Cultivating the International: Diversity and Internationalization in the Work of Pre-Service Teacher Education Candidates’ Autobiographies
Teacher education in the US seeking to develop strategies that enhance the beginning teacher’s repertoire of diversity, has increased capacity of teaching behavior to expand the educative experiences and achievement of students from a plurality of ethnicity and racial backgrounds (Banks, 1994, 2002; Nieto, 1992, 96, 06). Other efforts have used ‘reflective practice’ (Ferraro, 2000; Shon, 1996;) to enable teacher candidates to build upon practice through a process of self-inquiry and learning. Combining the building of capacity through self- inquiry, with the use of the culture contact autobiography since the 1990s, these authors have sought to address the recovery of influential culture contact experiences, as a means of penetrating the layered practices of ethnocentrism, and projecting other positive behaviors for future educators (Henry, 1996, 1999).
This latest research effort examines diversity-rich, student-generated culture contact autobiographies for similar realizations of internationalization. A sample of ten: five highly scored, five random evaluated; student–generated, culture contact autobiographies were selected for analysis. The analysis utilized descriptive data mining, in a narrative analysis of connections between ‘diversity enrichment’ experiences and ‘international realizations’. Reported are the instances and connected meanings (to lived experiences) of how internationalization appears from the perspectives of these teacher candidates. We searched for the statements reflecting a depth of internationalization awareness in this part of the teacher education experience. Emergent themes include students: 1) drawing from their own (single and multiple ethnic heritage) backgrounds to inform their practice of diversity, 2) using international experiences, especially study abroad, to develop responses to specific issues in the multi-ethnic classroom, and 3) relating their own international cultural immersion to language and culture learning for immigrant and migrant students. Recommendations are made for further refinement and improvement of developing diversity and internationalization approaches for prospective classroom teachers.
Keywords: Internationalization, Teacher Education, Diversity
Dr. Samuel D. Henry
Associate Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education, State of Oregon/ Portland State University
Doctoral Student & Adjunct Instructor, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University