The Teacher’s Role in the Changing Globalizing World (Book Review)

The word that comes to mind when I think of the contents of The Teacher’s Role in the Changing Globalizing World is “smorgasbord” as in a smorgasbord of interesting ideas. The chosen works ably address with their smorgasbord of ideas the notion that the role of teachers today is changing throughout the world. Today a teacher can do more than teach in a classroom.

A teacher can work in new learning environments especially with online and/or technology components. The book addresses this issue as it pertains to the teaching professional and how to protect and address the role of the teacher. Whether you are simply looking to learn more about this topic or want a thoughtful read for your students, The Teacher’s Role in the Changing Globalizing World could be a good choice for you.

I was impressed that the articles reflect issues in a number of locations including China, Estonia, Finland, Malta, Singapore, and the USA. The selection that addresses issues in China, for example, notes that with today’s new technologies a teacher’s traditional role is “facing more and more challenges… Modern teachers are expected to be not only the organizers and designers of the educational process, but also mentors and partners of students in the learning process” (p. 109). The author of this piece on these issues in China also notes that current teacher education in China promotes professional development in light of today’s challenges.

In Teaching in the USA we see Dr. Gerald K. LeTendre write about how “the U.S. teaching force presents some unique paradoxes” (p. 91). One of LeTendre’s concerns is how American teachers lack professional autonomy.  “Although the U.S. has a highly decentralized educational system, teachers report less involvement in school decisions than in nations with centralized systems like Japan” (p. 91). He further notes that “paradoxes can be linked to specific organizational and cultural factors such as a strong culture of local school control, a politically divisive national culture, and the growing influence of international comparisons and bench-marking” (p. 91). LeTendre is Professor of Education (Education Policy Studies) at Penn State and a co-editor of The American Journal of Education. His current research focuses on how technology is changing teacher work roles and teacher professional development around the world.  

The editors of The Teacher’s Role in the Changing Globalizing World come from the University of Helsinki. Hannele Niemi, for example, is one of the editors. Niemi teaches and also holds a UNESCO Chair in Educational Ecosystems for Equity and Quality Learning. These editors of The Teacher’s Role in the Changing Globalizing World did an outstanding job of picking their smorgasbord of articles providing great food for thought. 

The Teacher’s Role in the Changing Globalizing World: 
Resources and Challenges Related to the Professional Work of Teaching
Editors: Hannele NiemiAuli ToomArto Kallioniemiand, Jari Laverne. (2018).
Brill/Sense. 154 pages. ISBN: 978-90-04-37257-3. USD$104 (softcover).

Reviewed by Jeanette Evans

Note to readers: A version of this review is scheduled to appear in Technical Communication, the journal of the STC.