Benefits of Community Engagement in an Online TESOL Course for Teachers in Globalized Spaces

Benefits of Community Engagement in an Online TESOL Course for Teachers in Globalized Spaces

Cathryn Read Crosby (Teachers College Columbia University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0871-7.ch010
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Increasingly, teachers are being asked to work with growing numbers of multilingual and multicultural students in their classrooms. This condition requires that teachers have the ability to operate in a globalized space where exchanges are plurilingual and pluricultural (Kramsch, 2008). Community engagement provides teachers an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to operate in a globalize space, and, at the same time, engage, in their local communities, and in the global communities represented in their classrooms. To better help teachers successfully work in globalized spaces, a community engagement project was implemented in an online Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) course for graduate students in the TESOL Program at a large public research university in Ohio. The two-fold purpose of the study was: 1) To prepare teachers to be successful in a global society by gaining experience working with multilingual and multicultural learners; 2) To provide teachers the opportunity to apply TESOL theory and methods when working with these learners.
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Using Lave and Wenger’s (1991) theory of communities of practice as a theoretical foundation, the chapter author created a learning and teaching community in an online TESOL course with the incorporation of the following tasks: 1) threaded group discussions focused on theory and methods of teaching TESOL; 2) group writing assignments; 3) self and peer responses to writing assignments; and 4) a community engagement project. A discussion of the community engagement project and its benefits for teachers in globalized spaces is the focus of the following sections.

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