society. It enables nation states to transform their educational practices and rethink the existing approaches to teaching and learning processes. This paper reveals the influence of globalization on rethinking of teaching methods in the USA. The author of the article explores various research approaches to understanding of the phenomenon of “globalization” and describes a deep impact of the present-day globalization on the transformation of the USA education. Within this context, globalization is considered as a significant factor determining the development and improvement of both theory and practice of American education in the United States. More specifically, the author explores the main trends in reforming the national education system and reveals the distinctive features of the organization of teaching and learning processes in the USA today. Much attention is given to the issue of the impact of globalization on rethinking of teaching methods in this country. The most effective, efficient and known innovative teaching or learning methods, developed on the basis of interdisciplinary research and the latest scientific achievements, are briefly described.

Keywords: Globalizationeducationteaching and learning methods

Introduction

Since the second half of the 20th century the international community has been undergoing a period of serious and profound changes, caused by the spiralling globalization that affects all spheres of social life. Meanwhile, the manifestations of globalization, according to Spring (2014), are very diverse and controversial: military invasions, financial assistance to countries in urgent need, expansion of trade relations, the communication of ideas, knowledge, news, etc.

It is obvious that the present-day globalization represents an ambiguous and multidimensional phenomenon, which in a very loose sense is understood as a complex technological, economic, political or cultural process transforming the most important spheres of social life across the globe.

Globalization has a fundamental impact on both theory and practice of education today. Globalization emerged in the early days of information society, scientific and technical civilization, and the expansion of the economy. According to Spring (2014), globalization led to the development of a “learning society”. The Human capital is seen as a principal value of this society. Meanwhile, education is considered not merely as a common good, but also as a critical factor in the sustainable development of the society (UNESCO Incheon Declaration for Education 2030, 2015).

This approach highlights issues closely related to the universal and equal access of individuals to a quality education. The Incheon Declaration for Education 2030 asserts that in the era of globalization all nation states should focus on increasing the quality of education, characterized by effective learning outcomes at all school levels. The switch of emphasis towards quality education entails changing of teaching approaches and rethinking of existing teaching methods used in school practice of different countries today.

Problem Statement

It is becoming more obvious today that spiralling processes of globalization significantly influence on our society. Technological progress and the subsequent changes in the economics, politics and culture of most countries have put forward new requirements for the education of individuals. Knowledge, skills, and competencies emerged into human capital, used to improve the well-being of the society.

This fact has changed a leading line in the development of education. Thus, UNESCO declared a new universal conception of “transforming people's lives through education” acknowledging education as the driving force of sustainable development (UNESCO Incheon Declaration for Education 2030, 2015). The implementation of this conception has required changes in the approaches to the organization of the educational process and rethinking of existing teaching methods.

The United States has become one of the global leaders in the renewal of educational practices. The advent of new educational approaches and effective teaching and learning methods in this country is a modern trend in the development of education. According to the American Educational Research Association (2019), the majority of current research studies regarding education is devoted to the problem of developing innovative teaching and learning methods.

Innovative teaching methods aimed mainly at developing students’ expertise, knowledge and skills, which allow individuals to solve effectively a wide range of professional tasks, are being developed, improved and tested in the USA today. Besides, modern American teaching methods are actively borrowed by educators from other countries. For instance, such innovative teaching methods and approaches, as methods and techniques focused on fostering critical thinking skills in students, game-based and personalized learning methods, cooperative and corporate learning approaches, are used in educational practices of some Latin American, European and Scandinavian countries. This fact proves the effectiveness of American approach to the renewal of such significant part of educational practice as teaching methods. So, we should pay attention to the detailed analysis of the US accumulated positive experience in this sphere.

Research Questions

The key issue of this article is globalization and its impact on rethinking of teaching methods in the USA. This issue can be conceived only in a broad context. Thus, to understand this issue we have to answer following questions:

How do modern foreign researchers interpret the phenomenon of “globalization”? What is globalization of education? What role has globalization played in transformation the USA national system of education? What impact has globalization had on rethinking of teaching methods in this country?

Purpose of the Study

The aim of this article is to consider globalization as a factor determining the development and improvement of both theory and practice of education in the United States. Special attention is given to the influence of globalization on rethinking of teaching methods in this country.

Research Methods

The author used such methods as comparative analysis, synthesis, and generalization.

Findings

Modern Research Approaches to Understanding of the Phenomenon of “Globalization”

Globalization connotes a “non-linear, non-teleological, multi-layered and asymmetric interconnecting process” (Epple, 2018, p.396). In a broad sense, the concept of “globalization” denotes the intensification of worldwide relations in the fields of politics, economy and culture (Roldan & Brauer, & Rohbeck, 2018).

It should be noted that there are a large number of research approaches to the interpretation of the concept of “globalization” in the present-day science. Thus, its meaning, according to American scientists, varies depending on the angle of that is emphasized when defining it. Discussing the semantic diversity of the term “globalization”, these researchers note that this concept is studied today mainly in the context of economics, technology, politics and culture (Stromquist, Monkman, & Blackmore, 2014).

A large part of modern economic researches is devoted to the study of the phenomenon of “globalization”. So, researchers believe that the global processes, covered the entire world in the past three decades, have primarily affected the economic sphere and led to the fundamental changes in the national economies of all countries.

These changes contributed to the globalization of the economy and acceleration of the process of its integration. Thus, we can currently witness the intensive spread of transnational corporations, free movement of financial flows and capital, formation of a new type of economy. Researchers Graham and Gibson define “globalization” as “a set of processes by which the world is rapidly being integrated into one economic space via increased international trade, the internationalization of production and financial markets, the internationalization of a commodity culture” (Gibson-Graham, 2006, p.4).

The technology theorists, in their turn, consider globalization as a technological progress and say about closing the communication gap between individuals and societies. This approach was suggested by the American journalist and scholar Friedman (2000), researchers D. Held, and others. In particular, Held (Held, McGrew, Goldblatt, & Perraton, 1999) believes that “globalization” is a systematic process of integration, based on the development of technologies, aimed mainly at deepening and expansion of international relations in all spheres of modern social life. Friedman (2000) argues that due to technologies and globalization individuals can become closer to each other and can learn about the lives of many other people, about their work and ideas.

A different perspective on the nature of globalization is offered by researchers in the field of political science. Political scientists argue that globalization is a complex worldwide political process. A number of modern researches believe that globalization inevitably leads to the formation of a new world order in which global political actors impose their political will on other countries. Other researchers disagree with this view. They argue that globalization contributes to the formation of a global civil society that may function mainly on the basis of the fundamental democratic principles.

It is obvious that these two approaches have nothing in common. However, it should be noted that despite the existing differences in research approaches, political scientists generally define “globalization” as a process of intensifying and expanding international political interconnections, which has a significant influence on international politics, state sovereignty, growth intergovernmental organizations and future development of regional and global institutions of governance (Steger, 2017).

Some researchers describe “globalization” as a cultural phenomenon. The proponents of this approach believe that the outcomes of global processes include the emergence, development and adoption of new cultural forms. American researchers Cvetkovich and Kellner (1996) consider the globalized world as a factor in the destruction of existing identities and traditional lifestyles and say about the formation of new unified cultural forms. These new forms, according to the researches, are constructed on the basis of traditional, local, national, and global cultures.

At the same time, there is another point of view. It asserts the influence of globalization on the development of new cultural forms. In his work “Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization” anthropologist Appadurai (1996) stressed that globalization reduced the distance between the elites, changed the nature of relations between producers and consumers, severed the links between work and family life, blurred the boundaries between existing regions, but it did not lead to “cultural homogenization” and only contributed to the spread of cultural diversity.

It should be noted that the phenomenon of globalization has many faces and modern researches can employ different approaches to the study of this concept. In the context of our article, it is important to consider the phenomenon of globalization in education.

Globalization of Education and Transformations in the United States National System of Education

Globalization, as a complex process, has an unprecedented impact on education systems all over the world. Globalization of education, according to Spring (2014), refers to international networks, processes and institutions affecting local educational practices and policies. The scientist points out the main trends in the development of education in the context of global processes. Among them are: changes in the national educational policies (economization, corporatization, multicultural approach, and standardization of education), establishment of global educational networks, further integration of information and communication technologies in educational practice, and others.

In addition, Spring argues that modern education is influenced by global educational structures, or superstructures. One of these structures is UNESCO. The main goal of this organization is the expansion of international cooperation in the sphere of education, science and culture, contributing to the strengthening of peace and security. This organization determinates the current education agenda. The main tasks of UNESCO comprise universal access to quality education, effective education and educational policies, lifelong learning, internationalization of education.

The 2015 Incheon Declaration for Education, which embodies the new concept of education for the next 15 years, recognizes education as the driving force for sustainable development and transformation of people's lives. Moreover, it emphasizes that the efforts of all nation states should be aimed at ensuring the access to quality education (UNESCO Incheon Declaration for Education 2030, 2015). It also asserts the need for further reforms of national school systems and improvements of education standards. At the same time, the development of standards should be based on the idea that education is the fundamental to global progress; therefore, it should provide de-contextualized knowledge that allows individuals to live in conditions of constant technological renewal.

The United States has become the leader in reforming the national education system and its standardization. A number of fundamental documents were adopted in the country (“No Child Left Behind Act” (2001, 2016), “Every Student Succeeds Act” (2015), etc.) and some reforms were undertaken. So, educational reforms were aimed at the improvement of education of vulnerable groups of American population, teacher training, and access to quality education.

In addition, the country has set a course for the improvement of existing national education standards. The development of the Common Core and other education standards involves recognizing the fact that it is necessary to take into account global trends in the field of education and new learning theories. So, modern core education standards ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life. They mainly focus on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2019).

It should be pointed out that the content of education standards comprises the latest achievements of researches in the field of science and technology. The core knowledge domains of the standards include mathematics, English language, literature, natural sciences, and foreign languages. A distinctive feature of new national standards is their recommendatory nature and the possibility of flexible use. It allows states themselves to develop elective and regional components of the curricula, as well as extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. Researcher Stewart (2012) believes that the breadth of the American school curriculum is traditionally one of its strength.

Undoubtedly, educational reforms and new requirements of the standards have underpinned the transformations of approaches to the organization of the educational process and have led to rethinking of the existing teaching methods that are being actively developed in the United States today.

The Impact of Globalization on Rethinking of Teaching Methods in the United States

Globalization is known to have led to multiple and drastic changes in both theory and practice of education. American researcher Gunn (2017) stresses that the processes of globalization have produced a reconsideration of the aims of education, the content of education, the processes or methods by which it is delivered and the ways in which the outcomes are assessed.

The changes created by globalization have influenced on the process of rethinking of the existing teaching methods. In this ever changing educational reality the modern American scientists continue to develop innovative teaching and learning methods that allow teachers and students to solve effectively the problems put forward by the standards. Nowadays, there are several fundamental learning theories that give rise to the development of innovative teaching and learning methods. They include behavioral, cognitive, and constructivist learning theories. The most effective groups of teaching methods, developed in the framework of these theories, are active learning methods, interactive teaching methods, cooperative learning methods, personalized and game-based learning methods, etc. Let us briefly consider some of these teaching and learning methods.

Modern scientists argue that learning is an active process which “may be best supported by methods of instruction that involve cognitive activity” (Mayer, 2004, p.14). It allows teachers to engage students in different types of activities. The learning process in this case represents the process of completing various tasks and conceiving the tasks they are completing. Active learning methods embrace class and small group discussions, debates, games, think-pair-share activities, projects, etc.

Another group of instructional methods, which is becoming an important part of the contemporary school educational practice, includes interactive teaching methods. These methods are mainly aimed at engaging student into different forms of interaction with peers and subject materials. Interactive teaching methods involve a variety of activities and special instructional techniques. Among them are: brainstorming, group solving tasks, quizzes and test tournaments, concept mapping, etc.

Cooperative learning methods received a significant boost in the development due to the theory of cultural pluralism. This theory asserts that the representatives of all cultures are equal and large societies should maintain the cultural diversity. Cooperative learning methods allow teachers to unleash these ideas in educational practice. Cooperative learning approach focuses on organization of mixed and diverse learning groups, including students with different abilities and backgrounds. The participants of these groups study material together and support each other in different situations (Kohn, 2015). The cooperative learning methods include the jigsaw method, three-step review, numbered heads and others.

The best known group of instructional methods comprises personalized and game-based learning methods. Personalized learning approach is a student-centered model of education, according to which students do tasks that are specific to their interests and needs. Sometimes students receive home-schooling in the form of online lessons, massive online open courses, and special computer programs. Meanwhile, game-based learning methods are aimed at the involvement of students in active learning in the classroom. This group of methods focuses on games that are becoming a powerful tool for teachers today. The most popular present-day games are “Fantasy Geopolitics”, “Scratch”, “World Peace Game”, etc.

Conclusion

Globalization is a complex and ambiguous phenomenon associated with various transformations and changes. These changes affect all spheres of social life, and especially education. It is becoming more obvious today that the present-day globalization effects on the national education systems all over the world. Meanwhile, it also poses certain changes in both theory and practice of education. Nowadays, we are witnessing the increasing number of research related to rethinking of the existing teaching and learning methods in the context of globalization. This article describes the impact of globalization on rethinking of teaching methods in the United States.

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18 December 2019

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Education, educational equipment, educational technology, computer-aided learning (CAL), Study skills, learning skills, ICT

Cite this article as:

Aleinikova*, K. A. (2019). The Influence Of Globalization On Rethinking Of Teaching Methods In The USA. In & S. K. Lo (Ed.), Education Environment for the Information Age, vol 69. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 34-41). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.09.02.5