International Teaching Externship (EDUC 368): 2 credits, Staff, Fall and Spring
Course information. International Teaching Externship (ITE) is a post-student teaching intercultural experience in which CSB/SJU teacher candidates work with international teaching professionals as volunteer teacher aides, teaching assistants, team-teachers, and/or research assistants in globally diverse K-12 classrooms. The four to six week externship begins soon after the successful completion of student teaching. Since this is not a student teaching experience, externship students experience a more natural, relaxed educational environment while engaging in a new culture and educational system.
Course Rationale: Fueled by increasing immigration, American public school enrollment continues to rise and is expected to peak at a record level of 50 million in 2014 (Institute of Education, 2008). In 2004, 43 percent of public school students were identified as part of a racial or ethnic minority group, an increase of 22 percent since 1972. During this same time period, the percentage of public school students identified as white and of European descent dropped from 78 to 57 percent. Yet while our classrooms are increasingly more diverse, approximately 80 percent of United States public school teachers are middle-class Euro-American white females from rural areas, small towns, or suburbs who grew up and were educated in predominately white neighborhoods and schools (Ference and Bell, 2004). A significant percentage of American teachers do not see themselves as prepared for a multicultural classroom, thus not feeling confident in their teaching students from diverse backgrounds. This low level of cultural confidence is reflective of inadequate cultural competence.
In response to this challenge, educational programs embrace numerous multicultural educational programs including courses in diversity. The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University (CSB/SJU) Education majors and minors take diversity focused courses plus experience a week-long immersion practicum in urban schools. This continues to be a highly successful experience for our pre-service teachers, but does not immerse them in international cultures as do experiences such as Education Abroad provides. Unfortunately, many Education majors and minors are unable to participate in Education Abroad due to heavy course loads and practicum requirements.
While making Education Abroad more accessible is an attractive option and one the Education Department supports, evidence supports a more beneficial means for developing and enhancing teacher cultural competence. Masel Walters, Garii, and Walters, (2009) argue that greater cultural confidence and competence occurs when new teachers engage in teaching abroad experiences that increase their abilities in interacting with and teaching learners from diverse backgrounds. Teaching abroad offers new teachers first-hand experiences of being the uncomfortable other, immigrant, or foreigner. Teaching abroad means teachers not only teach, but live in diverse and unfamiliar environments, thus increasing the likelihood that these teachers may become "cultural brokers, serving as a resource for colleagues, and cultural mediators, guiding activities and experiences of the school community to create culturally sensitive [and responsive] classrooms and curricula" (2009:S154).
The primary rationale for this initiative hinges on enhancing and broadening the international experiences of future educators to better meet needs of K-12 learners from increasingly diverse backgrounds. In order for teachers to better address this shifting teaching environment, they need more opportunities to teach and live abroad, to immerse themselves in new challenging, exciting, and to actively engage with rewarding international experiences. Such experiences help foster teachers who are culturally confident, culturally competent, and sensitive to their students. Living and working internationally can also aid new teachers in thinking globally, fostering fresh ideas, and demonstrating more open mindedness within their schools and outside communities.
Ference, R. A. and S. Bell. 2004. "A cross-cultural immersion in the US: Changing pre-service teachers' attitudes toward Latino ESOL students." Equity and Excellence in Education 37: 343-50. Institute of Education. 2008. "The Condition of Education 2006 (updated)." Washington, DC: United States
Department of Education. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/ (Accessed October 20, 2010). Masel Walters, Lynne, Barbara Garii, and Timothy Walters. 2009. "Learning globally, teaching locally: Incorporating international exchange and intercultural learning into pre-service teacher training." Intercultural Education 20:S1-2: 151-58.
- Provide CSB/SJU Education majors and minors opportunities to volunteer and live abroad during their undergraduate experience since Education majors and minors are often unable to engage in Education Abroad due to the heavy course load requirements.
- Provide additional opportunities to CSB/SJU Education majors and minors to gain deeper knowledge of their own cultures through reflection and discussion during the externship orientation sessions.
- Provide additional opportunities to CSB/SJU Education major and minors who choose to enhance their cultural confidence and competence through an externship experience in international K-12 schools.
- Provide additional opportunities to CSB/SJU Education majors and minors to gain firsthand perspective of being 'foreign' in a different culture.
- Provide additional opportunities to CSB/SJU Education majors and minors to work collaboratively with international professionals and K-12 students without the strains of student teaching.
- Provide opportunities to international partner universities' teacher candidates who choose to enhance their cultural confidence and competence with externship experiences in Minnesota K-12 schools.
- Provide additional opportunities to CSB/SJU Education faculty to engage in cross-cultural research and potential faculty exchanges.
- Provide additional opportunities to our international partner university education faculty to engage in cross-cultural research and potential faculty exchanges.
Costs: Will be covered with overload or inload for faculty/staff who direct an externship site
Evaluation of Student Learning: Discussion, performance, experiential
Means of Evaluation: Externship students are required to complete the following:
- Attendance at all orientation meetings
- Participation (oral and written) in orientation discussion of assigned readings
- Daily reflective journal including guiding questions, such as observations of students, learning environment, teacher(s), pedagogy issues
- Development presentation to share with host classroom students
- Skype sessions with faculty at CSB/SJU who oversee the program
- One to two page essay on 'one meaningful lesson during externship'
- Completion of externship evaluation after return
- Confirmation of completion of externship by cooperating teacher
- Summary comment by host university faculty partner