Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thoughts on Globalisation

I am currently undertaking a Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership. We have been reading about globalisation and I thought I would share my ideas with readers here as well as my colleagues.

In Chapter 12 of Education, Change and Society, Nigel Bagnall defines globalisation and addresses some of the impacts of globalisation on power, culture and the economy. He prompts us to consider implications for education. He mentions the "shrinking of the world as technology and the travel industry make it possible to be physically anywhere in a short period of time, and virtually anywhere anytime". He also shares two interviews with Australian teachers who were trained in Australia but were teaching in countries outside of Australia.

I have personally experienced this "shrinking of the world". I have many friends who taught in the UK, one who taught in Tanzania, and I too taught overseas. While I never planned to travel with my teaching, in 2006 I found myself searching for teaching jobs in New York City. Having returned from a 17-day holiday in the USA (4 days of which were in New York City), my husband suggested that we spend a year living in New York City. Thinking this was a throw-away line, I ignored it. But as time passed, our interest in New York grew, and I realised that there would be no ignoring it.

I began to investigate the process online and found that because of (but not part of) the USA-Australia Free Trade Agreement made between our government and the US government, Australians have access to a special working visa (E3). The difficulty behind this visa is that you need to have been offered a job prior to obtaining the visa. Impossibility at one point in time, but now made possible through the use of the internet. I used Craig's List and the New York Times Online to search for jobs in New York City.

More internet research ensued. I began taking digital workshops through the PAEC Teacher to Teacher Initiative. Through these workshops I developed a greater understanding of the latest ideas in teaching in the USA. I began applying some of these ideas to my own teaching in Australia. Even specific courses required to teach in New York government schools could be taken online. Unfortunately, at the time, I found it too difficult to apply for government schools as I was required to sit exams (two months apart) in New York City prior to beginning. From what I understand, this requirement has since changed.

I changed my search to private schools and used Go City Kids to search for and contact schools. After quite some time, I found a school that was interested in exploring things further. After a phone interview and many more documents sent via email, I was offered a position and my journey began.

My husband used online resources to find us an apartment. We checked out reviews on different areas and could see locations using Google Earth. By the time we actually arrived we had everything lined up and had quite a good idea of what we were walking into, having only previously spent 4 days in the city!

I taught kindergarten in a private school with a Classical Christian Education philosophy. We were located just two blocks south of Central Park. (You can read more about the adventure at New York, New York.) Whilst teaching at this school I stuck very closely to their curriculum and was amazed by what my students could achieve from this structured format. It gave me new insight into the capabilities of young children.

Now back in Australia, I try to combine the best of both worlds. I continue to access online resources from around the world to develop my skills and strategies. I connect with other teachers - both in Australia and beyond - through social networking tools. Through these communities we discuss and explore ideas relating to education and share strategies to enhance our teaching.

Globalisation has opened new doors and experiences to me that previously wouldn't have been possible. While I agree that not all aspects of globalisation are beneficial and that there is not equal distribution of the benefits, I feel that my life has been changed for the better through this experience as has the education of my students.


  1. Do you have any suggestions about Americans in Australia? I came there as an exchange student in 1995, and every day I think about returning to Australia!
    I have a family (hubby, 2 kids) now, so it is a bit more difficult.
    I haven't researched it in awhile, but there used to be a visa available to teachers.

  2. i'm a teacher in New Zealand, we are doing our inquiry on globalisation and am wondering what your thoughts are on how to kick off the topic?


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