Academic journal article Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue

Resonating Effects of Cross-Cultural Teaching

Academic journal article Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue

Resonating Effects of Cross-Cultural Teaching

Article excerpt

Study abroad experiences have increasingly become more prominent within preservice teacher education programs in North American schools of Education. These cultural experiences have been cultivated for student teachers in response to an existing cultural and social gap between a largely Caucasian, middle-class, and English-speaking teacher population (Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005) and growing culturally and linguistically pluralistic societies (Statistics Canada, 2008; United States Census Bureau, 2003a, 2003b). Study abroad experiences for student teachers are aligned with standards and recommendations related to diversity and globalization (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2008). Moreover, the impact of study abroad programs has been linked to the reinforcement of cultural competence in future teachers (Cushner & Brennan, 2007a), the development of their cultural, linguistic, and global proficiency (Quezada, 2007; Schlein, 2009), and the expansion of their perspectives on issues of race, class, and gender (Malewski & Phillion, 2009).

While the literature on study abroad exhibits the promotion of increased intercultural competence in preservice educators arising from limited periods of engagement in foreign schools, it is of further significance to gain insight into the particularities of such experiences to shed light on the factors of intercultural teaching that may affect teachers. Additionally, a long-term, concrete, and experiential perspective on teacher education opportunities in foreign cultures has the potential to highlight enduring significance for teaching diverse learners within a globalized world. As such, preservice teacher education endeavors abroad may be interpreted as a professional development activity with lasting outcomes.

In this article, I discuss the findings of a narrative inquiry into my socialization to teaching across Japan and Canada. Through the presentation and analysis of teaching scenarios in Asian and North American school settings, I illuminate experiences that raise awareness of the interconnection between culture and education and illustrate cross-cultural teaching as a prime method for shifting teachers' cultural vantages. Additionally, I consider the resonating outcomes of cross-cultural teaching in terms of ameliorating teaching amongst culturally diverse students.

OBJECTIVES

The central goal of my study was to gain insight into my professional experiences of cross-cultural teaching. In particular, I set out to demonstrate the possibilities of intercultural teaching for enhancing engagement in culturally relevant schooling; to explore the dynamics of culture and curricula in different contexts; and to highlight the use of teachers' stories for studying cross-cultural professional development. Through examination of intercultural experiential narratives, I aimed to examine intercultural teaching as teacher development for re-envisioning representations of Western cultures in multicultural North American classrooms, and as preparation for work with diverse learners.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

I performed my investigation in accordance with Clandinin and Connelly's (2000) narrative inquiry approach. This inquiry tradition provided a framework for investigating lived curricular scenarios and collecting experiential stories as data. Dewey's (1938) theories regarding the association between education and experience were integral to building a rationale for conducting an experiential inquiry. My research was also informed by Schwab's (1969, 1971) practical vision of curriculum theorizing and his conception of the curricular commonplaces. These pragmatic facets of curricular situations guided my thinking and my data analysis.

This investigation was also influenced by several principal theoretical resources. I consulted the literature on self-studies in teaching and teacher education to enhance the collection and analysis of my curricular narratives (Austin & Senese, 2004; Loughran, 2004). …

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