Preparing Globally Competent Educators Through Critically Engaging in Service-Learning

Preparing Globally Competent Educators Through Critically Engaging in Service-Learning

Tonya Huber (Texas A&M International University, USA), Elizabeth R. Sanmiguel (Texas A&M International University, USA), Lorena P. Cestou (Texas A&M International University, USA) and Mayra L. Hernandez (Texas A&M International University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4041-0.ch026
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As teacher-preparation programs educate and evaluate candidates to become globally competent instructional leaders, special attention should be given to international service-learning. Immersing teacher candidates in real-world experiences beyond their comfort zone is a cornerstone of this theoretical inquiry, including self-reflection strategies grounded on Paulo Freire's liberatory pedagogy for social justice. The research team reviews self- and cultural-awareness experiences, dispositions, and profiles of university teacher candidates, during a semester of curriculum studies affording opportunities to engage in local, local to global, and/or global/international service-learning. The discoveries will inform teacher educators as they develop and strengthen critical inquiry and service-learning components of their own courses.
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Introduction: The Funnels Through Which We Filter Our World

Teacher education is perhaps the most strategic field to engage in addressing social responsibility and justice because of the far-reaching impact of both in-service and pre-service teachers. This analysis explored the educational experiences and learning outcomes of local to global service-learning to add to the knowledge base regarding service-learning pedagogy.

As part of a university commitment to develop intercultural, international competence in teacher candidates, students critically reflect on their service-learning (SL) experiences through multiple analytical processes. This chapter evolved from graduate courses focused on curriculum methods and practitioner inquiry embedded in service-learning opportunities. Grounded on Paulo Freire’s (1970/1986) liberatory pedagogy and critical inquiry focusing on social responsibility and justice, students engaged in local, regional, and/or international service learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tharp’s Levels of Causation: Theory that acknowledges events through time as simultaneously potent in the present moment.

Cultural Awareness: Being conscious and disregarding potential biases that may be formed based on prior experiences. It is being aware that individuals possess unique ways of perceiving the world around them based on their cultural background and acknowledging those beliefs to benefit all individuals inclusively.

Dispositions: An individual’s, beliefs, morals, values, attitudes, and ethics that play a part in one’s behavior towards other people.

Conscientização/Critical Consciousness: When an individual becomes aware of his/her cultural heritage and contributions to society, recognizes him/herself as part of the society he/she lives in, engages in self-discovery through reflection, and transforms society through action.

Cultural Awareness Profile (myCAP©): A cultural awareness profile is composed of a series of four surveys that assess an individual’s cultural awareness and provides feedback on necessary steps that may be taken towards fostering the areas that may require improvement in order to become more culturally aware.

Epistemology: The branch of philosophy that explores the status of knowledge/beliefs one individual has in accordance to his/her origins.

International Service Learning: A method used for teaching and learning through means of international community service abroad, integrated in academic courses and achieved through initiating social action and post reflective debriefing. Through international service learning the student can understand the value of diverse cultures, regions, communities, families, and students.

Liberatory Pedagogy: Education that promotes awareness and critical inquiry with the objective to become informed and transform our reality.

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