This week I finished coding my data and inputting it into Nvivo. As shown in the image below, some themes showed up more in interviews than others. TAB alumni consistently talked about instructional engagement, professional development, comparative schooling awareness and student teacher observations in interviews. After 2-3 years, they still remember their time abroad and reflected upon ways it currently influences their teaching practice.
Instructional Engagement “refers to diverse forms of classroom-related activities” (Jiang, Coffey, DeVillar, & Bryan, 2010)
Almost all of the participants talked about ways they learned to communicate with people (students, host families etc.) with a language barrier. Many talked about the importance of incorporating visual learning into their teaching, as well as using body language to communicate. Those that currently work with ELLs and even those that don’t, still think about language choice and different ways of expression for students. Additionally, many used Canada as a means of engaging students while teaching them English. They further talked about the importance of engaging students but finding things they are interested in.
Professional Development “refers to diverse forms of qualities mentioned in journals relating to professional development as a teacher.” (Jiang, Coffey, DeVillar, & Bryan, 2010)
All participants talked about how the experience influenced them personally and affected their character. Many brought up how the experience made them more empathetic, as they understood the position of being “the other” in an environment. Others, didn’t feel so much as “an other” because the people were so welcoming, but did say it was good to be in the position of a student again – learning a new language from square one. Those that did teach, talked about how it made them more confident in their ability, as they were able to build relationships with students despite a language barrier. As well, they became more adaptable as they had to deal with a new environment and teaching in an unfamiliar system. One teacher talked about how it made them comfortable in making mistakes in the classroom and helped them learn to forgive themselves if things didn’t go as expected. In terms of teaching, all talked about strategies they learned abroad.
A very interesting development that some teachers talked about was that it made them appreciate Canada and our education system and resources more. Almost all participants saw minimal differentiation in the classroom and students learned in a very traditional way (workbooks, lecture-based instruction). As well, there was little use of technology in the classroom – something that we take for granted here.
Comparative Schooling Awareness
Comparative Schooling Awareness “refers to comparative or contrastive forms of school-site-related activities mentioned in journals” (Jiang, Coffey, DeVillar, & Bryan, 2010)
All teachers discussed differences and similarities they found between the Canadian classrooms and other countries classrooms. Some were related to culture, such as the respect students showed teachers and their school (such as through cleaning their school each day). Or that teachers and students had a more familial relationship (in one country, teachers were called aunt and uncle) Others related to the differences in school structures and schedules. Such as differentiated students into academic and trade streams early on, so that all students can succeed.
As talked about before, almost all teachers saw traditional and “old school” teaching in their classrooms. One participant talked about how he observed what didn’t work in language learning in his classroom. Many talked about the importance of differentiation, which they learned through their B.Ed programs and currently use in their classrooms. As stated before, there was a huge difference in technology use in classrooms – which made teachers appreciate the resources we have here.
Student Teacher Observations
Student Teacher Observations “refers to student teacher’s observations, participatory or non-participatory, at the school site” (Jiang, Coffey, DeVillar, & Bryan, 2010)
As well, we included what student-teachers actually did (the reality of what happened in schools) in this category.
All participants talked about what they actually did in their schools. Some only observed, while some taught full-time. Some were more like assistants in the classroom, where they interacted with students individually or in groups. Some were incorporated into lessons, such acting with students and others developed their own lesson plans. Many did lessons on Canadian culture. This really shows me that the experiences of the participants were so different; however, it’s interesting that many still gained similar skills despite these differences.
Those are the primary results I’ve decided to focus on! Unfortunately, I can’t share any direct quotes from the interviews. It’s hard to believe that I only have one more week of my research, which I will spend writing up reports and preparing a poster so that I can present this research at future symposiums.
Jiang, B., Coffey, D., DeVillar, R. A., & Bryan, S. (2010). Student teaching abroad inter-group outcomes: a comparative, country-specific analysis. Journal of International and Global Studies, 2(1), 36–56. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA360120105&v=2.1&u=ucalgary&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w