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ERIC Number: EJ1157418
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
Building Teacher Interculturality: Student Partnerships in University Classrooms
Smolcic, Elizabeth; Arends, Jessica
Teacher Education Quarterly, v44 n4 p51-73 Fall 2017
The "achievement gap" for English learners and those of marginalized groups has been documented for well over a decade. It is widely recognized that socioeconomic status, language, and the fluid construct of culture play significant roles in school learning. However, despite the dismal academic progress of students learning English in U.S. classrooms and the rapidly diversifying student demographic, teachers who enter the profession continue to be predominantly White and monolingual with little or no intercultural experience. Such a critical lack of experience may lead teachers to view diversity as a problem rather than a resource. Central to successful implementation of pedagogies for instruction of English learners is a capacity to recognize how cultural and linguistic background shape learning and to utilize cultural differences to develop meaningful learning experiences for all students. This capacity may be included in the notion of intercultural competence or "interculturality", for which there exists a range of theoretical constructs, emerging from a variety of fields. Therefore part of the desired preparation for teachers who will work with English learners (and, more broadly, "all" teachers working in public school classrooms) should include knowledge, skills, and experience that contribute to intercultural competence and the development of a teaching practice that is responsive to students of other linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Teacher educators who have taken up the call to move teachers toward interculturality face a complex challenge. It can be especially daunting in a university that is predominantly White (situated within a mostly culturally and racially homogeneous community), in part because these conditions afford few openings to question one's own cultural, racial, and linguistic identity and the privilege that comes with it. In responding to these issues, the authors decided to collaborate to develop a course-embedded student partnership among students in their respective courses: preservice teachers and international students who were learning English themselves. The partnership experience was not always comfortable for the preservice teachers, but their reflections made clear that the work with international partners stimulated an introspective process and cultural self-awareness that may not have come about through traditional course readings and discussions, nor through field experience in public school classrooms, where the attention is appropriately focused on teaching and the learners.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A