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Reading the world through virtual exchange: critical interculturality and glocal awareness in English teacher education

Publicerad:15 april

Malin Reljanovic Glimäng har forskat om Virtual Exchange (VE), som är en digitalt medierad pedagogisk aktivitet som möjliggör interkulturella möten och nätbaserat samarbete mellan studenter från olika kulturella och geografiska kontexter.



Malin Reljanovic Glimäng


Prpfefssor Björn Sundmark, Malmö universitet


Professor Breffni O’Rourke, The University of Dublin

Disputerat vid

Malmö universitet



Abstract in English

Virtual exchange (VE) is a pedagogical approach that connects learners across borders and cultures through online communication technologies. Taking a point of departure in critical social constructivism, this thesis contributes to the VE research field by presenting a collection of studies that explore the intersections of critical interculturality, global citizenship education, and online exchange in English teacher education.

The aim is to explore ways in which VE participants navigate online cross-cultural dialogue and intercultural experiences in projects anchored in real-world issues and connected with the United Nations sustainable development goals. Furthermore, the aim is to examine what pedagogical insights pre-service teachers can gain from participating in VE, as a learning-by-doing experience for their future profession as English teachers. This approach, developed in accordance with critical virtual exchange (CVE), involves engaging the participants in inquiry, action, and reflection, where they explore a topic from multiple perspectives, collaborate with peers from different cultural backgrounds, create tangible products that demonstrate their learning, and reflect on their own assumptions, biases, and learning processes.

Through action research and analysis of participants’ self-reported data and co-created artifacts, this thesis foregrounds the role of critical reflection as interconnected with and generated from the process of collaborative design.

The findings show that, through active participation in VEs designed with a focus on global citizenship education, pre-service teachers can gain self-awareness, professional pedagogical insights, and evoke un/relearning of that which is often taken for granted in their own (educational) cultures. While shedding light on the challenges involved in transnational online collaboration, the thesis demonstrates the transformative potential of VE in teacher education, as well as the need for further research and development of this innovative pedagogical approach as a model that pre-service teachers can transfer to school contexts and explore in their own future classrooms. In an increasingly globalized, digitally advanced, and interconnected world, VE can serve as a conduit for glocalizing the curriculum and promoting internationalization at home in teacher education programs.

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