10 SES 03 C, Placements in Teacher Education
The preparation of teachers for the culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms of the twenty-first century has become a major focus for teacher educators internationally (Dantas, 2007; Ochoa, 2010; Olmedo & Harbon, 2010). International teaching practice opportunities are one way in which the goal of building intercultural competence can be met and such opportunities are increasingly being made available to preservice teachers. Studies suggest that international teaching experiences can develop in participants, deeper understandings of other cultures and cultural practices and instructional practices and challenge deficit notions of difference in order to promote the use of culturally responsive pedagogies in the classroom (Brown, 2009; Dantas, 2007; Olmedo & Harbon, 2010). With the focus of research on the benefits to the participants, there has been little or no attention to the role of host teachers in the international practicum experience. When preservice teachers undertake a practicum in their home country context, it is usual for host teachers to play a supervisory role, and to be viewed as partners with university staff in teacher education. However, when preservice teachers undertake teaching placements in developing countries, the partnership between the preservice teacher, their associate teacher, and the university supervisor takes on different qualities in an unfamiliar context.
This paper draws from a larger study which was contextualised in a four week teaching practicum in the Solomon Islands by 12 female preservice teachers from an Australian university. The study had two key aims:
- To investigate how an international teaching practicum shapes pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards difference and diversity.
- To identify elements of effective international practicum experiences that contribute to the development of intercultural competence and culturally responsive practices amongst participants.
Rather than focus on the benefits of the experience for the preservice teachers, in this paper we focus on the supervising teachers who hosted the preservice teachers in their classrooms. An ongoing concern about international practicum experiences, particularly in developing countries, is the potential for ‘aid’ discourses to develop and reinforce deficit narratives about the quality of education and teaching practices in these contexts. Bourdieu’s theory of practice suggests that those who are in marginalised positions are often complicit in their marginalisation due to misrecognising the ‘system of oppressive relations in society and institutions and one’s own place in that system’ (Shim, 2012, p. 216). Drawing on poststructural theory, we consider the ways in which the preservice teachers, the host teachers and the supervising academic became complicit in a process that marginalised the host teachers from taking the usual responsibilities expected of supervising teachers, and contributed to a discourse that positioned them as incompetent to undertake this role.
Alfaro, C., & Quezada, R. L. (2010). Iinternational teacher professional development: teacher reflections of authentic teaching and learning experiences. Teaching Education, 21(1), 47-59. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital (R. Nice, Trans.). In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education (pp. 241-258). New York: Greenwood Press. Brown, L. (2009). The transformative power of the international sojourn. An ethnographic study of the international student experience. Annals of Tourism Research, 36(3), 502-521. Dantas, M. L. (2007). Building teacher competency to work with diverse learners in the context of international education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 34(1), 75-94. Knight, J. (22012). Student mobility and internationalization: trends and tribulations. Research in Comparative and International Education, 7(1), 20-33. Ochoa, A. M. (2010). International education in higher education: a developing process of engagement in teacher preparation programs. Teaching Education, 21(1), 102-112. Olmedo, I., & Harbon, L. (2010). Broadening our sights: internationalizing teacher education for a global arena. Teaching Education, 21(1), 75-88. Shim, J. M. (2012). Pierre Bourdieu and intercultural education: it is not just about lack of knowledge about others. Intercultural Education 23(2), 209-220. Van ‘t Klooster, E., van Wijk, J., Go, F., & van Rekom, J. (2008). Educational travel. The overseas internship. Annals of Tourism Research, 35(3), 690-711.
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