Global diplomacy awareness developed through short-term international internships

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Date: January-February 2014
From: Childhood Education(Vol. 90, Issue 1)
Publisher: Association for Childhood Education International
Document Type: Report
Length: 2,565 words
Lexile Measure: 1500L

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Education is the great problem solver in global societies. The first set of international educational goals was set in Thailand in 1999, with key targets to be universal primary education and gender parity by the year 2000 (Burnett & Felsman, 2012). By the late 1990s, little progress had been made toward accomplishing these goals and so the education community came back together to review and renew their targets. One of the ways that researchers have found to expand and inform global thinking about the impact of education is through international teaching experiences for students preparing to become teachers. "People have always been curious about the ways that societies acquire and use knowledge, the way that knowledge is translated into skills, the way that knowledge sustains and transforms societies, and the ways that children learn and are taught" (Association for Childhood Education International [ACEI], 2013, p. 1). Education diplomacy refers to cross-disciplinary, transnational sharing of ideas, theories, and concepts that advance education. This article will address the effect of a short-term international teaching internship on American students' awareness of global diplomacy as it relates to the primary classroom.

Many state universities and schools of education require teacher candidates to take a course in multicultural education or promote issues of diversity and social justice within their core curriculum. However, college courses, textbooks, and class discussions are not sufficient for producing effective teachers working in urban areas where there are high concentrations of children from distinct ethnic and linguistic minority populations (Quezada, 2004). Although multiple governmental groups and education associations have recently called on U.S. colleges and universities to promote internationalization and cross-cultural understanding (American Council on Education, 2002; Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship, 2005), most teachers still prefer to teach near or within their own neighborhood schools.

For the past seven years, qualified education majors at the University of North Florida completing their final semester have had the opportunity to participate in student teaching internships in schools in England. Since 2007, small cohorts of students from the College of Education and Human Services at University of North Florida (UNF) have completed a three-week internship in Plymouth. The American faculty trip leaders designed and conducted a rigorous pre-application, application, and preparation procedure in order to select students for the experience abroad, and faculty at the University College, Plymouth (UCP) in England helped with establishing relationships and placing the American students in local schools. Student participants were selected keeping in mind the enormous responsibility of sending preservice teachers into schools to teach (Batey & Lupi, 2012). In addition, UNF faculty trip leaders crafted a comprehensive process for marketing the trip, the application process, trip preparation meetings, on-site supervision, reflection, post-trip responsibilities, data collection, and evaluation. As a result of supervising the internship, the faculty team leaders witnessed the student teachers becoming active participants in their own transformations through their experiences in the English classrooms, in university relationships, and with the British culture. After planning, implementing, and supervising the internship, the authors...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A357965672