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Rita Divéki Department of English Language Pedagogy, Faculty of Humanities, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

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Abstract

In today's world, education needs to empower students to become active global citizens who are prepared for 21st century challenges and who can solve local and global problems, thus, who are globally competent. To affect lasting change in our education systems, it seems urgent to incorporate the global perspective as early as in initial teacher training, and nurture globally competent teacher trainees. As essentially teachers decide on what and how they teach, it is worth examining how they develop the knowledge dimension of global competence, i.e., what content they teach for global competence development (GCD). The main aim of this study, involving five university tutors involved in EFL teacher training in Hungary, is to inquire into what topics they deal with for GCD, what attitudes they have towards dealing with these topics, and how they decide on the content in their first-year language development courses. Findings suggest that they deal with a variety of global and intercultural issues in their lessons; however, they tend to avoid certain local ones. Overall, they have a reasonably positive attitude towards these issues. Finally, the participants predominantly consider the connection to the syllabus, students' language level, and personal and student interest important when deciding on what topics to deal with in class.

Abstract

In today's world, education needs to empower students to become active global citizens who are prepared for 21st century challenges and who can solve local and global problems, thus, who are globally competent. To affect lasting change in our education systems, it seems urgent to incorporate the global perspective as early as in initial teacher training, and nurture globally competent teacher trainees. As essentially teachers decide on what and how they teach, it is worth examining how they develop the knowledge dimension of global competence, i.e., what content they teach for global competence development (GCD). The main aim of this study, involving five university tutors involved in EFL teacher training in Hungary, is to inquire into what topics they deal with for GCD, what attitudes they have towards dealing with these topics, and how they decide on the content in their first-year language development courses. Findings suggest that they deal with a variety of global and intercultural issues in their lessons; however, they tend to avoid certain local ones. Overall, they have a reasonably positive attitude towards these issues. Finally, the participants predominantly consider the connection to the syllabus, students' language level, and personal and student interest important when deciding on what topics to deal with in class.

Introduction

In today's ever-changing and highly globalized world, empowering students to become active global citizens who are prepared for the challenges of the 21st century and who can solve local and global problems must become one of the priorities of educational policy makers (OECD, 2020). The concept of global competence seeks to find answers to this new demand as “it includes the acquisition of in-depth knowledge and understanding of global and intercultural issues, the ability to learn from and live with people from diverse backgrounds, and the attitudes and values necessary to interact respectfully with others” (OECD, 2020, p. 5). Developing students' global competence took on a new urgency in 2018, when OECD PISA started to assess it all over the world (OECD, 2017).

Global education has gained considerable importance in English language teaching in the past three decades (Cates, 2002), as several authors have been promoting the inclusion of real-world issues in the language classroom to provide students with meaningful content while also developing their language skills (Cates, 2002; Gimenez & Sheehan, 2008; Sampedro & Hillyard, 2004). As the English classroom can be considered an “open-content space” (UNESCO-MGIEP, 2017), bringing in global, local and intercultural issues to nurture students' global competence and at the same time, to develop their overall language skills seems not only feasible but also justified.

In order to affect lasting change in our education systems, it seems imperative to incorporate the global perspective in initial teacher training so that novice teachers become more likely to implement the global dimension in their practice in the future (Guo, 2014; Longview Foundation, 2008). As teachers are often seen as educational gatekeepers, who decide on the content and the quality of the learning experience, it is worth examining how they develop the knowledge dimension of global competence, i.e., what content they teach for global competence development (GCD). In the Hungarian context, there is a dearth of research in the field of global education in ELT, so this study is supposed to fill part of the gap. The main aim of this study, involving five university tutors involved in EFL teacher training in Hungary, is to reveal what topics they deal with for global competence development (GCD), what attitude they have towards dealing with these topics, and how they decide on the content in their first-year language development courses.

Literature review

To provide sufficient background to the research project, the literature review discusses what the concepts global education and global competence entail, it presents what kind of global content could be discussed in EFL classes, and it details the importance of integrating the global perspective in initial teacher training. Finally, it outlines the rationale for the study, drawing on literature from the international and Hungarian contexts as well.

Global education and global competence development

The umbrella term global education (GE) has been widely used in the past 30 years to refer to an educational paradigm with the aim of nurturing students to become responsible citizens who can contribute to the creation of a better world. In the 2010s, the term global citizenship education (GCED) came to the forefront, meaning the way “education can develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes learners need for securing a world which is more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable” (UNESCO, 2014, p. 9). Schools all over the world have started to integrate an international perspective (Byram, 2008; Longview Foundation, 2008; UNESCO, 2015) and the global component is present in the core curricula of several countries (UNESCO, 2015). The importance of GCED was further emphasized in the Incheon Declaration on Education 2030 (UNESCO, 2016), which stated that quality education in the 21st century should signify more than teaching basic literacy and numeracy skills, and that global citizenship education should be at the heart of all educational endeavors. As a result, quality education became Goal 4 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to

develop the skills, values and attitudes that enable citizens to lead healthy and fulfilled lives, make informed decisions, and respond to local and global challenges through education for sustainable development and global citizenship education, as well as human rights education and training in order to achieve the United Nations Education 2030 agenda (UNESCO, 2018, p. 1).

The significance of GCED is also supported by the fact that the OECD PISA started to assess students' global competence in 2018. By their definition, global competence

is the capacity to examine local, global and intercultural issues, to understand and appreciate the perspectives and world views of others, to engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures, and to act for collective well-being and sustainable development (OECD, 2017, p. 7).

Consequently, a globally competent student has knowledge about the world and other cultures, has the skills to understand the world and take action, has the attitudes of openness, respect for people from different backgrounds and global mindedness, and strives for values, such as human dignity and diversity (OECD, 2017).

Several factors have contributed to the importance of the incorporation of the global dimension in ELT (Cates, 2002; Gimenez & Sheehan, 2008, Sampedro & Hillyard, 2004). Firstly, English has gained considerable importance in our increasingly interconnected and globalized world, as there is greater contact between people from various parts of the globe (Byram, 2008; Modern Language Association, 2007). As a result, the importance of teaching the language now lies in preparing students for intercultural dialogue (Byram, 2008; Gimenez & Sheehan, 2008). Secondly, in order to prepare learners for an unpredictable job market, teachers now also have to develop their students' 21st century skills (NEA, n.d.; World Economic Forum, 2015). According to the categorization of Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), 21st century skills include three different types of subskills: learning and innovation; information, media and technology skills and life and career skills (Partnership for 21st Century Learning, n.d.). The P21 Framework highlights that teaching these skills should be integrated into key subjects (e.g., Language Arts, World Languages, Mathematics, Science, History) together with 21st century interdisciplinary themes (e.g., global awareness, environmental literacy, health literacy). Therefore, these skills can be developed during English lessons while students also work on their four basic language skills. Thirdly, apart from becoming productive workforces, students also need to be prepared to be active citizens, who will be able to react to 21st century challenges (World Economic Forum, 2020), and who will be able to navigate in this increasingly complex world, characterized by radicalization, climate change, increased inequalities, and disinformation. Therefore, there is an understandable demand in education to address these difficult issues in a sheltered environment, under the guidance of teachers, and to empower young people to react to them. According to UNESCO MGIEP (2017), the language lesson is an “open-content space” (p.158), allowing teachers to bring in real-world issues and develop the above-mentioned skills. Therefore, the EFL classroom could be a suitable place for the development of students' global competence.

The global content in the EFL class

A globally competent student first needs to understand the world by perceiving its interconnectedness and by being familiar with the pressing issues of our time in order to be able to then face these problems and act to make positive change (Mansilla & Jackson, 2011). To understand the world, one needs both disciplinary knowledge (e.g., World Languages, History, Biology, Geography, Literature, The Arts) and interdisciplinary knowledge (e.g., environmental sustainability, population growth, economic development, global conflict and cooperation, health and human development, human rights, cultural identity, and diversity) (Mansilla & Jackson, 2011). Educators can also develop the knowledge dimension of global competence in their students while teaching English as a foreign language. As it was argued in the previous section, interdisciplinary themes can be successfully integrated into English language teaching, by discussing global, local, and intercultural issues in the classroom.

The knowledge dimension of global competence comprises three main elements. First, it entails the knowledge of global issues. There is no universally accepted definition of what a global issue is, but it can be understood as a problem “that affect[s] all individuals regardless of their nation or social group” (OECD, 2017, p. 12). Second, it includes the knowledge of local issues. OECD PISA (2017) outlines that local issues are also global issues, as “they are global in their reach, but local communities experience them in different ways” (p. 12). The popular phrase “think globally, act locally”, urging people to consider the present and the future of the entire planet and to take action in their immediate environment, also emphasizes the interconnectedness of the local and the global. The third element of the knowledge dimension is the knowledge of intercultural issues, “which arise from the interaction between people of different cultural backgrounds” (OECD, 2017, p. 12). As some of the global issues emerge when “ecological or socio-economic interests cross borders” (p. 12), intercultural issues can be seen either as by-products or as triggers of global issues.

Most of the above-mentioned topics are likely to be controversial issues, as they have a “political, social and personal impact and arouse feeling and/or deal with questions of value or belief” (Oxfam, 2018, p. 2). They tend to be complex and complicated, with no easy answers and people usually hold strong opinions about them (Oxfam, 2018). As some controversial topics have the potential to divide societies and cause conflicts between people, it is questionable whether they should be treated in the language lesson at all. This is partly why controversial questions can be rarely found in coursebooks: as it was suggested by Gray (2002), coursebook writers try to steer away from including the so-called PARSNIP topics (i.e., politics, alcohol, religion, sex, narcotics, isms, and pork) in their publications, which might be regarded inappropriate in some cultures, in order not to hinder the widespread publication of their work.

Although there are many local, global, and intercultural issues that can be introduced to students, there have been only some successful attempts to systematize these issues into a coherent sequence of lessons and learning materials. There are, however, some recommendations regarding the thematic areas teachers could focus on in the context of GCED. According to the PISA (2017) classification, the four key domains of knowledge include (a) culture and intercultural issues, (b) socio-economic development and interdependence, (c) environmental sustainability, and (d) institutions that support peaceful relationships between people. This classification has some overlaps with the one proposed by Tawil (2013). The key thematic areas he recommends for consideration include (a) human rights issues, (b) environmental issues, (c) issues of social and economic justice, and (d) intercultural issues. It seems clear from the lists above that teachers have a great variety of topics to choose from and by bringing in global content into the classroom, they can contribute to “building the foundations for students' understanding of the world” (Mansilla & Jackson, 2011, p. 11).

The global content in teacher training

In order to be able to equip students with the above-mentioned knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, teachers also need to become globally competent (Longview Foundation, 2008; Mansilla & Jackson, 2011). This entails developing teachers

  1. knowledge of the international dimensions of their subject matter and a range of global issues;

  2. pedagogical skills to teach their students to analyze primary sources from around the world, appreciate multiple points of view, and recognize stereotyping; and

  3. commitment to assisting students to become responsible citizens both of the world and of their own communities (Guo, 2014; Longview Foundation, 2008).

There seems to be an agreement among scholars that it is important to instill GCED in teacher training in order to educate trainees who will, in turn, educate globally competent students (Bauermeister & Diefenbacher, 2015; Guo, 2014; Longview Foundation, 2008; Merryfield, 2000). As Guo (2014) puts it, “it is not only desirable but also critical that all teacher education programs infuse global perspectives and strategies and develop teachers' professional competencies to educate for global citizenship as a way to achieve transformative learning in various educational settings” (p. 17). Perhaps somewhat optimistically, Bauermeister and Diefenbacher posit (2015) that “for every pre-service teacher who knows how and why to teach sustainability, the world will gain thousands of citizens with the same knowledge and skills” (p. 326). Nevertheless, as Estellés and Fischman (2021) point out, it is important to be aware of the “romanticized perspectives” of GCED as it is idealistic to assume that “pre-service teachers will be willing to develop an ideal GCE in their classes by being aware of global issues” (p. 9). Indeed, the route to successful implementation might be long, but by showing novice teachers examples of successful incorporation of global issues and teaching them how to deal with them effectively, trainees can gain more confidence and they might think of infusing their lessons with global topics, at least, as an option.

The rationale for the study

The Hungarian Government accepted the NEFE strategy (International Development Strategy) in 2015, complying with the Sustainable Development Goals (Government of Hungary, 2015), in which they committed to the inclusion of Global Citizenship Education at all levels of the Hungarian educational system (HAND, 2016). There seems to be “no accredited formal global educational curriculum in any level yet” (CONCORD, 2018, p.72) but it is reported that the “work is ongoing regarding the integration of GE into the national curriculum at primary and secondary level” (p. 72). There is hardly any data about what is happening at tertiary level.

Although, the school should be the place where students are prepared to become active democratic citizens, the Hungarian school culture seems to be dominated by the misconception that politics should be banned from schools (Hunyadi & Wessenauer, 2016). As a result, many students do not have the opportunity to discuss current public issues or social problems under the guidance of their teachers (Hunyadi & Wessenauer, 2016). The negative consequences of the taboo of politics are quite apparent: based on several studies, it seems that Hungarian students are apathetic and disillusioned with politics, which is manifested in their lack of interest and participation in public affairs (Gáti, 2010; Integrity Lab, 2016). The recent PISA study (OECD, 2020) on students' global competence reinforces the fact that there is still much to achieve in the incorporation of the global dimension: Hungary scored low in examining issues of global, local and intercultural significance, and significantly lower than the OECD average, when it comes to students' attitudes towards immigrants and to agency regarding global issues (e.g., taking action for collective well-being and sustainable development).

Based on these results, it seems that the incorporation of the global perspective is yet to deliver successful results in secondary education, so it may be valuable to gain insight into what is happening in tertiary education, most specifically in teacher training when it comes to integrating global issues. In 2012, Hain and Nguyen Luu (Hain & Nguyen Luu, 2012) set out to examine the presence of the global education approach in teacher training in Hungary. They interviewed university tutors teaching at Hungarian teacher training centers and also conducted a questionnaire study with 205 university students in these programs. Although most of the university students said that global education is present in their teacher training, only some of them claimed that they had dealt with current public affairs in their classes. They felt they were the most informed about the following topics: gender equality, climate change, environmental awareness, conscious consumption and changing perspectives. By contrast, one of the university tutors stated that the global perspective is completely missing from the training and outcome requirements (KKK in Hungarian) of teacher trainees and if something is not there, they do not attach any importance to it in the teacher training program. Another tutor claimed that “global education is not part of mainstream pedagogical thinking” (p. 21), which manifested in the fact that university students did not even know what they were talking about when they were asked about it.

University teacher trainers also need to be globally competent, in order to nurture globally competent teacher trainees (Longview Foundation, 2008), which may manifest in their choice of topics and the example they set for their students. Unfortunately, there are not many studies from EFL teacher training contexts, and the existing ones mostly focus on EFL teacher trainee's attitudes towards global topics in their courses (Angelini, García-Carbonell, & Watts, 2014; Gürsoy & Saglam, 2011; Rass, 2020; Rodríguez, 2015). From the teacher trainers' perspective, the existing literature on the incorporation of the global perspective in teacher training institutions mostly concentrates on good practices (Cossu & Brun, 2020; Holló, 2015) or on university tutors' understanding of global education (Divéki, 2020; Lourenço, 2018). However, it is yet to be explored how teachers develop the knowledge component of global competence in their EFL teacher training courses and this study aims to fill in this gap: This paper sets out to examine five teacher trainers' views on global competence development in EFL teacher training. More specifically, it aims to explore what topics they deal with for global competence development, what attitudes they have towards dealing with such issues and what influences them to deal with such issues in their courses.

Research questions

The study seeks to answer the following overarching research question and its sub questions:

How do university tutors in EFL teacher training in Hungary develop the knowledge dimension of global competence in their students?

What topics do university tutors in EFL teacher training deal with for global competence development?

What attitudes do university EFL teacher trainers in Hungary have towards dealing with local, global, and intercultural issues?

What influences university tutors in EFL teacher training in Hungary in dealing with local, global, and intercultural issues?

Research design

The following section comprises the detailed description of the setting and the participants of the study. Then, the methods of data collection and analysis are elaborated. In the end, it addresses the steps taken to meet the quality criteria of qualitative studies.

Setting

In Hungary, students envisaging becoming English as foreign language teachers have to enroll in an undivided teacher training program offered by one of ten universities specializing in teacher training (Felvi). At the beginning of their studies, EFL teacher trainees take some introductory English courses together with students majoring in English. The name of the degree they receive upon completing the five- or six-year-long training (depending on whether they choose the primary or secondary education track) is teacher of English language and culture. The last part of the program is one-year-long teaching practice, where trainees are required to teach both of their two subjects in a state school, under the guidance of a mentor teacher.

Participants

The participants of the study were selected using purposive sampling strategies. As one of the aims of the study was to reveal how Hungarian teacher trainers deal with global content, five tutors from Hungarian teacher training institutions were identified and asked to participate in the study. Another criterion for their selection was the fact that they all taught language practice courses to first-year university students (who are usually between 18 and 20 years old), a cohort of students who will be able to vote in the next general election in Hungary. As one of the main aims of global competence development is to nurture active and responsible citizens, it seemed logical to inquire about the topics students deal with in their lessons around the time they become eligible to vote.

Maximum variation sampling was used in order to ensure the greatest variety of participants. Apart from the exploration of the variety of responses, as Dörnyei (2008) suggests, the great benefit of this procedure is that it highlights the common features and, in this way, any pattern the researcher finds might be assumed to be “reasonably stable” in the given population (p.128). What the participants had in common was that they all taught courses related to the language development of first-year students, such as general language practice, writing skills or presentation techniques.

Five participants, two males and three females, were asked to participate in this study, representing different age groups and having different lengths of teaching experience, ranging from 3.5 to 35 years. Three of the participants had considerable professional and personal experience abroad, one participant had some experience and one had none. Two participants taught in the capital, Budapest, and the other three participants taught in three teacher training universities in the countryside, in Eger, Szeged and Pécs. All the participants were core members at the departments where they taught. They all received a pseudonym and a code, which will be used with the quotes and themes in the Results and Discussion section (together with the page number of the transcript where the quote appeared). The interviewees' data can be seen below, in Table 1.

Table 1.

The interviewee's profiles

Pseudonym and code University Teaching experience Courses taught Experience abroad
Ulrich (U) Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest) 26 years Language Practice (1st year)

Intercultural communication
Born in Germany

Has been living in Hungary for more than 20 years
Iván (I) Pázmány Péter Catholic University (Budapest) 5 years Language Practice (1st and 2 nd year)

ICT in ELT
No experience abroad
Kristóf (K) University of Pécs 3.5 years Language Practice (Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing), Oral presentation skills, CLIL, Instructed SLA Lived abroad for a shorter time
Magda (M) University of Szeged 26 years Translation techniques, Introduction to Applied Linguistics, Use of English, LP -Writing practice, Individual differences Lived and studied in London, Vienna, and Munich
Ráhel (R) Eszterházi Károly University (Eger) 35 years Language practice – Presentation skills, Academic Writing, Speaking Skills and Writing Skills Spent a year in the Soviet Union and 13 years in the USA

Methods of data collection

To tap into how teacher trainers develop the knowledge dimension of GCD, semi-structured interviews were conducted. The languages of the interviews were Hungarian and English, as in one case the interviewee and the interviewer did not share the same mother tongue and in one case, the participant felt more comfortable using English. The instrument was designed for collecting data for two different research projects: the present one and one focusing on teacher trainers' views on GCD and their perceived role in GCD; thus, only half of the interview schedule was used to gather data for the present study. The validation of the interview guide took place in the Spring of 2019, the detailed description of which can be found in the author's previous article (Divéki, 2020).

During the interviews, as a warm-up, the tutors had to think about their first-year language development courses in general and state why they like teaching these courses and how they design them. In the next block, they had to enumerate the topics they usually like and dislike dealing with in general and then, they were asked to focus on what global, local, and intercultural topics they like to and do not like to deal with in their courses. Also, in this section, they had to talk about whether they have any taboo topics in their lessons. The next part of the interview aimed to reveal their attitudes towards dealing with global content in their classes, so the tutors were asked about their feelings about it, the frequency of its inclusion and the importance they attribute to it. Finally, in order to reveal what influences their decision to bring global, local and intercultural issues to class, they were asked what they take into consideration when selecting the topics to include and what might prevent them from bringing specific issues to class. The interview guide used to inquire about these topics can be found in Appendix A.

Procedures of data collection and analysis

The interviews took place face to face or online, depending on the place of residence of the participants: in the case of the participants from Budapest, they took place in the tutors' offices, and in the case of the participants from the countryside, they took place online, using video conferencing tools (Skype, Zoom and Google Meet), between March 2019 and October 2020. The interviews lasted between 58 and 87 minutes and they were audio-recorded with two mobile devices and the recording function of the video conferencing platforms after the participants' consent was obtained.

The interview data were transcribed right after the interviews. After the preparation of the transcripts, the initial coding of the data began by reading the scripts carefully and then labelling and commenting on the script. Using the constant comparative method, “designed to identify themes and patterns in qualitative data” (Maykut & Morehouse, 1994, p. 159), the data were broken down into meaningful units and coded into categories. Each new unit of meaning was then subjected to analysis, compared to the other meaningful chunks and then, grouped with other units of meaning. If there was no already existing similar unit, a new category was formed (Maykut & Morehouse, 1994).

The author went into great lengths to ensure that the study would meet the quality criteria of qualitative studies. The credibility of the study was established by using member checking; the transcripts were sent back to the participants to give them the opportunity to check and correct what they had said in the interview. The parts they deemed unsuitable were taken out of the transcripts and were not subjected to analysis. The researcher aimed to meet the criteria of transferability by attempting to give a detailed description of the research context and the procedures. The dependability of the study was ensured using the same semi-structured interview guide and mostly asking the participants the same questions to avoid bias. Finally, the confirmability, or the neutrality of the study was established by the help of a co-coder, whose codes were compared to the researcher's.

Results and discussion

What topics do university tutors in EFL teacher training deal with for global competence development in their first-year groups?

Global, local, and intercultural issues in the tutors' classes

Most of the participants (n = 4) mentioned a large variety of global topics they usually cover in their lessons, such as migration, gender equality, climate change, poverty, financial inequality, world politics, world conflicts, globalization, bullying, mental health issues, recycling, and global health issues (U, I, M, R). As Ulrich pointed out, even if he does not bring in a particular global issue, he tries “to find ways to the global part of any issue” (T/U-5) that comes up in his lessons. The reason he gave was that he considers himself “as an educationalist as much as a language teacher”, and by discussing these issues many “teachable moments” might arise (T/U-4). Unlike Ulrich, Kristóf does not emphasize the global perspective in his lessons, these issues mostly crop up if the students select them as presentation topics. Ráhel does not select global topics deliberately either, but they often appear in her lessons in the videos she shows her students and as essay or presentation topics.

Hardly any local issues were mentioned by the participants. According to Magda, in her lessons they “really do not talk about any Hungarian topics” (T/M-8), and as Ráhel put it, the students “never address [local issues] for some reason”. The reason for students steering clear from these issues was not explained by the respondents, but it might be for the same reason why the tutors are also more cautious when a current controversial local issue comes up: they are afraid of the political overtones (Hunyadi & Wessenauer, 2016) and they do not want to be accused of pushing a certain political agenda. Two participants mentioned a local topic that comes up frequently, which may not be surprising considering the nature of the program where they teach: they often talk about the state of education in Hungary.

When asked about intercultural issues, all the participants claimed that they quite frequently discuss cultural differences in their lesson and more so, if they have international students. Moreover, Iván mentioned that issues like race, ideologies and religion sometimes come up, and even though he does not deal with them explicitly, they are there in some texts, so students still encounter them implicitly. Ulrich does not deal with intercultural issues explicitly either, but he likes to make his students “reflect on themselves as students and as Hungarian students” and “open his group to the issue of group membership” (T/U-5), which is made easier by the presence of international students in the group.

Global, local, and intercultural issues tutors do not deal with in their classes

The tutors were asked what global, local, and intercultural issues they would not bring into their classes and whether there are any taboos in their lessons they would not discuss under any circumstances. In most cases, the answers overlapped, hence the results are to be presented here together. Even though at first, three tutors said that there are no taboos for them (U, M, R), after delving more deeply, they admitted that there are some issues they would prefer not to discuss with their students. Two of the most commonly mentioned topics were politics and religion (K, M, U). As Kristóf put it,

Politics is like religion, in the sense that it is one’s own business. If someone talks about religions in general, that’s completely fine. However, when it comes to politics, it always turns out to be about convincing the other person… but not like there is a side A and a side B… but that ‘you’re stupid’ and ‘I’m right’. I just don’t want to have this kind of attitude in my lessons (T/K-3)

Ulrich also elaborated and he said that he “wouldn't push issues to do with feminism and sexuality, identity politics, many of the PARSNIPS taboo things, but it doesn't mean [he] wouldn't go there if [he] pick[ed] it up” (T/U-3). So, even though he would not pursue these issues, he is certain that these issues come up incrementally when one deals with other topics, and if he sees an opening, he will deal with such issues, even if it is uncomfortable. Kristóf, however, went even further and he said that he would not include anything that could be “potentially upsetting” (T/K-3) for the students, so he would avoid talking about racism or war. The reason he gave was that it is important for the students to feel good in class, and he would not like to shock them with anything. Ráhel, however, still insisted on having no taboos in her class if the discussion is in English; although, she stated that she would not like to hear about anything that would make her liable and that she should report to the authorities (e.g., students' substance abuse).

All in all, what emerged from the answers was that these teacher trainers deal with a variety of global and intercultural issues, but they and their students are also quite reluctant to discuss local issues in their lessons. This may be the result of politics being a taboo topic in Hungarian classrooms (Hunyadi & Wessenauer, 2016). The participants also pointed out the taboo nature of politics. Nevertheless, the tutors see the question of dealing with taboos in the classroom quite differently: there are teachers who would make sure to avoid anything potentially upsetting (e.g., politics and religion), teachers who would cover these topics even if they were a bit uncomfortable to discuss and finally, there are teachers who gladly talk about anything with their students if it is in the target language.

What attitudes do university EFL teacher trainers in Hungary have towards dealing with local, global, and intercultural issues?

In order to inquire into the university tutors' attitudes towards dealing with global, local, and intercultural issues, they were asked to describe their feelings concerning their incorporation and talk about the frequency of their inclusion and the importance of dealing with such topics in the EFL classroom.

As far as their feelings were concerned, four of the tutors admitted to having generally positive feelings towards dealing with such complex topics (U, I, M, R). More specifically, Iván said that he is usually excited when it comes to such issues and quite curious how the students will react to them. Márta claimed that she especially loves dealing with intercultural topics in her lessons, as there are many activities up her sleeve that she knows will work wonders in her classes. Kristóf did not report on any specific feelings, he believes that these topics are normal in the classroom, and “it is possible to talk about any topic somehow” (T/K-4). Apart from positive feelings, two participants also mentioned a bit of anxiety, mostly in connection with certain local issues coming up in their lessons, the students' response to them and not being able to handle a politically heated discussion (M, I).

When asked how frequently they deal with global, local, and intercultural issues in their lessons, three tutors (R, U, I) claimed that they do so regularly. As Ráhel put it, she deals with such topics every day, as

we are constructing our presentations…. these topics constantly come up, even though it’s not a content-based class… but the content comes up because the students bring it in… because that’s what we’re doing in class… we are creating content for the class” (T/R-6).

Ulrich also tries to cover such topics every class and does so by “push[ing] gently” and “choosing homework that has a bit of an angle” (T/U-5). Iván also stated that global issues are “basically always present” in his classes and he even tries to create materials with this in mind – e.g., whenever he encounters passages in his readings that could fit this theme, he brings them into the classroom. According to Márta though, the frequency depends on the type of issue at hand, and she deals with global and intercultural issues in 70% of her lessons, and hardly ever with local ones. For Kristóf, the frequency of the appearance of such topics is completely random – it depends on what the students would like to deal with and bring into class through presentations.

As regards the importance of dealing with global content in the language classroom, all participants consider it either important or extremely important. Márta thought that it is even more important to include these topics in class with future language professionals, because as future mediators between two cultures, “they need to understand how any culture works, and that people don't think the same way” (T/M-11). As Ráhel sees it, these topics are unavoidable if one would like to develop students' 21st century skills, so she asked the question: “without these topics, what would we be focusing on to develop our 4Cs” (T/R-6)? Iván joined her in saying that these topics are essential, and as he is teaching future teachers, he feels that it is even more important to include the global perspective in the lessons: “we need to open their eyes and shed light on the fact that these issues – local and global ones too – are present, and we don't need to go far to encounter them” (T/I-9). While admitting that “it is not everyone's cup of tea”, Ulrich also emphasized the importance of bringing in such topics. However, he believes that it all boils down to what one thinks about their teacher role, whether they identify as language teachers or educators:

… some people say that ‘Look, my job is to teach language, that’s it, and I do it well, or I’d like to think that I do it well, this is about people’s privacy…’ I’m not one of those teachers… simply because I don’t believe you could do that. There is no such thing as value free education. I think there are certain values and people may not share them… but it’s what like discourse analysts and conversation analysists say… you cannot not educate. […] Because of that, I choose to be fully fronted educational… […] I like young people… they are still very malleable, who are looking for something… they will be the next generation… and so… I have a role. […] I just try not to be overbearing… Actually, it excites me… how I can make something relevant on the point of view of education and at the same time the students really learn English. […] That’s the challenge for me (T/U-6).

Although Kristóf also believes that talking about global topics is important, he also drew the attention to the fact that it is very difficult to engage some students with these topics. He thinks that this generation has a sensory overload, “they encounter these issues everywhere… billboards, online ads, articles, have you heard about this or that, what's your opinion about this, or that… it's quite understandable that some of them say they've had enough” (T/K-7). All in all, according to him, it is essential to find some balance and not to be overbearing, just as Ulrich said.

Based on the tutors' feelings, how frequently they bring in global issues into the classroom and what importance they attribute to bringing in these topics into the classroom, they seem to have reasonably positive attitudes towards dealing with the global content in their classes. This seems to be imperative in implementing GCE, as it has been suggested in the literature (Bauermeister & Diefenbacher, 2015; Guo, 2014; Longview Foundation, 2008; Merryfield, 2000), teacher trainers have an important role in setting an example to their students when it comes to nurturing global citizens. Even if they are not integrating global citizenship as a topic explicitly in their lessons, by infusing their lessons with the global perspective, they are passing on important values to the next generations and providing prospective teachers with examples to follow.

What influences university tutors in EFL teacher training in Hungary in dealing with local, global, and intercultural issues?

The participants were asked about what influences their decisions about including certain topics in their classes, what they take into consideration when deciding on an issue and whether there is anything that might prevent them from bringing these issues into the classroom. From the results, it seems that the tutors consider many different factors, but the two most common elements are the topicality of the issue (U, M, K, I) and whether they can link the topic to the core material in the course (which is usually a course book) (U, I, M). Magda combines the two in the following way:

Well, I always look at the book… it gives the topic. […] For example, if the topic is globalization, then I try to supplement it to make it interesting… and to make it topical… to make my students engaged. […] I never use a text or listening or anything for more than three years… but then, I look for something fresher to make the whole thing more topical (T/M-11)

The students and their interests also appear as important deciding elements (U, M, K). During the whole interview, Kristóf emphasized the fact that mostly topics that students would like to deal with appear in his classes, so for him, the students' choice is of utmost importance. In Ulrich's case, if he feels that something is relevant for his students at a given moment, he is ready to even change his plans: “Being open to the moment and to pick up… atmospherically in the group or from individual students… and if I feel that it’s relevant, then to change my plans in terms of content and process” (T/U-6).

Finally, not surprisingly, the language value of certain global issues related texts and activities also turned out to be a decisive element (I, M, U, R). According to Iván, “expanding the students' vocabulary skills is essential all along”, so tries to make sure that all the texts that he chooses for the course are of good quality (well-built-up with a wide range of vocabulary). Ráhel's case is similar, but as she is teaching a course focusing on the development of presentation skills, and she does not have to cover topics for the end of the year exam, she selects her topics in a different way, based on functions:

Whatever I’m bringing in, it’s something to introduce it… it’s either a TED talk, a podcast, an image, a video, or an advertisement about something that I’m bringing in as a source… it’s usually related to a linguistic unit that I’m teaching… so for example, if I’m teaching about story hooks, then I’m bringing in a talk by Aaron Horowitz about how to create a teddy bear, that’s a robot that will help kids with diabetes to make them remember the time to check their blood sugar… and because he created so many beautiful hooks that… this is what I’m trying to demonstrate. […] and the issue we’re dealing with is global because it’s about how to develop things that will help children (T/R-7).

All in all, what tutors seem to take into consideration when choosing what global, local and intercultural issues to deal with include the topicality of the issue, its relation to the core course content, students' interest and the language value of the given materials they could use to discuss the issue. The results are mostly in line with what the author found out in her previous questionnaire study about that influences Hungarian EFL teachers to bring in controversial issues into the classroom, where students' interest also scored relatively high (Divéki, 2018). However, further quantitative studies would be useful to yield further insight into what influences teachers' decisions to deal with global content when it is not a requisite in the course.

Conclusion

In the present study, the author attempted to gain insight into the ways university teacher trainers in Hungary develop the knowledge dimension of global competence in their first-year English language development courses using an already validated interview guide. Based on the findings, it seems that the tutors deal with a variety of global and intercultural issues in their lessons; however, they tend to steer away from certain local ones (mostly if they have political overtones). Moreover, concerning the second research question, they have a reasonably positive attitude towards dealing with such issues in class: they have mainly positive feelings towards dealing with them in class, they deal with them quite frequently and they find these topics important. Finally, as regards the third research question, what emerged was that when choosing the topics, tutors mostly consider the book, the relevance and topicality of the issues, the students' interest, and the language value of the materials.

Although it has brought novel results, the study presented here has some limitations. In order to have more varied answers, it could have been useful to interview teacher trainers from all ten teacher training institutions in Hungary. Moreover, the credibility of this small-scale study could be increased by triangulation by conducting lesson observations and looking into tutors' lesson plans and the materials they use, and by involving other perspectives (e.g., the students' points of view). Finally, it might be worthwhile following up on this paper with a questionnaire study on what kind of topics teacher trainers deal with, in order to get quantitative data and to be able to point out demographic differences in the participants' answers.

With no prior studies from either Hungary or internationally, the study aimed to fill in an important research gap by exploring how EFL teacher trainers in Hungary deal with global content in their classes. Guo (2014) highlighted the importance of the incorporation of the global perspective in initial teacher training to achieve that novice teachers become more likely to incorporate it in their lessons. All the participants of this study also stressed the importance of dealing with global, local, and intercultural issues in EFL teacher training, in line with the literature. Further research could include exploring teacher trainee's views on GCD and the type of education they get in their teacher training programs about teaching about local, global, and intercultural issues, as it would be interesting to compare their perceptions to those of their tutors. Furthermore, the next step of the author's research will involve gaining insight into EFL teacher trainers' good practices when it comes to developing their students' global competence to draw some conclusions to serve as a basis for pedagogical recommendations.

References

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APPENDIX A

The interview guide

Dear Colleague,

Thank you for accepting the interview and contributing to my doctoral research. My name is Rita Divéki, a third-year student in the Language Pedagogy PhD Programme at ELTE. My research field is global competence development, and the aim of these interviews is to explore teachers' views on global competence development and dealing with global issues in class. There are no right answers, I am interested in your experiences and your attitudes towards these issues. I am going to use what you are saying for research purposes. You are going to be assigned a pseudonym during the research project and no third parties will be able to identify you. After the recording, I am going to transcribe the interview and send it back to you for member checking. If you were interested, I would gladly share the results with you and if you consent to the interview being recorded, we can start.

Background questions:

  1. How long have you been teaching?

  2. Where did you go to university?

  3. What subjects do you teach?

  4. Where and in which institute?

  5. How long have you been teaching here?

  6. Have you ever taught or lived abroad?

Interview questions:

  1. What do you enjoy most in teaching language practice for first-year students?

  2. How do you design the course? (How do you choose the topics?)

  3. What topics do you most enjoy dealing with in class? (Could you list some please?)

  4. Are there any topics you don't particularly enjoy dealing with in class? (Could you list some please?)

  5. Are there any taboo topics in your classes? (Why wouldn't you bring them in class?)

  6. What global, local and intercultural issues do you usually deal with in class?

  7. What global, local and intercultural issues would you never bring into class?

  8. How do you feel about dealing with global, local and intercultural issues in class?

  9. How often do you deal with such issues in class?

  10. How important do you think it is to deal with such issues in class and why?

  11. What does it depend on whether you bring in global, local, and intercultural issues to deal with in class? (What influences your decision in bringing in such issues? What do you take into consideration when selecting the topic? What prevents you from bringing in certain issues to class?)

  12. Do you consider yourself to be a language teacher exclusively or more like an educator?

  13. What knowledge, skills and attitude do you think university students need to succeed in the 21st century?

You might have heard about the fact that from 2018 on the OECD PISA has started to measure students' global competence. According to my definition, global competence comprises the knowledge, skills and attitudes which make enable students to succeed in the 21st century labour market and empower them to live as democratic, active, conscious and globally aware citizens. For the latter, the literature uses the term global citizen.

  1. 14. What do you think makes someone a global citizen? (What knowledge do they have? What attitudes do they have? What skills do they have?)
  2. 15. Do you consider yourself to be a global citizen? (To what extend do you consider yourself to be a global citizen? What do you do in order to be one? How do you develop yourself in this role?)
  3. 16. What are the characteristics of a globally aware teacher or a global teacher?
  4. 17. What opportunities do your students have in your class to develop their above-mentioned knowledge, skills and attitudes?

Students taking part in the programmes run by the Institute are going to become language teachers and other English-speaking experts (interpreters, translators…etc.)

  1. 18. Do you think it is important to deal with global competence development in this context? Why?
  2. 19. Whose responsibility and task do you think it is to develop their global competence?
  3. 20. To what extent do you think it is important to involve global competence development in EFL teacher training?

Thank you for the interview. Should you want to say anything else in connection with the topic, you're welcome.

  • Angelini, M. L. , García-Carbonell, A. , & Watts, F. (2014, October). Scenario design in EFL teacher training [Conference paper]. Nasaga Conference: Playing stories, sharing worlds, learning games, Baltimore. https://doi.org/10.13140/2.1.2183.5521.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bauermeister, M. L. & Diefenbacher, L. H. (2015). Beyond recycling: Guiding preservice teachers to understand and incorporate the deeper principles of sustainability. Childhood Education, 91(5), 325331. https://doi.org/10.1080/00094056.2015.1090843.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Byram, M. (2008). From foreign language education to education for intercultural citizenship: Essays and reflections. Intercultural Matters.

  • Cates, K. A. . (2002). Teaching for a better world: Global issues and language education. Human Rights Education in Asian Schools, 5, 4152.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CONCORD . (2018). Global citizenship education in Europe: How much do we care? CONCORD Europe. https://library.concordeurope.org/record/1917/files/DEEEP-REPORT-2018-006.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cossu, P. , & Brun, G. (2020). Comprehensive sexuality education with future teachers of English: An opportunity for social change through the exploration of gender stereotypes. In L. Ruas (Ed.), Creating global change (pp. 7782). IATEFL. https://gisig.iatefl.org/wp-content/publications/CREATING%20GLOBAL%20CHANGE%20-%20GISIG.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Divéki, R. (2018). Teachers’ attitudes towards dealing with controversial issues in the EFL classroom: A pilot study. Working Papers in Language Pedagogy, 12, 2754. http://langped.elte.hu/WoPaLParticles/W12DivekiR.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Divéki, R. (2020). Dealing with global, local and intercultural issues for global competence development in teacher training: A pilot study on the views of university tutors in Hungary. In K. Károly , I. Lázár , & C. Gall (Eds), Culture and intercultural communication: Research and education (pp. 91112). School of English and American Studies. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/322824082.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. (2008). Research methods in applied linguistics quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies. Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Estellés, M. & Fischman, G. E. (2021). Who needs global citizenship education? A review of the literature on teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 72(2), 223236. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487120920254.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Felvi (n.d.). Szakkereső. https://www.felvi.hu/.

  • Gáti, A. (2010). Aktív állampolgárság Magyaroroszágon nemzetközi összehasonlításban: Másodelemzés nemzetközi adatbázisok és szakirodalom alapján [Active citizenship in Hungary in international comparison: Secondary analysis based on databases and literature]. Tárki-tudok. http://ess.tk.mta.hu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Gati_Annamaria_TARKI_TUDOK.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gimenez, T. , & Sheehan, S. (2008). Global citizenship in the English language classroom. British Council. https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/pub_GlobalCitizenv2.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Government of Hungary . (2015). Magyarország nemzetközi fejlesztési együttműködésére vonatkozó szakpolitikai stratégiája és nemzetközi humanitárius segítségnyújtására vonatkozó szakpolitikai koncepciója (2014–2020) [International Development Cooperation Strategy and Strategic Concept for International Humanitarian Aid of Hungary 2014–2020]. http://nefe.kormany.hu/download/3/4c/12000/Korm%C3%A1nyjelent%C3%A9s_2016%20%C3%A9vi%20besz%C3%A1mol%C3%B3.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gray, J. (2002). The global coursebook in English language teaching. In D. Block & D. Cameron (Eds.), Globalization and language teaching. Routledge.

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Senior editors

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Helga DORNER

Associate Editors 

  • Csíkos, Csaba (Eötvös Lorand University, Hungary)
  • Csizér, Kata (Eötvös Lorand University, Hungary)
  • Dorner, Helga (Central European University, Hungary)

 

Editorial Board

  • Basseches, Michael (Suffolk University, USA)
  • Billett, Stephen (Griffith University, Australia)
  • Cakmakci, Gültekin (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
  • Damsa, Crina (University of Oslo,Norway)
  • Dörnyei, Zoltán (Nottingham University, UK)
  • Endedijk, Maaike (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
  • Fejes, Andreas (Linköping University, Sweden)
  • Guimaraes, Paula (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Halász, Gábor (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Hansman, Catherine A. (Cleveland State University, USA)
  • Kroeber, Edith (Stuttgart University, Germany)
  • Kumar, Swapna (University of Florida, USA)
  • MacDonald, Ronald (University of Prince Edward Island, Canada)
  • Marsick, Victoria J. (Columbia University, USA)
  • Martensson, Katarina (Lund University, Sweden)
  • Matei, Liviu (Central European University, Hungary)
  • Matyja, Malgorzata (Wroclaw University of Economics, Poland)
  • Mercer, Sarah (University of Graz, Austria)
  • Nichols, Gill (University of Surrey, UK)
  • Nokkala, Terhi (University of Jyvaskyla, Finland)
  • Ostrouch-Kaminska (Uniwersytet Warminsko-Mazurski, Poland)
  • Pusztai, Gabriella (University of Debrecen, Hungary)
  • Ramesal, Ana (Barcelona University, Spain)
  • Reischmann, Jost (Bamberg University, Germany)
  • Rösken-Winter, Bettina (Humboldt, Germany)
  • Ryan, Stephen (Waseda University, Japan)
  • Török, Erika (Pallasz Athéné University, Hungary)
  • Wach-Kakolewicz, Anna (Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poland)
  • Watkins, Karen E. (University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia)

 

 

 

Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
Editorial Office
Eötvös Loránd University
Faculty of Education and Psychology
Institute of Research on Adult Education and Knowledge Management
Address: 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy u. 23-27. HUNGARY

E-mail: jalki@ppk.elte.hu

2020  
CrossRef Documents 0
CrossRef
Cites
8
CrossRef H-index 4
Days from submission to acceptance 130
Days from acceptance to publication 222

 

2019  
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Cites
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CrossRef
Documents
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Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
Publication Model Gold Open Access
Submission Fee none
Article Processing Charge none
Subscription Information Gold Open Access

Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
Language English
Size A4
Year of
Foundation
2016
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
per Year
2
Founder Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem
Founder's
Address
H-1053 Budapest, Hungary Egyetem tér 1-3.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Publisher's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Responsible
Publisher
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 2631-1348 (Online)

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