Internationalizing a School of Education: Integration and Infusion in Practice

Internationalizing a School of Education: Integration and Infusion in Practice

by John Schwille


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611862157
Publisher: Michigan State University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2016
Series: International Race and Education Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 326
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

John Schwille is a professor emeritus for international studies in education at Michigan State University. He is an honorary member of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and an honorary fellow of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES).

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Internationalizing a School of Education

Integration and Infusion in Practice

By John Schwille

Michigan State University Press

Copyright © 2017 John Schwille
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62895-275-9


Toward a Sociology of Comparative and International Education

The discourse and literature on comparative and international education have been the subject of much commentary over the last five decades as interest has grown in this field. These commentaries have brought to light a domain that is fragmented, incoherent, and able to accommodate schools of thought that have little or nothing in common with one another. Even so, much remains unexplored. In particular, it's important to examine in depth the sociology of this field of knowledge and to explain the institutionalized channels and obstacles on which the nature of the discourse in large part depends. As a case study in the sociology of knowledge and academic work, this book attempts in a small way to deal with this gap. It largely follows Pierre Bourdieu in his analyses of intellectual work in general and sociology in particular. Bourdieu built his complex conceptual apparatus around three central concepts: field, habitus, and capital, none of which, according to him, is primary or dominant over the others. Instead they are in continual interaction with one another, in part to reproduce the social worlds that they embody and in part to change these worlds. Field in Bourdieu refers to the social space within which this interaction takes place. Roughly speaking, it is analogous to a playing field on which a sport is played. But Bourdieu's fields are never level. Instead they favor certain players or teams above others because of the influence of the rules of the game, its history, positioning of star players in shaping the field, and so on. Since the concept of field was developed by Bourdieu in analyses of educational institutions and practices, among others, it is not surprising that the concept of field is superficially at least a good fit with university disciplines as organized within schools or faculties. This fit is reflected, both within and among fields and subfields, by the struggles of individual scholars and the units to which they belong for status and recognition.

These specialized scholars bring to the field their habitus, which is Bourdieu's term for the set of dispositions with which an individual enters a field and which subsequently evolve in interaction with the field. Bourdieu points out that a habitus includes far more than an individual's scholarly agenda; it extends even to nonverbal communications. "The habitus manifests itself continuously, in oral examinations, in seminar presentations, in contacts with others, and, more simply, in a bodily hexis, a way of tilting the head, a posture of the body." "A posture that might be perceived as a superficial lightness ('is it really serious?') may also be seen as a promising 'ease' if it has in some sense found its 'natural home,' in other words a region of the field occupied by people predisposed by their position and their habitus to apprehend positively and appreciate favourably the behaviours in which [another person's] habitus is unveiled."

Within the university, the habitus of practitioners immersed in interaction with a field embodies a strong tendency to develop, transmit, and control the status culture of a particular specialty. In each field the habitus of participants predisposes them toward erecting barriers against outsiders. Nevertheless, the boundaries between fields often remain fuzzy and contested. The most the players can expect is, not a perfect understanding of the field, but rather a "feel for the game." Thus, in contrast to Thomas Kuhn, in whose theories scientific change takes the form of a relatively disinterested process of solving puzzles in ways that have proven to be productive until the anomalies in this process are considered important enough to address, Bourdieu describes a struggle of self-interest in which the norms of science that appear to be disinterested are in fact mixed with vested interests, resulting in status systems and boundaries that remain to a considerable extent arbitrary, without this being acknowledged.

Successful scholars acquire a sort of capital in the form of valued knowledge that determines their place in the system, their access to resources and status. This capital accrues to institutional units as well as individual scholars. "Scientific capital is a particular kind of symbolic capital, a capital based on knowledge and recognition. It is a power which functions as a form of credit, presupposing the trust or belief of those who undergo it because they are disposed (by their training and by the very fact of their belonging to the field) to give credit, belief." Distribution of this capital shapes the power relations within this field. "Possession of a large quantity (and therefore a large share) of capital gives a power over the field and therefore over agents (relatively) less endowed with capital."

This struggle and competition brings change, as orthodoxies call forth, in dialectical fashion, challenges from heterodox critics who attempt to change the field.

Using a Channeling Metaphor to Represent Fluidity in the Field

Bourdieu effectively challenges views that see intellectual work as the free and detached pursuit of knowledge. Faced with the idea that internationalization in higher education is a discourse socially constructed by scholars who more or less freely follow their chosen intellectual journey, Bourdieu provides an excellent antithesis: from his position, the view that ideas are freely chosen is an illusion. However, since Bourdieu's perspective can seem overly deterministic and without allowance for human agency, it can be difficult to see how changes in the knowledge valued by higher education institutions could ever occur. According to him, capital in the form of knowledge is accumulated within a powerful, hierarchical status system that can be thought virtually impervious to change. From this perspective, therefore, it is hard to understand how the royal classic track of Greek and Latin in French lycées (the object of much of Bourdieu's analysis), dominant for so many years, could ever give way to mathematics and science as the highest-status course of study, and yet it did. This change illustrates the need to find a middle way between determinism and agency.

With a middle way, change can be difficult, but not impossible, to bring about. Francisco P. Pérez advances such a formulation that, according to him, is compatible with Bourdieu. "Agency in social life is seen as a 'menu' from which you can choose on the basis of your social background and available capital rather than as a free-will game, thus taking into account, although to different degrees, both the enabling and constraining sides of structure and agency."

In this book this middle way is represented by a metaphor of multiple streams of thought and work, sometimes coming together, sometimes remaining separate — images of change that sooner or later can wear through obstacles and create new currents of ideas. Internationalization is pictured as channels, streams that grow and add to an emerging river of internationalization. However, the image that these words conjure up, of one mighty river with tributaries and subtributaries, does not perfectly fit the observed phenomena in education. Channels do at times converge and combine, but they also diverge and separate; and sometimes remain separate from other channels flowing in a similar direction. Thus, instead of tributaries feeding a single river, a more appropriate metaphor is a delta with multiple channels flowing together and breaking apart, making it possible for more than one of these channels to feed separately into the sea of internationalization. Moreover, as with a delta, the channels of internationalization are not stable over time; instead they can fill up, clog up, and cease to be channels of internationalization, while other new channels emerge to cut through earlier barriers of resistance. In our thinking about this metaphor, it is especially instructive to recall that there are, in the world of nature, inland deltas, such as the Ovakango Delta in Botswana, that never reach the sea directly, but either evaporate or soak into the ground, where their influence persists in underground aquifers.

When taken together, Bourdieu's point of view and this metaphor offer different perspectives on change and resistance to change in fields like comparative education. Bourdieu's perspective shows how fields of knowledge, seemingly products of human thought that stand on their own logic, can in fact be bastions of resistance to change owing to competition within and between them for status and power through accumulation of academic capital. However, the metaphor of a delta and its changing streams makes clear that in a field where knowledge claims are contested, change does take place, as different schools of thought seek to displace one another and advance their own ideas and projects.

This is not as far from Bourdieu as it might seem. In the insightful book edited by Michael Grenfell on Bourdieu's key concepts, the concept of habitus is illustrated by a metaphor similar to that of a delta in its emphasis on life as a journey through channels or pathways.

Where we are in life at any one moment is the result of numberless events in the past that have shaped our path. We are faced at any moment with a variety of possible forks in that path or choices of actions and beliefs. This range of choices depends on our current context (the position we occupy in a particular social field), but at the same time which of those choices are visible to us and which we do not see as possible is the result of our past journey, for our experiences have helped shape our vision.

The author emphasizes that the structures of the habitus are not fixed, nor are they in constant flux. Rather the dispositions that form one's habitus continue to evolve. They are durable but not immutable. At the same time the fields with which habitus interacts are themselves changing. "Habitus is the link not only between past, present and future, but also between the social and the individual, the objective and the subjective, and structure and agency." Bourdieu explains the respective importance of structure and agency by making clear that, while habitus is not completely shaped by the field, the field does in large part determine whether a habitus can find a position with the field. That is, in an exceptionally autonomous scientific field, where the aggregate capital of accumulated resources is enormous, "it is the field that 'chooses' the habitus." But in a field like sociology or education whose autonomy is continually challenged, the habitus of practitioners can make a greater difference, especially when others in the field are not prepared to exercise special vigilance to ensure that practices are consistent with its existing contours.


Differing Approaches to Comparative and International Education in Schools of Education

Traditionally, in U.S. schools of education, the dominant orthodoxies have taken the form of a lack of interest in and rewards for the study and practice of education in other countries (with the partial exception of the English-speaking countries). Degree programs in comparative and international education have had little success in challenging these dominant orthodoxies. Instead they have generally occupied a marginal space. Thus, while their academic and intellectual capital has been recognized and valued internally within the relatively small network of university academics identifying themselves with comparative education, outside this space, comparative education capital has been much less valued than within.

Pierre Bourdieu provides a good explanation of why this is so. Dominant scientists are able to impose, without making any special effort, "the representation of science most favorable to their interests." They are the ones who set the rules of the game, the correct, "legitimate way to play." Since their interests are aligned with the established state of the field, they are the "natural defenders of the normal science of the day." For these reasons, they enjoy decisive advantages in scientific competition and they become an obligatory point of reference for other scientists, forcing the latter to explain their work in relationship to that of the dominant scientists.

From this perspective, although much has been written and said in recent decades about the need to internationalize education, including schools of education, it stands to reason that, for the most part, ethnocentricity remains entrenched not only in academic systems of power and prestige, but also in what is taken for granted about the policies and practices of education — an aspect that Bourdieu developed at length in his analyses of cultural capital and reproduction in French education. Bourdieu's perspective helps make clear that internationalizing is not just a process of professional development to help faculty members and their students acquire new knowledge but also an assault on accepted norms of what constitutes legitimate knowledge in education, on the vested interests of scholars who have invested in and benefited from the capital they acquire in the status quo, and on the boundaries that have substantially sealed off international studies in education so they do not challenge or undermine the accumulation of more "legitimate" intellectual capital (e.g., in educational psychology or school administration applied to the United States) and the existing streams that channel the work and lay out the boundaries and content of particular fields.

This concern for channels and boundaries in and around the domain of comparative education is long-standing, with scholars both challenging and defending existing or proposed boundaries. As a result, there has been wide agreement in the literature on the fluidity and impermanence of comparative education channels and boundaries as well as debate over whether and how much to stick to them. For example Jesse Foster, Nii Antiaye Addy, and Joel Samoff in a 2012 article, based on their analysis of the content of journal articles in the field, reiterate this emphasis on diversity and lack of agreement among approaches to this domain of study: "Notwithstanding periodic calls for a common body of theory and a standardized, shared methodology, comparative and international education research reflects far more diversity than convergence in approach, theory, and methodology."

Some four decades ago, my PhD adviser at the University of Chicago, C. Arnold Anderson, the fourth president of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), then in his later years, wrote an article vigorously defending his long-held view that comparative education properly understood is the application of the different and distinct social science disciplines to education — and nothing more. A corollary of this position was that comparative education cannot be considered in any sense a discipline on its own — an argument also made by Phil Altbach, who like me got his start at the University of Chicago. Altbach, however, went much further than Anderson in giving credit to new epistemological and substantive alternatives to positivism that were changing the field. Other scholars had different ideas about how comparative education functioned beyond well-established disciplines. Few agreed with Anderson. Andreas Kazamias, who had been a colleague of Anderson at the University of Chicago Comparative Education Center for a short time in the 1960s, weighed in with a CIES presidential address about ten years later to say that frameworks that viewed education simply in terms of application of social science disciplines were reductionistic and limited the questions that could be asked.

My predecessor at MSU, Cole Brembeck, the fourteenth president of CIES, wrote another article that appeared in the Comparative Education Review in 1975. He, too, argued that comparative education should not be limited to the disciplines as traditionally understood. Instead, he made a case for stronger ties between comparative education and another loosely defined domain, teacher education.

By the year 2000 Michael Crossley went still further in crossing the borders surrounding and traversing comparative education. He noted that mainstream educational researchers were increasingly engaged in comparative and international education, an observation that led him to advocate more cross-fertilization between comparativists and those he refers to as "mainstream." In a related article Leon Tikly and Crossley also dealt with the options of specialized comparative education versus integration with other specialties of educational research, before introducing a third option, characterized as transformation:

Exponents of integration argue that the boundaries between comparative and international education and other parts of education studies are increasingly blurred and that, as such, it is problematic to talk of a distinct comparative and international education specialism. They argue that there is now less need for comparative and international education to exist as a separate field of study and that teachers with comparative and international education expertise could best use their energies in developing international and comparative perspectives within other programs of study in their institutions.


Excerpted from Internationalizing a School of Education by John Schwille. Copyright © 2017 John Schwille. Excerpted by permission of Michigan State University Press.
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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xv

Part 1 The Landscape of Internationalization in U.S. Schools of Education

Chapter 1 Toward a Sociology of Comparative and International Education 3

Chapter 2 Differing Approaches to Comparative and International Education in Schools of Education 9

Chapter 3 The Changing Landscape of Internationalization in a New Era of MSU History 19

Part 2 Convergent and Divergent Channels of Internationalization

Chapter 4 Faculty to Develop and Explore the Main Channels of Internationalization 29

Chapter 5 Creating and Benefiting from New Channels of International Research 43

Chapter 6 Building New Channels for International Development Work 79

Chapter 7 The Fragility of International Partnerships Needed to Feed Channels of Internationalization 113

Chapter 8 Preparing the Ground for Channels of International Content and World Languages in K-12 and Teacher Education 129

Chapter 9 Engaging Internationally Oriented Students to Create New Channels and Broaden Existing Ones 169

Chapter 10 Two Streams Less Connected with the Main Channels of Internationalization 197

Chapter 11 International Visiting Scholars, a Source of Internationalization That Could Exceed Expectations but Often Did Not 207

Chapter 12 Finding Enough Money and Support Staff to Feed and Expand Channels 219

Chapter 13 Connecting to the Channels of Other Institutions through the CIES 231

Chapter 14 Summing Up 235

Appendix 1 Development of International Strengths among MSU College of Education Faculty, 1984-201.2 241

Appendix 2 Thirty-Two International Books Authored or Edited by MSU College of Education Faculty, 1994-2012 249

Appendix 3 Timeline: MSU Integration-Infusion Policy in Practice 255

Notes 263

References 275

Index 285

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