Papers from Moving Beyond Mobility Conference, Berlin 2008
Learning Globally, Teaching Locally
Incorporating International Exchange and Intercultural Learning into Pre-Service Teacher Training
Lynne Masel Walters, Ph.D.
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas, USA
Barbara Garii, Ph.D.
State University of New York at Oswego
Oswego, New York USA
Timothy Walters, Ph.D.
American University of Sharjah
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
As the US student population becomes increasingly diverse, teacher education programs need to enable prospective teachers to meet the varied needs and expectations of students and families, while, simultaneously, creating viable classroom communities. Learning opportunities, such as travel and teaching abroad, and the perceptions of “otherness” this creates, lead to new perspectives regarding human differences. Such experiences, if wisely structured, can rectify misconceptions and reverse stereotypes. This paper explores the impact of teaching-related travel on novice teachers’ cultural understandings and professional identity. The paper will discuss how prospective teachers challenge their perceptions of their professional self through international field experiences. The goal is to begin a discussion that explores the internationalization of teacher training. We will also discuss the role such training can play in the expansion and increased flexibility of classroom practices for teachers and, through them, the growth in international awareness and the intercultural sensitivity of their students.