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UW College of Education Professors Edit Book on Globalization, Social Justice

December 21, 2015
woman and man sitting at a table with a book propped between them
UW College of Education faculty members Lydia Nganga and John Kambutu, both based at UW-Casper, recently edited “Social Justice Education, Globalization, and Teacher Education.” The book provides practical examples of how teacher educators are incorporating global and social justice issues into their curricula. (UW Photo)

Articulating and sharing teaching practices for building student understanding of globalization and social justice is the focus of a new book edited by two University of Wyoming College of Education faculty members.



Lydiah Nganga and John Kambutu, both based at UW-Casper, published “Social Justice Education, Globalization, and Teacher Education” as a practice-based follow-up to their 2013 volume, “Exploring Globalization Opportunities and Challenges in Social Studies: Effective Instructional Approaches.”

The first book had a more foundational goal, according to Kambutu.



“The purpose of that book was to understand the process of globalization -- what is it?” he explains. “We approached it using a theoretical lens.”

Nganga adds that the volume also “examined global education and how it should be taught in the social studies.”



The impetus for the first book emerged from questions that arose during the editing process of a special issue of Multicultural Perspectives, which focused on globalization.

“It seemed that what people were talking about was somewhat consistent with the work that Lydiah and I did in Kenya,” Kambutu says, referring to summertime service learning projects they have led in that country since 2004.

“Social Justice Education, Globalization, and Teacher Education” extends the theoretical foundation laid in the previous two works into practical examples of how teacher educators are incorporating global and social justice issues into their curricula.

 

“The main idea was to just explore what education programs are doing to prepare pre-service teachers for global and social justice education,” Nganga says of the second book’s focus. She adds that “these pre-service teachers will have the responsibility of helping young people make informed and reasoned decisions in a world that is increasingly becoming more diverse and globalized.” 



To that end, the book describes a variety of instructional approaches relative to integrating social justice and global education in teacher education courses. It also addresses how teacher educators conceptualize global education and social Justice. Nganga and Kambutu also note that this book promotes skills in collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, ethical practice and lifelong learning.



“What we received was a lot of really, really good work that helped us to understand what is happening in teacher education programs, in regard to how teacher educators are supporting pre-service teacher candidates in exploring globalization in the global and local contexts,” Nganga says. 



As with the multicultural perspectives issue and the first book, all chapters in “Social Justice Education, Globalization, and Teacher Education” were peer reviewed and accepted based on academically rigorous standards.

 

Nganga devoted the bulk of her fall 2014 sabbatical to coordinating the publication process.  



“It was a worthwhile timeout,” Nganga says of her sabbatical. “It gave me time to just concentrate on this work.” 



“Social Justice Education, Globalization, and Teacher Education” includes chapters by Kambutu and Nganga as well as UW College of Education faculty members Amy Roberts and Peter Moran.

 

“My chapter is about a project that I have done in the ‘Elementary Humanities Methods’ course,” Moran says. “Students (either individually or with a partner) create a unique kind of map called a cartogram. Cartograms are maps that integrate a set of data into the map in such a way that it changes the scale of the map.”

Moran’s students selected their own data sets and created their maps. Using the statistical information for scaling (rather than using land area for the scale, as is typical in other maps), the students used graph paper to produce their cartograms. The result is a map that often has profound distortions because of the statistical differences between places.  



“The purpose of the project is for students to research a global issue that interests them (military spending, oil reserves, hunger, etc.) and locate a data set that is related to the topic,” Moran says. “That data set is used to produce the cartogram. Students also had to interpret and analyze their data and cartogram so that they could explain the causes and effects of the global issue they chose. 

“The idea is to get students to think globally and gain some experience with a novel method of examining global issues,” he says. “The chapter features cartograms focusing on military spending, HIV prevalence and rice production.”



Regarding her contribution, Roberts says that “opportunities to teach and conduct research in diverse settings have enhanced my foundation of global patterns and understanding of the transnational flows of people, ideas, technologies, information and education.”

Her personal and professional experiences as a Fulbright scholar in Taipei, Taiwan, and, most recently, U.S. State Department fellow in Mandalay, Myanmar, enriched her commitment to internationalizing teacher education for social justice.



“My chapter, ‘Internationalizing Curricula in Teacher Education: Melding Old and New Ideas to Global Citizenship,’ is dedicated to preparing teachers with knowledge of world cultures and global issues, in tandem with commitment to social justice for promoting equity in education,” Roberts says. “The chapter details strategies and a curriculum framework for 21st century classrooms using student-centered methods -- for example, problem-based and project-based learning -- that invite learners to collaborate and engage with authentic problems within local as well as global community settings.”

 

“The chapter contribution to ‘Social Justice Education, Globalization, and Teacher Education’ reflects my stance as an international scholar dedicated to the internationalization of teacher education for social justice,” she adds. “Writing the chapter has been an opportunity as well as a challenge to transcend discourse to meaningful action, situating global understanding to inform critical engagement with theory, research and practice for effecting social justice and educational change.”

Nganga and Kambutu say they see this work as an integral project in the critical discussion of preparing 21st century learning. It is a conversation that demands citizens address and understand local and global issues as well as work collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures. 


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