Learning to be a culturally responsive teacher through international study trips: transformation or tourism?

Ninetta Santoro, Jeanette Major

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


Recent rapid changes in the ethnic and cultural make-up of school communitieshave highlighted the need for teacher education to prepare teachers for culturallydiverse contexts. International study trips provide direct experience and interactionwith culturally diverse 'others' as a way to extend pre-service teachers'understandings of difference and diversity. This paper presents findings from aqualitative study that investigated the experiences of 15 Australian pre-serviceteachers who attended a short-term study programme in either Korea or India.Drawing on notions of the 'comfort zone' and 'pedagogies of discomfort', wediscuss how the pre-service teachers were challenged to move beyond theircomfort zone into new and unfamiliar territory, and into states of dissonanceand discomfort. Three interrelated themes emerged from the interview data: (1)dissonance resulting from physical discomfort; (2) dissonance resulting fromculturally different communication styles and expectations about appropriatebehaviour and interaction and (3) dissonance resulting from incidents/events thatchallenged the pre-service teachers' views of themselves and their own cultures.We suggest that many of the participants experienced levels of discomfort anddissonance that hindered effective learning, and limited the transformative potentialof the experience. We conclude by discussing some implications for internationalexperience programmes in teacher education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-322
Number of pages14
JournalTeaching Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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