Internationalizing The Us Secondary And University Curriculum Education Essay

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The terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001 represent a watershed event that has changed the ways that the United States relates to the world. To protect ourselves and strengthen our borders, we established the Department of Homeland Security, which was the largest reorganization of the government since the National Security Act of 1947. Fortunately, most U.S. universities took the opposite approach; they placed a new emphasis on "internationalization" and announced numerous initiatives to connect with the world, and students responded very positively. Knight (2003) says that Internationalisation has become one of the most ubiquitous terms in 21st century systems of higher education. While the term internationalisation" means different things to different people in different contexts the current global enthusiasm for internationalising higher education has stemmed from a number of factors. Among the Anglo-Saxon countries, economic imperatives have been of particular significance; for countries such the UK and Australia the dominant focus has often been on fee income, for the US and Canada it has perhaps been more focused on talent acquisition. In contrast, in other HE systems such as Japan and China, and indeed other parts of Europe the driving force has been that of enhancing the process of knowledge creation and exchange in its broadest sense - including understanding other university systems. These countries are not afraid to borrow from functioning systems to enhance and globalize their curriculum (Akiyoshi, 2009).

It is important to remember that international universities are not altogether a new phenomenon. There have been institutions of higher learning which were international in their academic and operational aspects as far back as 5th century BC in India (Thakshila); students travelled from Japan to study in China in the 7th and 8th centuries CE and the great medieval universities of Europe and the Arab world welcomed scholars irrespective of nationality Cortazzi and Jin (2006). However, the major difference between the ancient idea of international education and the current trend for internationalising higher education lies within their main objectives. The universities today have re-imagined the purpose of internationalisation to address the changing social, civic and global trends.

Apart from the economic aspect of internationalisation, universities in the 21st century have begun to pro-actively address the geo-political and sociocultural issues that have sprung up as a result of and as a response to internationalisation of higher education. The process and the notion of internationalisation has become a strategic component of a broad range of university activity from the specification of mission statements, through the responsibilities of senior management, curriculum development, cross-border partnerships, class room teaching and learning, even to the ways in which the university buildings are constructed, as is perhaps most neatly illustrated on the new campus for Shanghai International Studies University with its diverse architectural styles reflecting the countries that students study and the languages they learn (Rizvi and Walsh(1998).

Barnett (2000) says that the idea of internationalisation and the numerous processes and operations that it entails seems to add to the already super-complex nature while the idea of internationalisation has become indispensible in higher education discourse world-wide, the meanings and actions which construct this particular notion remain largely vague. Turner and Robson (2008) opine that the connection between higher education and internationalisation can be analyzed in multiple ways. The meaning and purpose of internationalisation may be defined in contradictory ways, even across different departments within the same university. This issue of multiple meanings and complexity becomes of particular significance when considering the meaning of internationalisation of the university curriculum (Schoorman (2000). An increasing volume of literature clearly portrays both the significance of an international curriculum and the difficulty of coming to any consensus about the purpose, meanings and practices of internationalising the higher education curriculum. Individual higher education institutions across the world have started researching into the issues and problems of internationalisation of their curricula typically with a normative orientation and have come up with longs lists of 'do's and 'don'ts' to guide those involved in the process. However, it seems that the research includes the insights which transcend the over-used and content-related set of words such as 'intercultural competence', 'global skills', 'international dimension' 'cross-border education' or 'addressing cultural diversity' in order to provide the knowledge and understanding associated with putting such sublime notions into practice (Welikala (2006).

Kehm and Teichler (2010) drawing on existing research, the processes of offering an international curriculum within teaching/learning contexts highlights the importance of a broad perspective of the concept of curriculum-and one that stretches beyond just content. It also highlights the importance of a move away from the narrow view of internationalized curricula as being concerned with the way in which learning is delivered to international students and focus instead on how universities should be offering an international learning experience to all students and staff.

U.S. schools must put a concerted effort to move away from a narrow focus in order to include international students and provide international experiences to all university staff and students so that they will perform successfully professionally, economically and socially within diverse contexts. The 21st century University faces numerous challenges at local, regional and global levels mass migration, environmental and geographical issues, super-diversity of the student cohorts, as well as the knowledge paradigms, the information overload, and global interconnectedness. Barnett (2000) is of the opinion that problems and issues in the current socio-economic and geo-political aspects demand a comprehensive and multi-perspective understanding about the world, life and work. As the most visible and significant site of knowledge creation, the university has a social responsibility to equip the members of the society with necessary competencies, knowledge, understandings, and new skills so that they can constantly negotiate the changing nature of work, the labour force, information technologies and cultural identities of people. U.S. has become so diverse and it is becoming more difficulty to articulate what a main stream culture looks like. In this advent, going global has profound advantage in the world.

Designing an Internationalized curriculum is a strategic, coordinated process that seeks to align and integrate policies, programs, and initiatives to position colleges and universities as more globally oriented and internationally connected institutions. Designing good curriculum starts with identifying the essential Understandings -- the concepts, principles, or big ideas of the unit topic. Understandings that are meaningful, intriguing, and thought provoking allow students to see the relevance of what they are studying to other subjects and to the world around them. Student mobility, which refers both to the outward flow of domestic students to other countries to engage in an educational abroad experience and the inward flow of international students to study at U.S. campuses, is a focus of internationalization efforts.

In internationalization, the university offers more opportunities for students to use and practice their second languages in lively contexts through the virtual "Excellence English Self-Learning Center" and the "English Corner" and "International Corner." With international faculty and student exchanges, the university further creates opportunities for all its members to advance their cross-cultural learning experiences, which ultimately helps to broaden their vision of the globalized world (De Vita, 2001).

Higher education leaders are in a continuous struggle to internationalize their institutions for economic, cultural, socio-political and academic rationales (de Wit, 2002). The move towards the knowledge society, the economic recession, growing geo-political interdependence of nations, economies and societies and the growth of mass migration have all resulted in changes to the ways in which universities are managed and organized and changes to the work practices of academics. Finance-driven concerns, intense competition for students and resources, and the changing role of universities at local and regional level have encouraged the universities to find alternative ways and means of continuing to perform as successful 'world class' universities. In the context of all of this change, internationalisation of the university curriculum/pedagogy is increasingly an idea whose time has come (Caruana 2007).

Bates (2005) elaborates a more inclusive idea of internationalization of curriculum. He argues that: "only by crossing boundaries into cultures and subjectivities beyond our experience; only by committing ourselves to the defence of society and personality; only by the redress of exclusion and disadvantage on a global scale can we truly imagine a global curriculum". (Bates, 2005: 107-108). He discusses three main considerations that an international curriculum should take into account. First, he points out that such curricula are innately hegemonic (Bernstein, 1995 in Bates, 2005). They must seek to give social justice to people who are in the margins of societies. In his terms, those who live in the privileged parts of the world should take some responsibility for the educational disadvantages of those living in the third world. Third, the internationalisation of curricula requires a commitment to freedom and inclusion, and 'our recognition of the need to both secure society and personality from the ravages of global market'. He refers to the ideas put forward by Amartya Sen in his capability approach (1999 in Bates, 2005) and argues that Sen's concerns about the development of economic capabilities need to be elaborated on in relation to the development of personal freedom and individual agency as well as the institutional structures. Haigh (2009:271) holds that 'real internationalisation of the curriculum requires that courses may be constructed on multicultural foundations'. This perspective is reflected and elaborated on in the interpretation given by Oxford Brookes University's internationalisation strategy (2007)

Lawton (1983) maintains that the concept of curriculum can be placed on a continuum. One end would comprise a narrow definition in terms of specific taught content while the other would encompass a broader interpretation which includes the whole of the educational experience. This latter interpretation includes not only what is taught but how and why and in what socio-cultural and ideological contexts. This paper takes Lawton's broader and holistic view of curricula. According to Stobie (2007) the concept of curriculum refers to a diversity of elements which can be separately identified as contributing to the learning process. This situation is largely true of the higher education curriculum in a range of countries worldwide and it is this broad based perspective that has tended to underpin definitions of an international curriculum.

Clifford (2009) is convinced that the university curriculum can contribute an environment and ethos where cross-cultural capabilities and global perspectives are valued and respected and its graduates are thus equipped to live and work in the global arena. These viewpoints reflect the complex landscape of meanings and actions associated with curriculum internationalisation at the level of practice. If we truly aspire to have a world-class education that connects and recognizes that what we do affects other humans in the world, we must engage with the world. The challenges that face the world today-from global poverty and climate change to financial systems and conflict-require globally-minded solutions (O'Meara, 1997).

The U.S. position as the sole remaining superpower in the post-Cold War era lends particular poignancy to the need. There is a pressing need for civic engagement and participation, both domestic and international, by citizens of the premier global power. U.S. universities can provide a leadership role in promoting internationalization of the secondary school curriculum and serve as a role model in this regard for other countries. The problem of inadequate internationalization of the secondary school curriculum has several dimensions, one political and the other technological. There is resistance to significant changes in the existing curriculum, including by administrators as well as by already overloaded high school teachers reluctant to retool to include teaching of global affairs in their classes. Therefore, the internationalization of curriculum takes on an academic structure that allows for secondary education to be completed in 6 years and four-year undergraduate programs will be offered at local universities. Aligning with major education systems of the world, this university curriculum will better facilitate international trends and needs. Students who have completed 6-year secondary education may apply for the undergraduate programs offered at universities at the local level. This will certainly allow smoother pathways and higher flexibility for overseas applicants. The influx of international students to U.S. universities calls for new recruiting strategies that will ensure an easy transition to U.S. culture and an opportunity for the students local and international to engage in meaningful relationship.


In an era of unprecedented worldwide changes, designing an internationalized curriculum is hard work. To put together an academic experience that has an appeal and is relevant to all students in the world takes a lot of thought, study and reflection. The main purpose of such a move is to equip students for future challenges. An internationalized curriculum will ensure that all students are exposed to international perspectives and build global competence.  Globally-focused student learning outcomes must articulate specific knowledge and skills to be addressed in all courses and programs. Student learning is a critical element of internationalization.

An internationalized curriculum must ensure that all students are exposed to international perspectives and build global competence.  According to De Vita (2001) a curriculum design calls for a curriculum with an international orientation in content and, aimed at preparing students for performing professionally and socially in an international and multicultural context designed for domestic and foreign students. Globally-focused student learning outcomes articulate specific knowledge and skills necessary for global understanding. Student learning is a critical element of internationalization. Each of the highly performing countries, overseas studies is a core component in the development of their academic experience for students . Knight (2008) the process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions or delivery of higher education at the institutional and national levels internationalization is changing the world of higher education. U.S. must out grow its tendency for isolation and begin to seriously gain a competitive stance in the world. The whole world is within its USA boarders and this presents an opportunity like never known before for the U.S. to make a significant contribution in this global phenomenon.


The proposed curriculum must contain international content, curricula in which the content is broadened by internationally comparative approaches , curricula which prepares students for defined international professions , curricula in foreign languages or linguistics which explicitly address cross-cultural communication issues and provides training in intercultural skills, Interdisciplinary courses such as area or regional studies that cover more than one country, curricula leading to internationally recognised professional qualifications, curricula leading to joint or combined degrees, curricula of which compulsory part are offered at or by offshore institutions by local lecturers (including exchange and study abroad programs), curricula in which the content is specifically designed for international students and promotes a collabative engagement with local students. Fashioned after the IB program, the Unniversities can ensure that the local students take advantage of the presence of international students to foster internationalism. Different approaches may be required to address the particular issues each student brings to your class room but there are some strategies that are useful in all scenarios. These include: allowing students to participate in self-reflective exercises so they may become aware their learning preferences, personality types, preferred team roles etc, development of online quizzes that reinforce important points and concepts in topics that are available for students to complete in their own time and at their own pace, including a range of different learning, teaching and assessment approaches and providing students with options to choose which they feel suit them best, providing opportunities for students to reflect on their own experiences and consider how these experiences influence the way they understand; and scaffolding academic skills, learning processes and assessments ( Kift, 2009).