Title: Re-shaping American College Students’ Lives in East Africa: Transformative Learning Theory and Study Abroad – A High Impact Practice
Stream: Challenging & Preserving: Culture, Inter/Multiculturalism & Language
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Nicole DeClouette, Georgia College & State University, United States
The purpose of this presentation is to share how a special education faculty member revised her study abroad program, a High Impact Practice (HIP), to transform the experience for her pre-service and in-service teachers. High Impact Practices, or HIPs, are considered “high impact” because they promote student persistence and retention (as evidenced in quantitative measures) and they change lives (as evidenced in qualitative measures). Study abroad programs are considered HIPs because they require students to spend a considerable amount of time immersed in a different culture, gaining cultural competence that will translate into collaboration with others in diverse settings. These are important 21st Century skills for study abroad participants to learn and to translate into their teaching practice. Transformative Learning Theory for students involves taking in new information that causes a “disorienting dilemma,” but that is just the beginning. Through critical reflection, designed by the educator, the student considers the juxtaposition of new and old information. Transformation occurs when the student realizes that the new information does not “fit” with the previous frames of reference. The last stage involves the student taking action; for example, the student may become more inclusive, more self-reflective, and so on. The goals of the presentation are: 1) to review the research connecting study abroad to HIPs and Transformative Learning Theory; 2) to share the outcomes of the study abroad program to Tanzania; and 3)to encourage teacher educators to build (or revise) study abroad programs to making college more relevant to teacher candidates.
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