Promoting Intercultural Competence in Professional Spaces
Education Abroad Experiences in England for Social Studies Pre-Service Teachers
This article presents a qualitative case study of U.S. social studies pre-service teachers (PSTs) interning in England. We explore how these experiences influence their teaching and their orientation towards culture and cultural difference, and how the structure of education abroad programs are designed to support growth in cultural competence and orientations towards teaching history. Participants are enrolled in a teacher education program that affords social studies PSTs an opportunity to study abroad in England post-student teaching. For this study the developmental model of intercultural sensitivity (DMIS) provided the conceptual frame to explore intercultural competence as it presents a continuum of ethnocentric to ethnorelative perspectives (Hammer & Bennett, 2003). Using this conceptual framework, data were collected from 32 social studies PSTs representing three annual cohorts who participated in the education abroad program from 2015-2017. Data from weekly student journals were captured and qualitatively analyzed. Participants wrote journal entries prior to departure, while abroad, and upon reentry to the United States in response to instructor generated prompts. Three broad themes emerged across the data: (1) living and interning in English society challenged facets of PSTs’ cultural identity and professional practices, (2) PSTs more critically examined their orientation towards social studies education as a discipline, and (3) PSTs expanded their awareness of broader educational issues and concerns. Implications offer insight to how education abroad programs impact pre-service social studies teachers’ pedagogical practices.
Copyright (c) 2019 Ian M. McGregor, Alan S. Marcus, David M. Moss
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