Learning to Teach in Another Language and Culture
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning (distinction)
The special learning needs in Initial Teacher Education of international postgraduate students whose own education was linguistically and culturally different to that of New Zealand students are often unacknowledged and under-researched. This qualitative study, based on narrative inquiry, presents case studies of six participants from six different countries, languages and cultures. The findings point to challenges faced by pre-service teacher education students from other languages and cultures. Tensions created by language difficulties, new pedagogies and social and educational cultural differences lead to feelings, at times, of disorientation, heightened “otherness” and unease. Students who are crossing the border between one culture and pedagogical belief system to another require specific support. This study did, however, find evidence of students developing new understandings about teaching and learning. The findings carry implications for the content, delivery and pedagogy of Initial Teacher Education programmes. The introduction of a Foundation Course and a Support Group, modelling of good practice by ITE lecturers using a variety of interactive teaching strategies and targeted reflective practices are suggested. In a time of teacher shortages, changing demographics in schools and the changing nature of university-based ITE it is important that the assumption that one size fits all in ITE all needs to be put aside. From the perspectives of social justice and acceptance of diversity it is timely to pay attention in ITE to the learning of students from other languages and cultures. This study suggests ways of moving towards this goal.