What do Australian Student Teachers Learn from Undertaking Teaching Practicum in Vanuatu?

By Sri Soejatminah.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The GEP, Global Experience Program, of the Faculty of Arts and Education of Deakin University, provides an opportunity for student teachers to do a teaching practicum in other countries such as Vanuatu, for three weeks. The objective is to “develop the knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and skills needed to address diversity within the educational environment” (Deakin, 2009, p. 3). Previous studies on international teaching practicum programs show that student teachers experienced personal and professional growth, including cross-cultural experiences. In this context, focusing on the GEP in Vanuatu in 2010, this article aims to investigate whether Australian student teachers who taught in Vanuatu for three weeks learned about culture. The lived experience of the student teachers were analysed using the Paige’s (2006) five dimensions of culture learning. The student teachers’ excerpts could be considered as evidence of their cultural learning. However, it did not necessarily mean that they were aware or recognised the occurrence of the cultural learning.

Keywords: Learning Experience, Student Teacher, International Teaching Practicum, Culture Learning, Supervising Teacher, Cultural Immersion

International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp.25-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 203.020KB).

Sri Soejatminah

Research Student, School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I have published papers for journals about the internationalisation of Indonesian higher education, and a book chapter about the implications of the internationalisation of Indonesian higher education. My doctoral research focuses on student teacher teaching practicum abroad. In particular, my research is involved in investigating student teachers’ learning experiences from participating in a program called GEP, which provides international experience for students. Implicitly, the aim of the GEP is to provide an opportunity for students to learn from teaching in a different culture. Hence, my research interest spans not only about learning experience of student teachers from teaching practicum in different cultures, but also students’ experiences from participating in other types of international programs, since the context of learning might be similar.