Glocal Network Shifts

Exploring Language Policies and Practices in International Schools


  • Esther Bettney Wisconsin Center for Educational Research (USA)
  • Jon Nordmeyer Wisconsin Center for Educational Research (USA)


international schools, glocalization , community of practice, language ideologies, language practices, language policies


In this article, we explore glocality within a transnational network of independent schools to understand the interdependence of the global and the local in language policies and practices. Using glocality as a lens, we draw on narrative school profiles written by educators at member schools within the WIDA International School Consortium, a network of 500 K-12 international schools, to examine how global practices are localized within different school contexts. We explore how key aspects of glocality, such as the blurring of boundaries across languages and shifting dynamics of power, become visible as international schools function as hybrid and transnational spaces in which diverse languages and identities intersect. We utilize our role as insider researchers to describe two new directions within our research context. First, we identify a shift from a global network initiated through US-based school-university partnerships towards an increasingly reciprocal exchange among international member schools, with reflexive sharing of ideas and practices between educators and stakeholders across geographic contexts. Second, we identify the increasing presence of a new type of international schools, described in this paper as “glocal” schools, which reflect the deterritorialization of language and an intentional hybridity. The emergence of glocal schools as well as the noted shifts in language and power, illustrate the transcendence of borders and identities closely tied to the concept of glocality. In order to understand the trends observed in this research context, we analyzed 34 narrative school profiles written by member schools and describe connections between macro network-level shifts and micro school-level shifts. Through our analysis, we found individual member schools adapted tools and resources to serve local needs, contextualizing them within a particular program context. As a result, educators shifted how they viewed multilingual learners and multilingualism with respect to English as a medium of instruction. This initial study provides important insights into how glocality as a construct helps explain significant changes occurring within the field of international education.