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Book Recommendation From CFT’s Stacey Johnson

Posted by on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 in Commentary, Library, News.

If you are one of the many faculty or staff at Vanderbilt focusing on immersion initiatives, community engagement, or teaching for global citizenship, one of our newest books at the CFT library might be a useful tool in your work. The book is Community-Based Global Learning: The Theory and Practice of Ethical Engagement at Home and Abroad co-authored by Eric Hartman, Richard Kiely, Christopher Boettcher, and Jessica Friedrichs and will be available soon in the CFT library. This volume usefully threads multiple streams of scholarship together with real-world cases and examples of classroom practice. The effect of this multi-pronged approach is that the book is at once thoroughly grounded in research while also being accessible to practitioners.

In the introduction, the authors provide readers with a useful table in which reflective and critically reflective questions are provided for each chapter. For me as a reader, seeing the two types of reflective questions juxtaposed in that table primed my thinking from the very beginning about the kind of reading experience I was about to undertake. Chapter 1 frames the topic of community-based global learning and establishes their definition of the components of such learning that will inform the rest of the book. These components are:

  • Community-driven learning/service
  • Development of intercultural learning and cultural humility
  • Seeking global citizenship
  • Critically reflective practice
  • Interrogating power, privilege, and positionality
  • Deliberate and demonstrable learning
  • Health and safety

As someone who researches, among other things, the role of critical reflection and intercultural competence in college level language learning, I was particularly interested in chapter 3 and 4 over those two topics. For administrators and faculty leading community-based programs, chapters 5 through 8 contain more practical discussions about program planning, implementation, and development. These practical discussions include topics such as how to plan an orientation, how to manage risk around health and safety, and how to prepare students for ethical engagement with communities.

I definitely recommend this book as a resource for anyone planning courses or programs that ask students to engage with communities as part of their learning.

Stacey Johnson is the Assistant Director for Educational Technology at the Center for Teaching. She also holds an appointment as a Senior Lecturer of Spanish in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, is Affiliated Faculty in the Center for Second Language Studies, and Adjunct Faculty in Peabody College’s Masters program in English Language Learners.

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