About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3710-3714
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain

"A SMILE IS A SMILE IN ANY LANGUAGE": USING MOODLE TO EXPLORE PRESERVICE TEACHER PERCEPTIONS ABOUT LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE IN ONLINE LITERATURE CIRCLE DISCUSSIONS

P. Sowa1, C. Schmidt2

1Zayed University (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
2University of Missouri Kansas City (UNITED STATES)
The purpose of this research study is to explore preservice teacher perceptions of language and culture in multicultural children's and adolescent literature books. The research project is a study of an online discussion of these literature books among preservice teachers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States (US). The researchers sought to have preservice teachers create communities of learning through online discussions, open students’ minds to learning about other cultures and countries, as well as different ways of seeing through discussions of children’s literature which raised social issues. The information communication technology tool Moodle was used for the online discussions which were held over a period of 4 weeks. The participants consisted of 14 preservice teachers from the UAE and the 28 preservice teachers from the US who were taking literacy courses. The preservice teachers read and discussed the following books: Painted Words, Spoken Memories by Aliki, which is a picture book, and two chapter books; The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph, and Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat. All three books have a literacy based theme.

The research literature we used to develop this qualitative research study includes literature on the importance of multicultural literature, and literature circles in developing awareness of other languages and other cultures (Au, 2000; Galda, Ash, & Cullinan, 2000, Gay, Nieto, 2002; Cochran-Smith, 2004 Kurkjian & Livingston, 2007). We also drew from the knowledge base on intercultural communication (McDaniel, Samovar & Porter, 2009) and the use of information technology and online discussions in teacher education (Killian and Willhite, 2003; Koc et al. 2009).

The data consisted of student discussions, reflection papers and an open-ended survey. The survey was completed a week after the online discussions ended. Students were asked to describe their experiences and discuss what they learned from the books and each other. We coded for emerging themes and patterns using constant comparison methods and discourse analysis (Bogden & Bicklen, 1992; Gee, 2001; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Findings from the study indicate that students from both countries became more aware of their cultures and the cultures of others, leading them to be more globally aware. In addition, the majority of preservice teachers noted that the authors' use of language served to make themes and social issues in the books more vivid. Students also discussed at length the theme and social issue of using language to fight those in power. Preservice teachers from both cultures shared the same goals—to prepare their future students to be literate and thoughtful citizens of a world that is increasingly diverse, requires higher standards for communication, and allows for greater acceptance and tolerance of those who appear to be different from themselves. This study is significant because it moves preservice teachers out of narrow, classroom-bound forms of learning, into forming online communities from which they learned first hand, about the life experiences and cultures of other people.
@InProceedings{SOWA2010AS,
author = {Sowa, P. and Schmidt, C.},
title = {"A SMILE IS A SMILE IN ANY LANGUAGE": USING MOODLE TO EXPLORE PRESERVICE TEACHER PERCEPTIONS ABOUT LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE IN ONLINE LITERATURE CIRCLE DISCUSSIONS},
series = {3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-2439-9},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {15-17 November, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {3710-3714}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Sowa AU - C. Schmidt
TI - "A SMILE IS A SMILE IN ANY LANGUAGE": USING MOODLE TO EXPLORE PRESERVICE TEACHER PERCEPTIONS ABOUT LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE IN ONLINE LITERATURE CIRCLE DISCUSSIONS
SN - 978-84-614-2439-9/2340-1095
PY - 2010
Y1 - 15-17 November, 2010
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2010 Proceedings
SP - 3710
EP - 3714
ER -
P. Sowa, C. Schmidt (2010) "A SMILE IS A SMILE IN ANY LANGUAGE": USING MOODLE TO EXPLORE PRESERVICE TEACHER PERCEPTIONS ABOUT LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE IN ONLINE LITERATURE CIRCLE DISCUSSIONS, ICERI2010 Proceedings, pp. 3710-3714.
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