University of Calgary (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 4501-4509
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
This paper describes a cross-cultural ‘border crossing’ initiative open to all students (adult learners) enrolled in a university, Bachelor of Education, undergraduate program. Designed as an ‘optional element’ in our pre-service teacher education program, ‘Teaching Across Borders’ (TAB) provides participants the opportunity to experience the world and their place in it through an enriched, expanded, and multi-faceted lens.

By stepping beyond the comfortable and familiar, pre-service teachers travel to an international destination to engage with diverse cultures, traditions, and practices. Participating students are subsequently challenged to explore and critically reflect on tightly held notions, beliefs, and assumptions that inform their adult learning pathways and their philosophy and praxis as developing teachers.

Designed to provide participants with an opportunity to explore and engage in education initiatives located beyond their own culture and experience, ‘Teaching Across Borders’ invites pre-service teachers and host countries to engage in dialogue and knowledge sharing, in support of a deepened understanding and appreciation of cultural differences, perspectives, and praxis. Our students benefit significantly from immersing themselves in a culture vastly different from their own in that they are provided opportunities to ‘volunteer teach’ and to share their knowledge as developing teachers. Most significant is that ‘transformation’ is frequently cited by participating students after having observed and interacted with individuals, education organizations, and practices that are located beyond their home culture.

Program design elements and pedagogical underpinnings will also be elaborated on.
Learning Objectives/Outcomes: What will the audience gain from this session?
1. Share best practices and lessons learned in developing international study programs that support pre-service teachers broadening their horizons, challenging their perspectives, and experiencing living, teaching, and learning within a different cultural and context.
2. Explore the outcomes for students in relation to their developing pedagogy as pre-service teachers, outcomes that support and inform a broadened and deepened understanding of self, others, and curriculum and for an appreciation of differences.
3. Explore the reciprocal benefits and challenges experienced by participating students, host schools/teachers/classrooms, and partnering universities/colleges.
4. Share insights gained in navigating dialogues, relationships, and positive partnerships with educational organizations across international borders.

Content: Key ideas to be covered in this session?
• An overview of our pre-service teacher preparation program will be provided.
• The meaning of ‘internationalization’ within a Faculty (or School) of Education will be discussed.
•The significance of integrating ‘Teaching Across Borders’ as an optional program element for pre-service teachers will be discussed.
• How 'engaging in dialogue' supports cross-cultural understanding and collaboration will be explored.
• An overview of coursework, via distance education, that Teaching Across Borders students access and complete while in their 'away' host countries will be provided.
Teacher education, adult education, internationalisation, diversity.