IN OTHERS' SHOES
In others’ shoes: pre-service teachers’ cross-comparison of multilingual and multicultural experiences in Hamburg and Sydney
- Prof. Dr. Sílvia Melo Pfeifer (https://www.ew.uni-hamburg.de/ueber-die-fakultaet/personen/melo-pfeifer.html)
- Dr. Alice Chik (https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/alice-chik)
- Dr. Sue Ollerhead (https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/sue-ollerhead)
- Faculty of Education, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg
- Faculty of Arts, School of Education, Macquarie University, Sydney
Funding: Trilateral Strategic Partnership MQ-FU-HAM for 2020
Despite pervasive calls for international cooperation in the field of education, teacher education programs are mainly situated in national and institutional contexts, embedded in structures that reflect national and local aims, characteristics and settings. The aim of “In others’ shoes” is to reflect on the possibilities of creating a transnational teacher education space, based on the sharing and dissemination of critical regards about multilingual spaces and multilingual individual repertoires.
Following the on-going cooperation between Hamburg and Macquarie around the use of visual methods in teacher education and teacher training, started in 2017, This porject goes beyond the already developed research agenda and involves pre-service teachers in the analysis of visual material. The idea underscoring “In others’ shoes” is that pre-service teachers, when called to co-interpret their peers’ linguistic repertoires and biographies are developing valuable decentering and analytical skills that can be reinvested in their diagnostic competences and their future teaching practices. Until the present time, involved researchers have been able to make meta-analysis research about the use of visual methods in language education (Chik & Melo-Pfeifer, forthcoming), language learning autonomy as portrayed in visual methods (Chik & Melo-Pfeifer, forthcoming) and on the reconstruction of linguistic biographies as portrayed by student-teachers (Melo-Pfeifer & Chik, 2020; Chik et al., 2018; Melo-Pfeifer, 2018). Through this project, the researchers wish to expand the interpretative scope of their work, by calling upon students from both institutions (University of Hamburg and Macquarie University) to cross-interpret multilingual and multicultural experiences from their overseas fellows.
By doing so, involved institutions will align with teaching standards in German and Australia. On the one hand, KMK-Empfehlungen’s (from 2004) initial teacher education programs emphasise the importance of acquiring the ability to understand children’s learning processes inside and outside the school, children’s socialization experiences and their individual characteristics. To facilitate these skills, the same institution advises teacher educators to work with biographic, reflexive and situated (contextualized) approaches. According to these premises, the current project contributes to the development of pre-service teachers’ ability to understand and analyze the contexts in which they would be called to act upon.
For the Australian students, this project contributes to initial teacher education students’ ‘knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds’ (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 1.3). This project provides an opportunity for students to reflect upon the learning experiences of learners from a cross-cultural perspective, and to focus on the changing demographic composition in the classroom as one aspect of addressing learning needs.
Through their involvement in the planned activities, students at both institutions will be able to: i) compare patterns of migration in both cities/countries, reflecting on the contextual and historical conditions underlying them; and ii) reflect on the composition of linguistic repertoires in both groups, thereby enabling them to identify commonalities and differences across them. By doing so, researchers in both institutions expect students to acquire analytical skills to reflect on the linguistic and cultural diversity present within schools and classrooms. Whilst research carried out so far has mainly been about students’ productions, the present project aims to undertake collaborative research with students. Students’ reflections and productions will thus have a double status, being simultaneously research products and research objects.
All the planned activities rely on the analysis and production of visual materials such as linguistic portraits, language biographies and professional portraits. The aim of the use of visual materials is to unpack the emotions attached to multilingual and multicultural experiences and to provide space for the expression of students’ own and others’ subjectivity.
As a project situated in the field of initial teacher education, its scientific goals are:
- to foster pre-service teachers’ abilities to reflect on their own and others’ linguistic and cultural biographies;
- to develop pre-service teachers’ skills to decenter and understand different migration and education patterns.
In order to achieve those goals, pre-service teachers in each institution will be called to comment on linguistic portraits and linguistic biographies of their overseas partners. Students will comment on similarities and differences between individual linguistic repertoires, migration patterns in both countries, and on teaching and learning consequences.