FEd MU supports internationalization

19 Dec 2022

In the interview, Zdeněk Janík presents the internationalization activities of the Faculty of Education, Masaryk University.

1. Why is the Faculty of Education involved in internationalization?

The Faculty of Education aims to develop foreign language, intercultural and global competencies of individuals and learners so that they are able to cope in a globally and culturally interconnected world. The faculty continues to improve its internationalization environment outside the classroom and creates opportunities for mutual encounters and enrichment between foreign and domestic students and staff in order to motivate students and staff to participate in international mobility and internationalization activities at the faculty. The faculty offers academic staff participation in lectures and seminars focused on professional development in the field of internationalization, e.g. working with culturally heterogeneous groups and integration and inclusion of students in teaching.

2. What is the faculty's position on internationalization?

The faculty perceives internationalization as an integral part of the study offer, curriculum, content, and forms of teaching and supports the improvement of the international and multicultural environment of the faculty; therefore the support of mobility of learners, academic and non-academic staff, virtual mobility, mobility combining virtual and physical encounters of learners in courses and projects, COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) learner collaboration, internationalization of curricula including the creation of new foreign language courses and study programs. In 2022, a total of 8 projects focusing on COIL were implemented, involving teachers and learners from Ukraine, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and England. In total, over 70 faculty learners, 50 learners from foreign universities, and 15 teachers at home and abroad participated in online project-based learning and worked in international teams on topics such as teaching the Czech language to foreigners, language and intercultural preparation for careers in France, integration of foreigners in Czech and Dutch schools, media culture, the portrayal of cultural and social life in literature, etc.

3. How has internationalization been promoted or developed in the last 2 years?

In October 2022, the Faculty of Education opened an "International & Intercultural Corner" meeting and orientation centre for students and employees. The aim of the centre is to facilitate the onboarding of international learners to the academic environment and to promote meaningful interaction between international and domestic learners; to support the integration of international learners with faculty outside the classroom; and to prepare learners and staff for their stay abroad and motivate them to participate in internationalization (both abroad and in the faculty environment). In November 2022, the Center hosted a public discussion with students and academic personnel who shared their experience of a joint short-term internship in the Netherlands; a discussion with 16 students and academic staff from the University of Amsterdam; and one public lecture by a Fulbright Scholar and lecturers from the University of Florida.

The close cooperation and sharing of international experiences among students and academic employees of the faculty also reflect this end, three-week internships in the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy were conducted in the fall semester of 2022, with a total of 40 students, 20 academic staff, and 15 faculty from cooperating schools. The students and staff participated in observations and shared experiences in primary school settings, counselling institutions and learning centres.

The faculty supports the long-term mobility of students going for study and practical internships. In the last two years, over 190 students have travelled in this way. Emphasis is also placed on supporting teaching and internships abroad for academic and non-academic staff, with 57 and 18 staff travelling for 2020-2022 respectively. In addition to the traditional mobilities, faculty learners have engaged in combined mobilities abroad: 10 faculty learners virtually collaborated with 10 learners from Karel de Grote University in a project to support the internationalization of teaching for Primary 1, and a meeting of all participants, including teachers, took place in Belgium in December 2022. The faculty also implemented the first combined intensive mobility within the Erasmus+ BIP programme at MUNI: 5 teachers from three European countries and universities from Slovenia, Poland and the Czech Republic taught the course Nutrition and nutrition education and 22 students participated. The intensive face-to-face meeting, which was not only about nutrition education but also about intercultural experience, took place from 12 September to 16 September and was complemented by two virtual meetings. Students and teachers from abroad visited a primary school to learn about the concept and implementation of health education in the Czech Republic.

The Faculty supports the establishment of new foreign language programmes and in December 2022 a new, internationalized study programme Education for Diversity and Inclusion in English for Bachelor's degree was accredited.

4. How did the HR Award activities contribute to the development of internationalization?

In order to make the Faculty of Education more attractive to international researchers, it was necessary to adapt the existing faculty environment, for example, we can highlight the following activities:

  • Promoting greater availability of information in English through translations of selected internal standards and websites, applications to facilitate translation and language proofreading.
  • Good communication of internal processes was also supported by setting up an onboarding process and linking university and faculty information.
  • The brand of the Faculty of Education as an attractive employer was also strengthened by the creation of a Career Site. In the FAQ section, potential employees from abroad are introduced to life in the Czech Republic and Brno, and can also use the services of the International Staff Office - the university's counselling centre - which is part of the Masaryk University Center for International Cooperation coordinating international activities for the whole university.
  • Several international trips have also been made - promotion of mobility (more here).
  • One of the main objectives of internationalization is to network, and share experiences and expertise.

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