World Class: One Mother’s Journey Halfway Around the Globe in Search of the Best Education for Her Children


 Presenter (s) Teru Clavel

In World Class, Teru Clavel (MA, International and Comparative Education, Drexel University, 2015) uses the tools and knowledge from the field of International and Comparative Education to offer a research-based analysis of her children’s experiences in the public schools of Hong Kong (2006-2010), Shanghai (2010-2012), Tokyo (2012-2016), and Palo Alto (2016-2018). This book covers a wide gamut of curricular and pedagogical practices in these countries, based on the diverse governance, funding, and context of each education system.

A panel launching this book at CIES would be sure to attract a variety of the conference’s regular attendees, such as the East Asia SIG, the Early Childhood Development SIG, Globalization and Education SIG, Study Abroad and International Studies SIG, and Teacher Comparative Education SIG. This book offers three special features that will be of interest to the above attendees:

1) Special attention is paid to both research and first-hand observations on the formation, recruitment, and retention of high-quality teachers in all four countries. The US falls last of the four in prioritizing recruiting the nation’s most accomplished university students to take up the mantel of teaching in their professional lives.

2) The author’s children each attended preschool and most of elementary school outside of the US, she focuses on Early Childhood Education practices in all four countries, backed up by the latest research on the topic.

3) The author’s message is to encourage the cultivation of global competency among all the world’s children, but she is especially focused on ways to accomplish this in the US, which is currently in the middle of a nationalistic and isolationist moment. Her book offers tips for parents for how to incorporate these practices and values into their daily lives.

4) In line with the previous item, the book does a straight-up comparison between US and Chinese students’ study abroad experiences, based on her consulting experiences with university-bound students in both countries. Chinese students were globally minded and driven to attend the best universities in the world, no matter what country they have to move to. US students participate in any study abroad in small numbers, and seldom take advantage of opportunities to learn a second language or acquire inter-cultural communication skills as part of their study abroad experience.

A book launch of Clavel’s book at CIES would provide a way for participants to engage in discussion about multiple topics related to comparative and international education, while exploring the human-level decisions that go into navigating school choices at home and abroad. The conversation is sure to be lively and, perhaps, controversial as scholars from different nations interpret various education systems in different ways.

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