Cross-Cultural Immersion in China: Preparing Pre-Service Elementary Teachers to Work with Diverse Student Populations in the United States

Aug. 20, 2009

Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Volume 37, Issue 3, pages 295 - 317 (August 2009).

Cross-cultural immersion experiences have been considered to be an effective way to prepare American pre-service teachers for culturally responsive pedagogical practices.
The literature review shows few studies have explored pre-service teachers' cross-cultural experiences in non-English speaking countries, specifically Asian countries. This qualitative study examined ten American elementary pre-service teachers' teaching and learning experiences in China.
Five themes emerged from the data analysis: understanding and respecting Chinese culture; developing empathetic dispositions towards non-English speaking students; exchanging teaching strategies and resources; reflecting on professional and personal growth; and initiating a proactive stance as culturally responsive change agents.
Additionally, the study revealed that having two separate Chinese field placements may have differing pre-service teachers' teaching and learning experiences.
Varying types of opportunities to study abroad are on the rise. Recommendations are provided for the type of cultural immersion experience that encourages neophyte educators to not only learn about others, but also learn from and with others.

Updated: Oct. 21, 2009