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ERIC Number: EJ859996
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1245
Pen Pals without Borders: A Cultural Exchange of Teaching and Learning
McMillon, Gwendolyn Michele Thompson
Education and Urban Society, v42 n1 p119-135 2009
When teachers and students are from different cultures, dissonance can occur in classrooms, which can be debilitating for effective literacy teaching and learning. Researchers have conducted studies in urban schools for many years, but the problem of cultural dissonance continues to plague many classrooms. It is imperative that teacher education programs develop creative, effective ways to prepare the teaching population to meet the needs of a diverse student population. This article reports the findings of a pen pal cultural exchange project between 40 predominantly White, female, preservice teachers in an elementary reading methods course, and 26 predominantly Black, fourth graders in an urban elementary school. The study analyzes 336 letters (154 children letters and 182 adult letters) to identity overarching themes. The content of the letters are analyzed using discourse analysis. The three most frequently found themes are shared experiences, overcoming adversities, and cultural practices and experiences. This study provides specific, practical methods for teacher educators to utilize in their courses and to help teachers and teacher candidates acquire important cultural knowledge and develop skills that prepare them to effectively teach the diverse student population in the United States. In particular, it provides a framework and specific ways to implement a pen pal cultural exchange project between preservice teachers and elementary students--students from two different worlds who became "border-crossers". (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A