Beyond The Classroom: Examining Study Abroad’s Role In Shaping Pre-Service Teachers’ Thinking About Teaching

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Allison Tippin (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Greg McClure

Abstract: The educator workforce in the United States is predominantly white and female, and thus many educators lack cultural awareness to support the increasingly diverse student population, as indicated by the achievement gap and disproportionate academic discipline rates. Studying abroad is one opportunity for pre-service teachers to expand their cultural awareness and likely influences how they will interact with their future students of varying backgrounds; however, it is not a highly sought-after opportunity amongst education majors despite its many benefits. This study explores how pre-service teachers’ thinking about teaching is affected by their study abroad experiences. Seven students from a teacher preparatory program at a university in the Southeastern US participated in one of two focus groups to reflect on and discuss their study abroad experiences and teaching views. The focus groups provided a space for critical reflection and highlighted participants' development of intercultural competencies including open and respectful attitudes, cultural and academic knowledge, skills such as observing and evaluating, flexibility, adaptability, empathy, and overall self-awareness. Participants also created art pieces to explicitly connect their teaching views and study abroad experiences, providing a culminating multimodal reflection component to the focus group. The focus groups were transcribed, and qualitatively coded, and common themes were organized. These outcomes suggest that there are many instances of commonality between studies abroad and teaching including flexibility, reflection, and bias confrontation. This study demonstrates the importance of study abroad experiences with critical reflection components for pre-service teachers and how they influence culturally relevant teaching practices.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Tippin, A. (2023). Beyond The Classroom: Examining Study Abroad’s Role In Shaping Pre-Service Teachers’ Thinking About Teaching. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2023
intercultural competence, critical reflection, pre-service teachers, study abroad

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