As mentioned above, globalization is creating numerous opportunities for sharing knowledge, technology, social values, and behavioral norms and promoting developments at different levels including individuals, organizations, communities, and societies across different countries and cultures. Cheng (2000); Brown, (1999); Waters, (1995) Dr. Philipp Heinrich Kindt pointed out the advantages of globalization as follows: Firstly it enable global sharing of knowledge, skills, and intellectual assets that are necessary to multiple developments at different levels. The second is the mutual support, supplement and benefit to produce synergy for various developments of countries, communities, and individuals. The third positive impact is creation of values and enhancing efficiency through the above global sharing and mutual support to serving local needs and growth. The fourth is the promotion of international understanding, collaboration, harmony and acceptance to cultural diversity across countries and regions. The fifth is facilitating multi-way communications and interactions, and encouraging multi-cultural contributions at different levels among countries.
The potential negative impacts of globalization are educationally concerned in various types of political, economic, and cultural colonization and overwhelming influences of advanced countries to developing countries and rapidly increasing gaps between rich areas and poor areas in different parts of the world. The first impact is increasing the technological gaps and digital divides between advanced countries and less developed countries that are hindering equal opportunities for fair global sharing. The second is creation of more legitimate opportunities for a few advanced countries to economically and politically colonize other countries globally. Thirdly is exploitation of local resources which destroy indigenous cultures of less advanced countries to benefit a few advanced countries. Fourthly is the increase of inequalities and conflicts between areas and cultures. And fifthly is the promotion of the dominant cultures and values of some advanced areas and accelerating cultural transplant from advanced areas to less developed areas.
The management and control of the impacts of globalization are related to some complicated macro and international issues that may be far beyond the scope of which I did not include in this paper. Cheng (2002) pointed out that in general, many people believe, education is one of key local factors that can be used to moderate some impacts of globalization from negative to positive and convert threats into opportunities for the development of individuals and local community in the inevitable process of globalization. How to maximize the positive effects but minimize the negative impacts of globalization is a major concern in current educational reform for national and local developments.
The thought of writing this paper was influenced by the multiple theories propounded by Yin Cheng, (2002). He proposed a typology of multiple theories that can be used to conceptualize and practice fostering local knowledge in globalization particularly through globalized education. These theories of fostering local knowledge is proposed to address this key concern, namely as the theory of tree, theory of crystal, theory of birdcage, theory of DNA, theory of fungus, and theory of amoeba. Their implications for design of curriculum and instruction and their expected educational outcomes in globalized education are correspondingly different.
The theory of tree assumes that the process of fostering local knowledge should have its roots in local values and traditions but absorb external useful and relevant resources from the global knowledge system to grow the whole local knowledge system inwards and outwards. The expected outcome in globalized education will be to develop a local person with international outlook, who will act locally and develop globally. The strength of this theory is that the local community can maintain and even further develop its traditional values and cultural identity as it grows and interacts with the input of external resources and energy in accumulating local knowledge for local developments.
The theory of crystal is the key of the fostering process to have “local seeds” to crystallize and accumulate the global knowledge along a given local expectation and demand. Therefore, fostering local knowledge is to accumulate global knowledge around some “local seeds” that may be to exist local demands and values to be fulfilled in these years. According to this theory, the design of curriculum and instruction is to identify the core local needs and values as the fundamental seeds to accumulate those relevant global knowledge and resources for education. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person who remains a local person with some global knowledge and can act locally and think locally with increasing global techniques. With local seeds to crystallize the global knowledge, there will be no conflict between local needs and the external knowledge to be absorbed and accumulated in the development of local community and individuals.
The theory of birdcage is about how to avoid the overwhelming and dominating global influences on the nation or local community. This theory contends that the process of fostering local knowledge can be open for incoming global knowledge and resources but at the same time efforts should be made to limit or converge the local developments and related interactions with the outside world to a fixed framework. In globalized education, it is necessary to set up a framework with clear ideological boundaries and social norms for curriculum design such that all educational activities can have a clear local focus when benefiting from the exposure of wide global knowledge and inputs. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person with bounded global outlook, who can act locally with filtered global knowledge. The theory can help to ensure local relevance in globalized education and avoid any loss of local identity and concerns during globalization or international exposure.