Constructive Disequilibrium and Transformative Pedagogy Developing Global Citizens in Faraway Spaces

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Andrew Nalani
Christina Gómez
Andrew Garrod


In this reflective essay we examined the experiences of a group of students from a small liberal arts college in the United States on a study abroad program to the Marshall Islands to intern as preservice teachers in Marshallese schools. Specifically, we examined 32 students’ critical reflections written once they returned from their programs. We interrogated their understanding of themselves regarding their privilege as American students and the inequality between the two nations. Through their teaching of Marshallese students, they deeply questioned the meaning of privilege, culture, identity, and community. We interpreted these experiences through the lens of transformative learning theory and the notion of constructive disequilibrium. When critical-transformative pedagogies inform these experiences, they nudge students out of their comfort zone and offer them opportunities to consider new possibilities that widen their life trajectories and develop global citizenship. We conclude with advocating for the importance of study abroad experiences.


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How to Cite
Nalani, A. ., Gómez, C., & Garrod, A. (2021). Constructive Disequilibrium and Transformative Pedagogy: Developing Global Citizens in Faraway Spaces. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 21(4).
Pedagogy of the Polarized
Author Biographies

Andrew Nalani, New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

Andrew Nalani is a doctoral student in the Department of Applied Psychology at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. His research threads together theories and developmental and community psychology methods to design and evaluate transformative programs that promote positive youth development. He is part of the research and evaluation team for the Listening Project (supervised by Drs. Hirokazu Yoshikawa and Niobe Way) and a research assistant with SAFE Spaces (Systems Aligning for Equity, supervised by Drs. Erin Godfrey and Shabnam Javdani). A skilled group facilitator and former youth worker, Andrew also maintains a research-practice collaboration with an international non-profit, Partners for Youth Empowerment. Andrew holds a Master's in Education (Human Development and Psychology) from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College.

Christina Gómez, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)

Christina Gómez is a Professor and Chair of the Liberal Arts Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).  Her research focuses on racial identity construction in the United States, discrimination, immigration, and undocumented students.  She is the author of numerous articles, and two edited books: Mi Voz, Mi Vida: Latino College Students Tell Their Life Stories (2007), a book of essays written by students about growing up Latino in this country, and Mixed: Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories (2014), a book about students who identify themselves as multiracial. Christina received her B.A. and MBA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Sociology.  She has received numerous prizes and fellowships, including the Henry Luce Scholars Fellowship, Social Science Research Council Grant, and a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Christina is a member of the PNAP Teaching Collective at Stateville Maximum Prison and sits on the board of NEIU - El Centro’s Advisory Board.

Andrew Garrod, Dartmouth College

Andrew Garrod is a professor of education emeritus, former chair of the Department of Education, and director of teacher education at Dartmouth College. Garrod’s research in the fields of education and human development focused on cross-cultural applicability of moral development theory and on the use of personal narrative to explore issues of development. As director of the Dartmouth teacher education program, Garrod also led teacher-training programs for many years globally. His work in autobiographical narrative at the College led him to publish more than a dozen collections of Dartmouth students’ writing with a focus on distinct cultural perspectives. Recent works include Mixed: Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories (2013); Growing Up Muslim: Muslim College Students in America Tell Their Life Stories (2014); and in April this year, I Am Where I Come From: Native American College Students and Graduates Tell Their Life Stories (2017).


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