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Transnational teaching experiences: an under‐explored territory for transformative professional development

By Karen L. Smith


In an increasingly global higher education environment, many universities are taking their educational services overseas. One model of overseas provision is through transnational (offshore) education. Transnational teaching challenges the prevailing understanding of an academic role at every level. Transnational teachers are expected to work in environments, climates and classrooms which are culturally very different to their own. Assumptions about university education are shaken and teachers find themselves having to return to and question the fundamentals of their teaching, learning and assessment practices. This paper argues that the experience of being a transnational teacher and working in a culture very different to one’s own forces reflection which can lead to ‘perspective transformation’; as such it could be a powerful professional development opportunity which should be nurtured and supported. This paper draws on the growing body of published literature on staff experiences of transnational teaching and my own experiences as a transnational teacher to support this argument. It shows that the ‘novel experiences’ of transnational teaching encourage content, process and premise reflection that can, with appropriate support, ultimately improve teaching practice not just in the transnational context, but also back home

Topics: LB2300
Publisher: Routledge / Taylor & Francis
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13601440902969975
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