Achieving “Unity in Diversity”: Combining Efforts for Better Teacher Training

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The Lisbon Strategy and other EU initiatives have stimulated a growing convergence towards a European Education Agenda. All of these issues have had repercussions at different levels of education, not least of which is a tendency to reconsider and reconfigure teacher training. Arguably, a key underlying element to this shift is the promotion of student teacher mobility, providing new and challenging possibilities for future teachers to ‘shop around’ for new teaching experiences. Alongside increased student and teacher mobility, an awareness of the opportunities provided by joint teaching has helped bring about innovative projects in teacher training through combined effort of various EU universities.

It has already been argued elsewhere that teachers should have an obligatory period abroad, particularly for acquiring what might be called ‘Intercultural understanding’ With this premise in mind, the Multilateral Comenius Project SPRITE (Shared Practice in Teacher Education) was created. Its goal is to develop a mobility framework for pre-service (primary and secondary) teachers as part of an overall project ending in a joint master in teacher education in 2010. As one of the associate members of the project, the authors of this will briefly outline what has been learnt thus far about setting up such an initiative and what challenges are anticipated, focusing on the question of how to best bring about intercultural understanding in pre-service teachers in these circumstances. This is crucial; especially considering that going abroad is no guarantee that the experience will enhance intercultural understanding. In fact, it often appears to solidify previous stereotypes and negative evaluations of the host country. This paper hopes to open up discussion and debate about how EU initiatives such as joint masters and mobility programmes, both of which are inevitably on the rise, can ensure that the learning experience abroad is a positive value of the programme.

Keywords: Teacher Training, Teaching Practice, Intercultural Awareness, Internationalisation
Stream: Teacher Training and Professional Development
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Melinda Dooly

Lecturer, Department of Didactics of Language, Literature and Social Sciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Dr Melinda Dooly works at the Education Faculty, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain). She has been involved in several international projects dealing with teacher education. She has published widely in the areas of linguistic diversity, internationalization of teacher training, intercultural competence and telecollaboration and foreign language teaching.

Dr. Dolors Masats

Lecturer, Department of Didactics of Language, Literature and Social Sciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Dr Dolors Masats is a teacher trainer at the Education Faculty, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She is an expert in the role of tasks in language teaching and has conducted in-depth research in the field. She is the local coordinator of the JOMITE and SPRITE project as well as several other international projects.

Ref: L09P1083