Cross-cultural teacher learning, or learning to teach in a linguistically and culturally different context, presents teacher learners challenges ranging from language barriers and cultural adjustment to struggles with identities, marginalization, and emotions (e.g., Faez, 2010; Haneda, 2009; He, 2003; Rodriguez & Cho, 2011). Supporting teacher learners from linguistically and culturally different backgrounds has become a topic of increasing importance in teacher education research accompanied by a call for greater diversity among teachers (Olsen, 2011) and a growing enrollment of international students in language teacher education programs in the U.S. Literature shows that cross-cultural teacher learning is profoundly shaped by teacher learners’ prior experiences in the home culture, which often causes conflicting perspectives of pedagogies (e.g., Haneda, 2009; Gao, 2010). There is a need for teacher educators to understand how the conflicts unfold as international students navigate the conflicts on an individual, contextual, and daily basis, and how their navigation may influence the choice of what type of teacher they want to become. Therefore, this study aims to document conflicting perspectives of pedagogies from teacher learners’ perspectives, to reveal the cultural dimension behind the conflicts, and to examine the connections between their experiences of conflicts and their teacher identity. In order to address this need, this study adopted narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) as the methodology to investigate learning experiences of four Chinese international students enrolled in a Chinese licensure program in the U.S., with a focus on their self-identified conflicts as they reconciled conflicting perspectives of pedagogies in learning, or competing pedagogies. Through a one year’s inquiry into the four Chinese international teacher candidates’ narrated experiences around competing pedagogies, this study aims to answer three questions: What stories do Chinese international students tell about their learning experiences around competing pedagogies? How are their narratives shaped by their culture identities? How is a teacher’s voice illustrated in their narratives? Data primarily came from the students’ self-initiated pair conversations on the conflicts, follow-up interviews, complemented by recorded Professional Learning Communities (PLC) meetings, field notes, course assignments, and other documents. Stories that were told touched on such aspects of learning to teach as “differentiated instruction”, “professionalism”, “plagiarism”, and topics about race in the U.S. A narrative analysis of their stories revealed the following findings: 1) while culture identity heavily shaped the four Chinese international teacher candidates’ sense-making process of the conflicts, the intersection of competing pedagogies constituted the very site where they started to reflect on, reinterpret, and reconstruct their learning; 2) the site of competing pedagogies, however, became missed opportunities of learning when the teacher candidates perceived a lack of modeling in the instruction and contested with debatable instructional practice; 3) their narratives also illustrated a developing teacher’s voice that contained fragmentation due to the complex transitions in their cross-cultural learning to teach experiences. The implication of this study includes the power of the use of teacher learners’ narratives to externalize, construct, and reconstruct their learning, the importance of teacher educators’ modeling of instructional practices, and the necessity of adopting a culturally relevant approach in the curriculum and practice for cross-cultural teacher learners.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2016. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Martha Bigelow. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 187 pages.
Narrative Inquiry into Competing Pedagogies: Chinese International Students’ Learning to Teach in the U.S..
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