UBC Graduate Research

Are you a global citizen? Arnold, Christine 2013-03-31

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ARE YOU A GLOBAL CITIZEN? . . .wait , what do you mean by t hat? Global citizenship is central to the “Canadian identity,” necessitating the development of a kind of citizen who “is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen” (Brigham, 2011, p. 16). To address this, the prevalence of international service learning programs (such as “Me to We”, an organization that provides youth the opportunity to travel to a developing country and take part in a service project such as building a school) has increased in secondary schools in recent years. I contend that  it is necessary to explore how secondary students understand notions of global citizenship as it relates to structural inequality in the context of  international service learning. This understanding will make possible the design of service-learning  opportunities in a way that does not reproduce the colonial subject identity of the “helper.” (1) What are secondary students’ understandings of global citizenship, particularly in  relation to structural inequality, before, during, and after participating in an  international service-learning program? (2) What perspectives of global citizenship are evident in the curriculum and practices  of these programs? (3) How do and how could these programs contribute to the creation of critical  consciousness (Freire, 1970) and the development of critical global citizenship. RESEARCH QUESTIONS Using a case study methodology, I will follow one cohort of 16 students and two teach- ers through a 3-week experience on a service program building a school in Kenya, facilitated by Me to We. I will undertake three data collection practices: (1) A discourse analysis of the Me to We curricular material assessing its conceptualiztion  of global citizenship and its orientation to structural inequality; (2) Four surveys to be completed by students and teachers, disseminated before, during,  immediately following, and two months after the program which will explore the  students’ and teachers’ feelings, attitudes, beliefs and expectations about their  experience; and (3) Semi-structured interviews with six students and two teachers conducted upon their  return to explore any changes in participants’ worldviews or perspectives that have  taken place as a result of their experience abroad, and how they see this translating  into social action. METHODOLOGY REFERENCES Brigham, M. (2011). Creating a global citizen and assessing outcomes. Journal of Global  Citizenship  &  Equity Education, 1(1). Cermak, M. J., Christiansen, J. A., Finnegan, A. C., Gleeson, A. P., White, S. K., & Leach, D. K.  (2011). Displacing activism? The Impact of international service trips on  understandings of social change. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 6(5),  5–19. Heron, B. (2007). Desire for Development: Whiteness, Gender, and the Helping Imperative.  Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Hironimus-Wendt, R. J., & Lovell-Troy, L. (1999). Grounding service learning in social  theory. Teaching Sociology, 27(October), 360–372. Kahne, J., & Westheimer, J. (1996). In the service of what? The Politics of service learning.  Phi Delta Kappa International, 77(9), 592–599. Kiely, R. (2004). A Chameleon with a complex : Searching for transformation in  international service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning,  10(2), 5–20. Marullo, S., & Edwards, B. (2000). From charity to justice: The Potential of  university-community collaboration for social change. American Behavioral Scientist,  45(5), 895–912. HYPOTHESIS I believe there is great value to high school students engaging in learning internationally; however, I question whether notions of global citizenship as they are put forth in service learning programs do enough to challenge students to deeply understand structural inequality, or give them the tools to take social action beyond the scope of the program they are participating in. This is problematic given the social justice orientation claimed by Me to We. SIGNIFICANCE Secondary students have been largely ignored in the scholarship on international service learning to date. Considering the prevalence of these programs at the second- ary, it is necessary to focus research there. I start with conceptions of global citizenship as an opportunity to lay  the foundation for my doctoral work which will seek to develop an anti-colonial model for service-learning at the secondary level. BACKGROUND Chrissie Arnold • MA , Educational Studies • cmarnold@alumni.ubc.ca


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