Engaging students for global citizenship: Diverse conceptions and cohesive vision

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


This presentation sheds light on the pedagogical innovations which engage students for global citizenship by examining the diverse conceptions of “global citizenship” among university teachers and students. Employing the empirical example of the Education University of Hong Kong, this research investigates and compares the conceptions of global citizenship of instructors (in course design, learning outcomes, instruction and assessment) and those of students with relevance to their disciplinary and pedagogical training.
Around 10 courses related to global citizenship across the faculties of education, humanities, liberal arts and social sciences were selected for case studies. Instructors of the selected courses were invited for the first qualitative interviews in order to seek the common themes, rationales and visions of their conceptions of global citizenship. Afterwards, focus groups with one to two students from each of the 15 Bachelor of Education programmes were conducted to facilitate their reflections on the acquisition of global perspectives as a generic skill and their knowledge of global citizenship. After finishing the interviews with students, follow-up qualitative interviews were carried out to report the key findings from the student reflective interviews so that the instructors could become acquainted with the students’ perspectives and see how the research findings could inform their course updating and future delivery.
The research found that instructors have different objectives in teaching global citizenship in their courses, ranging from cultivating students’ critical thinking (reflecting both positive and negative sides of globalization), to introducing the humanistic dimension of global citizenship (such as tolerating cultural and national differences) and practising global citizenship for progress in Hong Kong society. Some instructors stated that social class makes a difference in practising global citizenship – students from the middle class have greater exposure to global issues and have a better opportunity to consider a global citizenship-related career pathway which tends to be more “post-materialist”. It was agreed that overseas internship/exchange or volunteering programmes can enable students to be exposed to more global issues and broaden their international perspective.
Based on the results of the Global Citizenship Scale (Morais & Ogden, 2011) and interview data, students in general showed awareness about global issues, for instance global inequalities and environment problems. Most of them demonstrated high global competence, with open minds and communication skills to engage in intercultural interaction with people from different countries. Many of the students in the sample had participated in overseas internship/exchange/volunteer programmes. Through their overseas experiential learning, the students reported that they could practise global citizenship when they encountered people from different cultural backgrounds.
Some instructors suggested that institutional coordination for the global citizenship framework and the central provision of teaching resources could help the delivery of global citizenship education. Also, from the student perspective, learning from involvement in overseas programmes has a greater impact on their learning experience. A cohesive framework is proposed, spanning across various modes of learning, that democratically captures the varied understandings, discourses and conceptions of global citizenship. Copyright © 2019 International Conference on Open and Innovative Education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
EventInternational Conference on Open and Innovative Education - The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 10 Jul 201912 Jul 2019


ConferenceInternational Conference on Open and Innovative Education
Abbreviated titleICOIE 2019
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
Internet address


Tang, H. H. H. (2019, July). Engaging students for global citizenship: Diverse conceptions and cohesive vision. Paper presented at the International Conference on Open and Innovative Education (ICOIE 2019), The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


  • TDG project code: T0202
  • Period: TDG 2017-2018
  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG)
  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG) Output


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