A Case Study of the Influence of Cross-Cultural Learning and Teaching Experiences on Pre-Service Teachers' Perception of Teachers' Professional Standards

By Na, Wu | Canadian Social Science, January 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

A Case Study of the Influence of Cross-Cultural Learning and Teaching Experiences on Pre-Service Teachers' Perception of Teachers' Professional Standards


Na, Wu, Canadian Social Science


Abstract

Under the aegis of a Canadian SSHRC project, The Reciprocal Learning in Teacher Education and School Education between China and Canada (RLTESECC), a group of Chinese pre-service teachers joined a three -month exchange immersion program in Canada, and had opportunities to attend university teacher education courses, work with local secondary teachers, and participant in education-related activities and events. This cross-cultural learning and teaching experience not only enriched these Chinese pre-service teachers' cultural understanding, strengthen their English expression abilities, enrich their pedagogical knowledge and skills, but also changed their opinions on teachers between eastern and western more or less, leading to their new perspectives regarding teaching profession. This paper aims to explore the impact of this crosscultural program on pre-service teachers' perception of teachers' qualities and teaching professional standards. Through surveys by questionnaire, interview, and participants' reflections, the study found that some changes happened in pre-service teachers' perception and understanding of elementary and secondary teachers' qualities before and after they went abroad. And the causes of these changes are also discussed in this study. Findings of this study have practical implications for construction and implementation of teacher professional standards and pre-service teacher education for both China and Canada.

Key words: SWU exchange pre-service teachers; Learning and teaching in Canada; Change; Perception and understanding; Teachers' professional standards

INTRODUCTION

Building a high-quality teacher education system relevant to 21st Century social and economic realities has become a top priority for most governments and nations. Reforming teacher education systems within a context of everdeepening globalization requires extensive collaboration, close teamwork and effective coordination among countries. China has also been engaged in international cooperation in teacher education recent years; a series of cross-cultural teacher education programs have been established by the joint efforts of China and other countries. A Sino-Canadian teacher education exchange program, The Reciprocal Learning in Teacher Education and School Education between China and Canada (RLTESECC), was established in 2013, developed from the former 3-year cooperative program from 2011 to 2013 UW-SWU Teacher Education Reciprocal Learning Program between a Chinese normal university, Southwest University (SWU), and a Canadian University, University of Windsor (UW). The RLTESECC program involves two Canadian and five Chinese universities, two Canadian school boards and over forty Canadian and Chinese schools, and is advised by an International Advisory Committee from China, Singapore, Austria and the USA.

This Sino-Canadian cooperative program not only enhances knowledge and experience exchanges in teacher education between two countries, but also provides both counties' pre-service teachers opportunities of learning and teaching in foreign countries, especially for Chinese pre-service teachers in south China (where SWU locates), who have fewer chances to experience western education culture in person. Although Chinese pre-service teachers without foreign leaning experience can also gain information about western education and teaching professions indirectly through reading books and watching films, there are also misunderstanding and stereotypes existing in Chinese educators and researchers mind.

For Chinese teachers, including pre-service teacher who has not entered into practical teaching field, their strong desire of acquiring advanced education knowledge and efficient teaching strategies is aroused by the misleading thought that "west is the best" (Ilieva, 2010), since most of theoretical knowledge about learning and teaching they learned is originated from western culture and philosophy. …

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