Study Abroad Australia: Practice and Research

Study Abroad Australia: Practice and Research

Johnell Bentz (University of Illinois, USA), Jamie N. Pearson (University of Illinois, USA) and Allison Witt (University of Illinois, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1057-4.ch006
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Abstract

Research findings suggest that teaching experiences abroad have a significant impact on participant outcomes and perceptions; however, findings have also indicated that short-term experiences in particular, may not have the same impact as long-term study abroad experiences. This chapter highlights the facilitators and challenges of planning and developing a short-term, faculty-led experience abroad to Australia for preservice teachers. This three-week study abroad experience included immersive experiences and a commitment to critically examining issues surrounding diversity. The authors also describe a research study that was embedded in the study abroad program, known as Photovoice. Photovoice was employed as a means to document the preservice teachers' experiences and perceptions related to diversity. Participant photos and descriptions represent student perceptions of how diversity is represented in Australian schools and society.
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Study Abroad Experiences For Preservice Teachers

In this age of globalization, teachers must strive to instill global citizenship and global mindedness into classrooms comprised of an ever more diverse student body. To do so, teachers need both global and multicultural competencies, which are sometimes overlapping, yet distinct skill sets (Gay, 2010). Teacher education programs have attempted to prepare their preservice teachers for the modern globalized classroom by incorporating an increased focus on the impact of globalization, international education systems, and other global educational topics. In addition, teacher preparation programs are increasingly developing study abroad and student teaching abroad programs that aim to provide both global competencies and improve practicing teachers’ ability to teach diverse students (Dunn, et al., 2014; Malewski & Phillion, 2009; Sleeter, 2001).

Though research findings indicate that teaching experiences abroad have a significant impact on participant outcomes (Hansen & Smith, 2002; Merryfield, 2000; Devillar & Jiang, 2012), another body of research suggests that short-term experiences may not have the same impact of programs that require a semester or a year abroad. That is, in some cases, programs that are less than eight weeks show little or no effect on participants’ global competency or other measures of impact (Page, et al, 2009; Kehl & Morris, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Indigenous: Native peoples of Australia who were present before European colonization.

Immersive Experiences: Experiences that include hands-on, classroom-centered activities for study abroad participants.

Inclusion: Classroom practices that integrate both students with and without disabilities

Photovoice: A photographic technique through which individuals can identify, represent, and enhance their communities and experiences.

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