Taking the TESOL Practicum Abroad: Opportunities for Critical Awareness and Community-Building Among Preservice Teachers

Taking the TESOL Practicum Abroad: Opportunities for Critical Awareness and Community-Building Among Preservice Teachers

Hyesun Cho (University of Kansas, USA) and Lizette Peter (University of Kansas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7305-0.ch036

Abstract

This chapter examines the experiences of four native English-speaking preservice teachers in a faculty-led study abroad program in South Korea. It elucidates the ways in which these preservice teachers experienced personal and professional growth with an increasing critical awareness of the power imbalance embedded in English language teaching in the global context. Data were collected via students' weekly online discussion posts, electronic portfolio artifacts, and focus group interviews. Findings indicate personal and professional growth in participants' self-perceptions as a result of at least two fundamental aspects of the program: 1) the intentionality with which participants were exposed to a critique of English language teaching in the Korean context and 2) the residential nature of the experience, which provided intensive peer collaboration among practicum participants. The chapter concludes with recommendations for implementing a TESOL practicum abroad as a meaningful and consciousness-raising opportunity for preservice teachers' professional development.
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Literature Review

We situate this study within the broader context of two interrelated bodies of literature: the nature of the teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) practicum, and the experiences of native English-speaking student teachers in English as a foreign language (EFL) contexts. The first part of what follows examines both benefits and challenges of a TESOL practicum; the latter reviews scholarship on how a practicum abroad influences native English-speaking preservice teachers’ knowledge, assumptions, and beliefs about classroom practice.

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