JOIN US

Teaching in an Era of Flux: Canada may be a critical global actor, but other perspectives remain important

Six Canadian academics reflect on the challenges of teaching in a world of fast-paced news and distrust of sources.

By: /
29 April, 2019

For me, teaching about Canada and the world pertains to the role and impact of Canada and Canadians in promoting equality, opportunity and justice in relation to issues of international development.

One course I offer (a fourth-year course on global studies, citizenship and development) focuses on the role of Canadian youth abroad and the impact of their experiential learning, internships, and volunteer placements as forms of diplomacy and civic engagement. Students consider the impacts and contributions of international aid workers/volunteers to international development outcomes, drawing heavily on critical scholarship outlining privilege and inequality of opportunity as well as literature from the perspective of receiving organizations in the Global South. Subaltern perspectives — those from marginalized individuals or groups — are essential for moving the conversations from ‘Canadians reflecting on what Canadians do’ to hearing from those with whom Canadians are interacting to learn what value and contributions are made through Canada’s international efforts.

Through this course, students consider the distinctive challenges and opportunities for working with communities in situations of vulnerability. Our focus on a world in flux is at the heart of this analysis because Canadian responses to international crises require immediate, humanitarian interventions as well as long-term, sustainable and preventative development strategies.

Canadians have an important role to play in these responses but we face many challenges, including Canada’s low aid spending allocations relative to other

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, shifting priorities and changing countries of focus, and the growing number of international crises, disasters and conflicts.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 

Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter

Also in the series

How to teach international affairs in an era of flux

Six Canadian academics reflect on the challenges of teaching in a world of fast-paced news and distrust of sources.

Teaching in an Era of Flux: The classroom is now the Twitter antidote — a space for deeper learning

Teaching in an Era of Flux: The classroom is now the Twitter antidote — a space for deeper learning

By:

Six Canadian academics reflect on the challenges of teaching in a world of fast-paced news and distrust of sources.

Teaching in an Era of Flux: Foreign policy has always been messy — the key is to stay critical

Teaching in an Era of Flux: Foreign policy has always been messy — the key is to stay critical

By:

Six Canadian academics reflect on the challenges of teaching in a world of fast-paced news and distrust of sources.

Teaching in an Era of Flux: International norms and institutions, once a given, are now on shaky ground

Teaching in an Era of Flux: International norms and institutions, once a given, are now on shaky ground

By:

Six Canadian academics reflect on the challenges of teaching in a world of fast-paced news and distrust of sources.

Teaching in an Era of Flux: Students must be able to question the status quo

Teaching in an Era of Flux: Students must be able to question the status quo

By:

Six Canadian academics reflect on the challenges of teaching in a world of fast-paced news and distrust of sources.

Teaching in the Era of Flux: Accept the idea that teaching is political, not neutral

Teaching in the Era of Flux: Accept the idea that teaching is political, not neutral

By:

Six Canadian academics reflect on the challenges of teaching in a world of fast-paced news and distrust of sources.