Introduction: teaching across borders.

Author:Dittmar, Linda
 
FREE EXCERPT

Most of what we publish in Radical Teacher concerns teaching in the United States and speaks to the working lives of most of our readers and their students. However, articles about teaching in other countries have also occasionally appeared in our pages. These included pieces on teaching in Brazil, Kurdistan, Palestine, Israel, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and more. These were all unsolicited submissions that reached us sporadically and got published over time. Even Radical Teacher's two clusters on "Globalism," one on "Post-colonialism," another on "Immigration," and two more on "Teaching in a Time of War," for all their geo-political and trans-national implications, did not feature centrally the challenges of teaching outside of one's familiar borders.

And yet several Board members and many other radical educators have taught in other countries over time, often in politically charged contexts of conflict and rapid social transformations. Of course the motives for these journeys always include a desire to both learn from and contribute to the countries that have hosted us. But we have other goals as well. Much of the information Americans hear at home about "us" and the rest of the world puts the United States at the epicenter of all important global anxieties and events. As internationalists, those of us who were born and brought up here seek to see both the United States from other vantage points and to see other societies and their problems from the inside out. We want to learn from progressive teachers and others about their concerns and their struggles, the local ones as well as the ones they see beyond their borders. We want to get outside the American bubble.

Thus there is a need for multiple discussions around the challenges of teaching abroad. Beyond the far-flung teaching and lecturing sponsored by U.S. agencies such as the State Department's Fulbright Program, there are assorted other opportunities, including government-sponsored invitations by foreign institutions and the mushrooming of American universities' overseas extensions meant to serve local populations, perhaps most famously those in the Gulf States.

In tandem with this exporting of American (and Western) education is an opposite flow of faculty and teachers migrating transnationally into the United States and elsewhere. Unlike many Americans' short term "tours of duty" abroad, this migration is brokered individually, case by case, and tends to be less...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP