Internationalizing the Teaching of Psychology
"How can psychology professors in the USA and other nations make their courses more international?" This question is addressed in this indispensable new sourcebook, co-authored by 73 contributors and editors from 21 countries.
In recent decades psychology has evolved from an American-dominated discipline to a much more global discipline. Preliminary estimates by Zoma and Gielen (2015) suggest that approximately 76%-78% of the world’s one million or so psychologists reside outside the U.S. However, most textbooks in the field continue to rely predominantly on research conducted in North America and Europe. Our book is intended to introduce psychology instructors to a variety of broad perspectives as well as specific suggestions that can support their efforts to internationalize their course offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In this way they can prepare their students to become more culturally sensitive and function more effectively as citizens and psychologists in the evolving globalized world. To achieve these ambitious goals the editors have assembled an international group of 73 distinguished contributors who, taken together, have taught and conducted research in all regions of the world.
The chapters in the book include both core areas of psychology and subdisciplines that represent rapidly expanding and internationally important areas such as cross-cultural psychology and the psychology of gender. The chapters cover key topics and areas included in the course offerings of psychology departments both in the United States and in other countries. In addition to a discussion of international perspectives relevant to a given area, all chapters include an annotated bibliography of pertinent books, articles, web-related materials, films, videos, and so on. Based on this information, both highly experienced and less experienced psychology instructors can add globally and culturally oriented dimensions to their respective courses. This is important because universities, departments, and accrediting agencies increasingly put pressure on instructors to broaden and internationalize their courses.
"How can psychology faculty and students become more involved in international psychology?" This has become a more common question inside and outside the USA, for at least five reasons. (a) Origins. From its very origins in Europe in 1879, our "scientific study of behavior and mental life" began as an international field. (b) Growth. Over 75% of the world's psychologists became concentrated in one region (North America) through most of the 20th Century, though this has dropped sharply since 1990, to under 25% in 2016, as psychological science and practice grow much faster outside North America. (c) Diversity. Since the 1970s, we psychologists have increasingly recognized the importance of human diversity (including cultural diversity) in our teaching, research, and practice. (d) Barriers. There have been barriers separating the indigenous psychologies in 194 nations and other regions of the globe (Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America). (e) Resources. These barriers are now being reduced by new resources and technologies, such as the Internet and MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Courses).
This chapter reviews why and how we can best internationalize our psychology teaching, in six parts: (a) The remarkably international origins of psychology in the late 1800s, followed by a decline in the 1900s. (b) The overdue rise of "diversity" within psychology in the 1970s, including cross-national diversity. (c) The emerging concept of "international psychology," as a new form of diversity. (d) Some challenges to a truly international psychology. (e) Twelve suggestions for U.S. and non-U.S. faculty and students to overcome these challenges. This includes a concise overview of current resources to help new and veteran faculty and their students to deepen their involvement in international psychology: organizations, conferences, publications, websites, funding, technologies.