What Is It All For?
The Intentions and Priorities for Study Abroad in Canadian Teacher Education
Keywords:Teacher education, Study abroad, International practicum, Pre-service teachers
Within the research literature and in public discourse on higher education, attention has focused on the need for new graduates to develop 21st century skills for success in an increasingly globalized world. Calls for institutions of higher education to support student mobility abound, with intentions that some have categorized as neoliberal and others ascribe to notions of global citizenship. In this paper, we bring together literature from the fields of internationalization, teacher education, and study abroad to provide a conceptual framing and response to an inquiry into the following research question: In what ways does a study abroad experience support the development of preservice teachers? Through a multi-phase, multiple-perspective case study approach, we draw on qualitative interview data to illuminate how faculties of education and their students conceptualize the role of study abroad in the development of preservice teachers. The intentions for these programs cluster under four themes: global citizenship, personal growth, professional development, and employability. The concept of structured encounters with difference emerges out of these themes as a conceptual frame for future study abroad initiatives.
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