CULTURAL COMPETENCE IN TEACHER EDUCATION: BEYOND THE STEREOTYPES VIA TECHNOLOGICAL STUDY ABROAD

G. Helguero-Balcells

Florida Atlantic University / Walden University (UNITED STATES)
As one prepares teacher candidates it is imperative that they be given the tools for addressing all the students that could enter their classrooms. Culturally sensitive curricula are critical in addition to breaking the stereotypical concepts via having candidates do a study abroad be is via actually traveling or virtually. With this experience what needs to be coupled is the acquisition of the host country’s language which will increase the sensitivity of the future educator towards their learners. When speaking of cultural competencies one needs to address the following issues: critical reflection, understanding and demand of respect for other viewpoints, accommodation of the learning and evaluator styles of the learners, comprehension of intercultural communication skills, selection of activities and format of imparting the lessons, and finally creating an environment that is a cultural exchange at the level of daily living and not the stereotypical. Although, the best manner of learning about a culture and learning the language is actually being there, with the use of technology it is another manner which can be structured to simulate the experience. Virtual experience would have to be structured in such a manner that the individual is required to partake of certain activities which are not the customer experiences, one of which would be to connect with a school and interact with a teacher, a class, or both so as to get an understanding of how education in another country is structured.