Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Teaching in Thailand: Preparing Pre-Service Teachers to Work with Diverse Student Populations in the United States
Karla W. Eidson, PhD; Rebecca A. Wentworth, PhD

Cross-cultural immersion experiences have been considered to be an effective way to prepare American pre-service teachers for culturally responsive pedagogical practices. The literature review shows few studies have investigated pre-service teachers’ cross-cultural experiences in non-English speaking countries, specifically Asian countries. This qualitative study examined ten American elementary pre-service teachers’ teaching and learning experiences in Thailand. Five themes emerged from the data analysis: understanding and respecting Thai culture; developing empathetic dispositions towards non-English speaking students; exchanging teaching strategies and resources; reflecting on professional and personal growth; and initiating a proactive stance as culturally responsive change agents. Recommendations are provided for the type of cultural immersion experience that encourages neophyte educators to not only learn about others, but also learn from and with others.

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