International Scholars of the 21st Century: Comparative Visions from Teaching Floors in Finland and Australia

By Meeri Hellstén and Sari Poikela.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Scholars around the world are currently engaging in new debate about what constitutes culturally appropriate, sustainable and effective pedagogy in contexts involving international education (Hellstén & Reid, 2008). There is today universal agreement among the community of scholars that most higher education learning sites in contemporary society are at least culturally and ethnically international. The issue of global academic accountability and best practice is therefore positioned at the core of recent pedagogical articulations. However, at the ground level, where teaching and learning reveals its intricacies of a ‘human kind’, academics and students alike are struggling with relating to the new jargon defining the 21st Century Scholar. This ‘scholar’ is well equipped for the new global era, is amicably versed in the communicative repertoires of globally aware citizens and has an impressively mapped cross-cultural academic pathway and graduate capabilities supported by their institution.
In this article we report on discussions with current international students about their academic and professional visions of and for the future, and their sense of place among the community of scholars of the 21st Century. The study was conducted in Australia and Finland, two countries that have received recent comparable attention on student literacy levels internationally (PISA), and consequently on the quality of teaching, including teacher educators. The empirical data consists of students’ written and spoken commentary which were analysed using discourse analysis. About 30 students provided data for the research. We offer some implications for developing pedagogy, policy and practice for higher education.

Keywords: International Pedagogies, Higher Education, Comparative Research, Student Narratives, 21st Century Scholarship

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp.367-376. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.221MB).

Dr. Meeri Hellstén

Senior Lecturer, School of Education, ACES, Macquarie University, Ryde, NSW, Australia

Meeri is senior lecturer in education and she teaches across the curriculum areas of pedagogy, multicultural education, language and literacy. Her current research involves comparative analyses of international teaching and learning discourse, pedagogy and practice in Europe and Australia. She is fully trilingual in Finnish, Swedish and English and is active in professional outreach in these communities.

Dr. Sari Poikela

Docent, Senior Researcher, Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

Sari’s research interests concern problem-based learning and pedagogy (PBL), PBL curriculum, teachers’ professional development and knowing in the frame of PBL, the assessment, evaluation and learning, context-based assessment, and pedagogy applied to higher education contexts. Sari has published her research in the field of PBL, and is an active member of many professional and scholarly networks.

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