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Transnational teaching experiences: an under-explored territory for transformative professional development

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Abstract:

In an increasingly global higher education environment, many universities are taking their educational services overseas. One model of overseas provision is through transnational (offshore) education. Transnational teaching challenges the prevailing understanding of an academic role at every level. Transnational teachers are expected to work in environments, climates and classrooms which are culturally very different to their own. Assumptions about university education are shaken and teachers find themselves having to return to and question the fundamentals of their teaching, learning and assessment practices. This paper argues that the experience of being a transnational teacher and working in a culture very different to one's own forces reflection which can lead to 'perspective transformation'; as such it could be a powerful professional development opportunity which should be nurtured and supported. This paper draws on the growing body of published literature on staff experiences of transnational teaching and my own experiences as a transnational teacher to support this argument. It shows that the 'novel experiences' of transnational teaching encourage content, process and premise reflection that can, with appropriate support, ultimately improve teaching practice not just in the transnational context, but also back home. Dans un environnement de l'enseignement superieur de plus en plus globalise, nombre d'universites etendent leur prestation de services educatifs outremer. L'education transnationale delocalisee (offshore education) est un de ces modeles de prestation de services outremer. L'enseignement transnational pose des defis a la comprehension dominante du role academique a tous les niveaux. Les presupposes au sujet de l'education universitaire sont remis en question et les enseignants doivent des lors revoir et remettre en question les fondements de leurs pratiques liees a l'enseignement, a l'apprentissage et a l'evaluation. Cet article defend l'idee que l'experience de devenir un enseignant transnational et d'œuvrer dans une culture qui est tres differente de la sienne force une reflexion qui peut conduire a une « transformation de perspective ». En ce sens, il pourrait s'agir d'une occasion de developpement professionnel puissante, laquelle devrait etre soutenue et encouragee. L'article repose sur un corpus de documentation en pleine croissance portant sur l'enseignement transnational ainsi que sur mes propres experiences a titre d'enseignement transnational. Il fait la demonstration que des « experiences nouvelles » de l'enseignement transnational encouragent une reflexion au sujet du contenu, du processus et des presupposes, laquelle, en fonction d'un soutien adapte, peut en fin de compte ameliorer la pratique enseignante non seulement dans le contexte transnational mais aussi a domicile.

Keywords: professional development; reflective practice; transnational teaching

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13601440902969975

Affiliations: Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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