Teaching International Relations to a Multicultural Classroom

Julia Lau Bertrand
Georgetown University

Ji-Young Lee
American University

This article argues that instructors should adopt a more multicultural perspective when designing syllabi for and teaching undergraduate courses in International Relations (IR). The examination of teaching practices in IR draws on the personal experiences of the authors as foreign natives and instructors of IR at two American universities. The authors examine whether instructors face different challenges when teaching IR to American and foreign undergraduates, and identify the pedagogical challenges of teaching multicultural, globalized and networked students. Suggestions for improving flexibility and balance in IR curricula are provided. In addition, the paper suggests that IR instructors need to be aware of language and cultural barriers in their classrooms, and of differences in students’ understanding of world events and history. The recommendations in this paper for dealing with potential western/American biases in courses might also be of interest to instructors of other subjects.

Copyright © 2019, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education