Traversing the cultural and pedagogical divide: understanding complexities for international students completing school based professional experience

Fay Hadley, Katey De Gioia, Kate Highfield, Kelly Johnston

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    This research project grew out of an identified need within teacher education programs at the Institute of Early Childhood (IEC), Macquarie University. The researchers are lecturers and coordinate Professional Experience units across the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) degree. They identified a continuing pattern of international students receiving low grades or failing professional experience units; particularly when they were placed in the school environment. Bourdieu theorised the importance of 'capital' as a 'power' resource for individuals (1989). He identified the role of the school system in reproducing and reinforcing the dominant cultural group within society (Bourdieu, 1973). International students have usually schooled outside of Australia and do not possess the cultural capital of the school setting they are being placed into for professional experience. Whilst they are learning to be an effective teacher they are, in parallel, learning to understand the culture of schooling within Australia. This project aimed to identify supports and constraints for international students completing their first professional experience school placement. The project implemented a social constructivism approach (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) to explore the factors which impact on professional experience placements in school settings for international students. Social constructivism is driven by lived experiences and defines patterns of experience. The study involved four phases; interviewing key stakeholders; identifying appropriate support strategies for students; applying strategies prior to and during professional experience placements; and follow up interviews to identify changes to practice. In this paper the researchers will outline the current literature and report on the first two phases of the study. Findings from key stakeholders (international students and cooperating teachers) will outline the various perspectives as well as identify key issues of concern and the supports required of the international students on their first school setting placement.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalAARE 2011 Conference Proceedings
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventAustralian Association for Research in Education Conference - Hobart, Tasmania
    Duration: 27 Nov 20111 Dec 2011


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