N. Ibarra Rius, J. Ballester Roca

University of Valencia (SPAIN)
There seem to be competing rationales for globalizing/internationalizing teacher education. A first rationale is based on the discourse of fear, of not being competitive internationally, especially economically: we have fallen behind so we need to focus on global/international education. This is a weak motivation to sustain reform in teacher education. A second rationale embraces a global/international perspective and requires sustainability, social justice, environmental responsability to be seen as moral and ethical issues as well as practical problems to be addressed in schools. This will be the task of those who will shape education of future citizens: students in teacher education programs. Are they being adequately preparated?

Nowadays, future teachers need to prepare themselves and their future students to function effectively in a global society and universities must find ways to make this happen. Project US-EU Atlantis will develop a new track for students seeking Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood, Especial Ed, BS in Child Development, BA in Liberal Studies with an option in Early Childhood Education. This new track called Globally Focused Inclusive Early Education will provide teacher candidates with international perspectives on the inclusive Early Childhood Education of Children with diverse abilities and diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. This track will prepare them to face the necessities of these Young children and their families in typical early childhood programs and early elementary school settings.

Goals of the Globally Focused Inclusive Early Education Project are fully consistent with the program objectives to enhance collaboration between European Union and US institutions of Higher Education by contributing to: a) development of Higher Education institutions; b) individual participants' personal development for their own sake and as a way to achieve the program’s general objective; c) translating exchanges between EU and US citizens.

Projects objectives: 1) faculty will jointly develop a cohesive course sequence with mutually agreed course equivalences for degree requirements leading to a specialization in Globally Focused Inclusive Early Education which by the third and fourth years of the Project will lead to a Certificate of Achievement in US and Diploma Suplement in UE; 2) Faculty will collaborate to develop an assessment of (inter-pluri-trans) cultural competences and knowledge of inclusive practices for pre-service teachers in an inclusive multilingual and multicultural context; 3) students will demonstrate; a) increased knowledge of similarities and difference in perspectives and practices relative to early childhood education and special education fields in partner countries; b) increased cultural awareness and intercultural competence; c) increased fluency in the selected foreign language.

This Project will engage faculty and students from four partner institutions: el Camino College Childhood Education Department in Torrance (California), University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Faculty of Education in Reggio Emilia (Italy), California State University Dominguez Hills located in Carson (California) and the College of Education at University of Valencia (Spain).