Teacher Education Goes Global
Jeannie Ducher Course
Course Name: EDT 221 TELLs in PK-12: Culture & Second Language Acquisition
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Reflection: My project has been to require of my preservice students to spend meaningful time doing cultural activities with a “cultural buddy.” I have paired them up with International students in the American Culture and English program (pre-admission program for International students who wish to study at Miami). Preservice students and their cultural buddies have to meet for a minimum of 10 hours outside of school and get to know each other’s cultures through discussions, cooking together, going to parties, etc. The activities are left to the discretion of both parties. Preservice students have to write a reflection and present it to the class, talking to what they learned from each other and how this informs their developing cultural knowledge of “others” and their possible future encounters with children (and parents) of that culture/language. So far it is going well. Apart from having difficulties getting together, as all have busy schedules, students seem to enjoy meeting and negotiating their cultural differences. Misunderstandings through texting has been one of my students’ most interesting experiences, and she has come to realize how much open to interpretations communication without non verbal clues can be; others are feeling that this forced pairing is developing into friendship; others are more reserved as to their feelings and learnings from the experience: we will have to wait until the end of the semester to see what has really come out of the assignment, both from the preservice students’ perspective as from the International students’ point of view (they also have to present their experience with their cultural buddies in class). One thing that has been disappointing so far, is the fact that I had required from the preservice students to input into our class wiki the different cultural activities that they were experimenting with and to give their impressions as to their effectiveness; so far I have had one postings, even though I have reminded them several times of the opportunity. Since there is no grade per se associated with the posting on the wiki (it is to be included in their participation grade), students are not motivated to do so; it may also be that they are not convinced themselves of the “greatness” or creativity of their activities with their cultural buddies, and don’t think it is worth mentioning on the wiki.
Jeannie, i enjoyed the course syllabus and the module's purposes and also would encourage you to make the wiki posting a mandetory aspect of course credit. It is so difficult to get the kinds of response from students unless they are made to participate. Maybe another try at this module will net the responses you wish.