A-Z Index

2.4 Completers support students' growth in international and global perspectives

All Northwest teacher, leader, and counselor candidates upon completion are able to support students’ growth in international and global perspectives. They have a deep understanding of themselves as members of an educational community that extends beyond their own state(s) and nation to encompass concepts of learning as they are applied outside of the United States. Beginning in their first semester on campus, they study the theories of human development of Urie Bronfenbrenner, the renowned educational theorist. This study of international educational perspectives is reinforced in later coursework, where they are further introduced to other international theorists and ideas. 

This section of the QAR is divided into two subsections: the first addresses the 61-569: Multiculturalism in Education class, which all undergraduate and many graduate candidates complete, and the second addresses the Reggio Emilia study abroad program, which sends students annually to learn about international and global education perspectives in Italy.

International and Global Perspectives in 61-569: Multiculturalism in Education

As outlined in 61-569 Multiculturalism in Education and 61-642 Multicultural Education for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, initial and advanced completers understand and demonstrate the capability to promote the success and well-being of each student by applying the knowledge, skills, and commitments necessary for equitable protocols for student support. These courses focus on equitable access in a least restrictive environment, responsive practices for culturally responsive teaching and leadership, and a supportive school culture that ensures each student and family is treated fairly. Completers understand the dramatic changes in the U.S. population and the impact this has in the nation’s classroom that reflect increasing diversity: The population in the U.S. is undergoing dramatic population changes, and the nation’s classrooms reflect that increasing diversity.

Challenge exist in education and for those who prepare the next generation of teachers and leaders. At Northwest Missouri State, we prepare candidates to effectively teach, counsel, or lead P-12 learners from widely diverse backgrounds and cultures. We strive to help candidates successfully navigate a complex world where some groups have fewer social benefits because of race, ethnicity, gender, class, language, religion, ability, geography, or age.

Multicultural education is an educational strategy that incorporates cultural and individual differences and provides equality and social justice in schools with the goal of educating all children at a high level. Multicultural educators value the individual student--their experiences, abilities and point of view--while providing a safe, secure environment to learn about one’s self and the world around them. The multicultural classroom welcomes students from all cultures through the use of a multicultural curriculum, materials that reflect diversity, instruction that addresses a variety of learning styles and abilities, and appreciation of human differences. The multicultural educator works to assure that socially-just, equitable practices are embedded and supported in the classroom, school, and district. Multiculturalism in Education and its graduate analogue, 61-642, Multicultural Education for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion help prepare students to be leaders in multicultural teaching and learning. 

As outlined in the courses, completers demonstrate their knowledge and sensitivity to issues which foster potential prejudices and discrimination. These issues relate to gaps in privilege as a function of an individual’s race, ethnicity, physical ability, language, class, geography, education, family structure, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Contributing factors also include diversity of national origin, ingrained biases resulting in sexism, bias in favor or against those practicing certain religions, differences in physical and mental ability levels, and disadvantageous socioeconomic and income disparity, among others. Methodology in humanizing the curriculum, sensitivity issues, historical perspectives, and means by which dehumanizing biases may be recognized in instructional materials shall also be included in the content of this course. To better understand human differences and begin to appreciate and promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness, candidates examine the impact of unconscious bias, implicit bias, and explicit bias, microaggressions, and racism in the classroom.

Course Outcomes

Course Objective #1:

Students will acquire knowledge of multicultural issues as they related to ethnicity and race, class and socioeconomic status, gender and sexual orientation, exceptionality, religion, and education.

  • Recognize similarities and differences among diverse cultural groups.
  • Discuss experiences, contributions and relationships of diverse groups.
  • Be aware of issues that are of importance to various cultures.
  • Identify various forms of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.
  • Analyze behavior and attitudes for biases against the characteristics of specific groups.

Course Objective #2:

Students will develop multicultural perspectives, which will potentially lead to increased self-respect, greater respect for different cultural groups, and fewer inter-group conflicts due to ignorance, misunderstanding or misinformation.

  • Reflect on ethnic ancestry and cultural heritage in relation to self-definition and biases.
  • Develop an awareness of and appreciation for alternative beliefs, manners, customs, linguistic traditions and lifestyles of individuals and groups different from self.
  • Demonstrate skills in maintaining positive relationships with other individuals or groups and in responding constructively to conflict in relations. 

Course Objective #3:

Students will demonstrate knowledge of implementing a culturally responsive mindset through pedagogical practices.

  • Explain the rationale of multiculturalism in education.
  • Demonstrate a belief in equality of educational opportunity.
  • Examine the effects of cultural background on students’ performance in school.
  • Recognize and minimize self-biases about students of different backgrounds.
  • Analyze how various sources such as films, videos and books relate to multicultural issues and how they can be used in educational settings.
  • Compare and contrast the learning styles of mainstream and non-mainstream students and examine the implications for developing appropriate teaching strategies.
  • Identify and apply teaching strategies and resources to accomplish multicultural learning goals. 

Course Objective #4:

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of a multicultural curriculum instructional strategies, resources and materials, learning environment and technology.

  • Successfully plan integrated lesson plans taking into consideration the different micro-cultures.
  • Develop procedures, questions and learning activities designed to develop and stimulate critical thinking and appreciation for multiple realities and perspectives.
  • Demonstrate resourcefulness in finding, selecting, and using instructional resources.
  • Use technology to support learner-centered strategies that address the diverse needs of students. 

Course Objective # 5:

Students will understand the importance of transforming the curriculum and instructional practices to reflect equity and quality for all students.

  • Describe the rationale for incorporating instruction on socio-cultural issues of diversity.
  • Describe ways to ensure equitable practices in the classroom.
  • Demonstrate skills for adapting instructional experiences to match the needs of individual students.
  • Apply technology to increase productivity. 

Global Perspectives

The following assignment is required for the Multicultural Education for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (61-642), a required core course for all Master’s candidates in these graduate programs: Special Education; Curriculum and Instruction; Reading; and Educational Leadership.

Multicultural Media Presentation

Students explore the changing demographics of schools by examining specific micro cultural groups that populate schools in the United States. The purpose of this project is to uncover what makes us all unique by researching different customs and practices in other countries - many of whom children attend schools in the U.S.  Candidates take a deeper look at the conditions immigrant populations face both nationally and globally, prior to and after arriving in the U.S. from their home countries. Candidates present their findings in a multimedia group presentation to peers. The goal is to become aware of the impact of global conditions and policies on individuals who enter the U.S. as refugees, undocumented immigrants, and legally admitted immigrants both in their home countries and in the U.S. A strong focus is placed on the educational systems, learning challenges, and culturally responsive pedagogy.  

Candidates focus on: languages spoken, demographics, history, population, land area & location, ethnicity and demographic data, and industries. Other categories include: hobbies, past times, national pride, festivals, events, holidays, religious traditions, popular music, cultural dance, and/or entertainment, food and delicacies, and educational system. One of the lead instructors for the Multiculturalism courses (61-569 and 61-642) received the most prestigious university-wide recognition for teaching and supporting courageous conversations with civility. Dr. Everett Singleton is one of a team of dedicated education professors who broaden horizons and support reflective practice through the development of more global worldview. Below, please review a partial list of the topics and experiences candidates have which broaden their global perspectives in 61-642 and 61-569.

Topics Covered

Foundations of Multiculturalism
Building Trust
Historical Perspectives
Ethnicity & Race
Class & Socioeconomics
Gender & Sexual Orientation
Language & Linguistics
Religion & Geography
Culturally Responsive Teaching & Assessment
Youth & Trauma
Current Topics in Multicultural Education

The University offers support for and access to International experiences which broaden educators’ awareness and increase intercultural competency through its office of Study Away. For candidates from predominantly rural areas, access to rich clinical practice with students from diverse language backgrounds, or concentrated poverty, or from diverse racial, ethnic, and ability-level differences provides the richest and most complete educator preparation. For our candidates from urban and suburban settings, program leaders commit to ensuring that they will have the chance to learn and work with students from small, rural schools. This opens eyes and hearts, and requires significant institutional commitment. The institution also supports international student teaching through the office of Study Away at Northwest, and candidates routinely engage in culminating clinical experiences by student teaching in areas as diverse as Costa Rica, New Zealand/Australia/Spain/Ireland/Chile, Argentina and/or Finland. We also have an amazing and well-utilized annual study away trip the very heart of best practice in Early Learning, at a study tour in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Reggio Emilia Study Abroad Opportunity

The Reggio Emilia, Italy study group was designed specifically for small groups of graduate and undergraduate students and accompanying professors whose work with students across colleges and universities in the United States are influenced by the Reggio Emilia Approach to education. It fits well with short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs, offering students practical international experience to support their corresponding academic coursework. The experience of the Municipal Infant Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia is the subject of interest, research, and exchange on the part of students, teachers, teacher educators, researchers, administrators, and political and cultural figures from all over Italy and throughout the world. The context and history of the community is highly regarded, rooted in not only pedagogical choices but also political, cultural, and ethnic choices made following WWII in support of a new democratic society.

The Reggio Emilia, Italy study group began at Northwest Missouri State University in 2015 with two professors, four laboratory school faculty, and four students. The group has grown each year with the 2019 group consisting of 15 students. The students consist of primarily early childhood and elementary students but is open to all education majors. The study group takes place the last week of March each year and is the United States Students and Professors study group. The Loris Malaguzzi International Centre hosts many groups throughout the year and this one specifically focuses on U.S. universities and colleges. Students and professors from across the country attend the study group. During the 2019 study group representation included colleges and universities from Colorado, Washington, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.

Northwest’s early childhood department has a strong constructivist approach to early childhood education and provides students with a wealth of information about all early childhood programs. Through a network of early childhood educators, Northwest connected with the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance for information. Through this connection, the study group was developed at Northwest. The philosophy of the Reggio Emilia Approach is one that views children as eager to learn and relate. Children seek to examine, experience, and connect with people and surroundings. Adults and children thrive when there are interesting resources, complex environments, and experiences, times for the pleasure of learning and being, reciprocity, and optimism for the future. The fundamental values and principles provide that intelligent children deserve intelligent teachers, where children are honored and respected for their potential, capabilities, and humanity.

The study group consists of a walking tour of the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy, visits to the Preschool and Infant Toddler Centers of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, presentations by pedagogistas, atelieristas, and teachers on the history, identity, and principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach. The presentations include interwoven theoretical talks and analysis of projects that document experiences inside the schools. The study group also includes time at the Loris Malaguzzi International Center exploring the Bookstore, Documentation and Educational Research Center and Exhibits. Opportunities for discussion among students and professors is abundant to share information about their own context and Reggio related coursework at U.S. universities and colleges.

Students return with a deeper understanding of the educational philosophy that is based on the image of the child and that human beings possess strong potential for development and relationships. Students return with a focus on the participation of families in children’s education, the collegial work of all personnel working with children, the importance of the educational environment, and pedagogical beliefs about children and learning.

Our graduate program in Special Education provides another example in support of the case that the Northwest curriculum expands candidates’ and completers’ thinking in support of global and/or international perspectives. Below, see an assignment used to support student's global perspectives. In this case, this related to students identifying as LGBTQIA.

This work is embedded and required to meet the program outcomes and course outcomes for our Masters of Special Education, 62-635 Techniques for Conferencing and Collaboration.

Students engage with various materials regarding families:

Students then engage in a Parent/family Interview with a collaborative group, followed by threaded discussion posts. Specific parents are assigned to the groups to ensure well-rounded diverse aspects. It is currently lacking and needing to identify to add parent of students identifying as LGBTQIA. Here is the assignment:

Collaborative Group-Multicultural Parent Interview


For the Multicultural Parent/Family Interview, each group will conduct an interview with the parent(s) of a student of various cultural backgrounds. The purpose of the assignment is to gain an understanding of the attributes of cultural educational perspectives and nuances that can negatively impact family partnerships. Please note, these students may or may not have disabilities, so the focus of this assignment should be around culturally responsive teaching and collaborative practices.

Each group will be responsible for coordinating the time to conduct the parent interview, collaborating (using their assigned roles) to develop interview questions prior to conducting the parent interview, and conducting the interview as a group.  Interview questions MUST be designed prior to the interview, and the interview should last no more than 30 minutes. Upon completion of the interview, each Collaborative group will develop 2-3 discussion questions for their classmates, and moderate a discussion during this module.

Interview questions should be reflective of where each team member is in their own personal journey in understanding and meeting the needs of culturally diverse learners. It is understood that some team members may have vast experience in working in diverse communities, while others may have limited experience. This interview should serve as your opportunity to explore your personal bias, ask questions, and allow others to help you learn about the language, nuances and other factors that may be impairing your ability to reach diverse learners and their families.

Northwest content area instructors are also seeking to support diversity and inclusively through a broadened worldview, with emphasis on culturally relevant practice. World Music is now required of all our Bachelor’s of Music Education students, as it was a requirement of the National Association of Schools of Music, the programmatic accrediting body. Their response to our visit stated the an insufficiency below (which the approval and implementation of World Music remedied):

This provides an example of how the institution responded to feedback and consistently strives to improve, as well as a program-level response to an effort to find culturally responsive practices to bring people together despite differences. Music, in this sense, forms a cultural bridge.


At Northwest, candidates and completers receive opportunity to expand their global horizons with coursework requiring deep reflection and self-assessment and have access to internationalized learning (such as the Reggio Emilia study tour). In addition to rich clinical partnerships (see 4.1, and 4.2 for evidence of diverse clinical partnerships), the Northwest education programs support the expansion of global perspectives. Our completers demonstrate the impact of our robust curriculum, as evidence indicates that they demonstrate self-reflection and support for diversity, equity, and inclusive teaching practices. Click here to see the evaluation of our candidates on the culminating performance assessment, MEES, used to evaluate first-year teachers' reflective practice and support for diversity during teaching during student teaching