(Un)Learning to Teach Through Intercultural Professional Development

Candace Schlein, University of Missouri‐Kansas City

A volume in the series: Research for Social Justice: Personal~Passionate~Participatory. Editor(s): Ming Fang He, Georgia Southern University. JoAnn Phillion, Purdue University.

This book comprises an examination of novice teachers’ experiences in schools, education systems, and cultures of schooling across the contexts of Hong Kong, Japan, and Canada. Drawing on a narrative inquiry approach, I made use of experience as a starting point for making sense of both professional and personal encounters in local and foreign settings. I consulted the literature to provide sketches of schooling in the relevant settings and systems of education and created narrative profiles of life, teaching, and learning through interviews, school and classroom observations, individual journals, arts–based written exercises, and reflective field notes with educator participants. This culminated in a comparative–descriptive understanding of education in Hong Kong and Japan as experienced by Canadian teachers.

This work is significant, since within my research text, I go beyond within–society concepts of countries, cultures, and schools. Instead, I aimed to shed light on how people make sense of shifting landscapes in an era of increasing intercultural communication and interaction. The stories that I analyzed within my research text provide detailed accounts of lessons on teaching and living as foreigners in Northeast Asian countries. Importantly, within this book I made a careful argument grounded in narrative examples that challenges common psycho–social notions related to crossing cultures, and indicate the possibilities of fine, nuanced qualities of cultural immersion and re–acculturation.

Furthermore, as a research text about educators and teaching, my research also has important curricular implications for equity and social justice. Due to rises in immigration and the birth of children into immigrant families, classrooms in North America, and indeed classes worldwide, are becoming increasingly culturally diverse. As a result, intricate issues related to intercultural encounters have risen to the foreground in teaching and learning situations and within dialogue about education. Consequently, there is a growing need for teachers to understand intercultural experiences and their influence on curricular interactions. Knowledge of cultures and cultures of schooling is further acknowledged as a crucial focus for establishing social justice and equity through culturally relevant education. This study underscores how an effective way to address intercultural movement and intercultural teaching is via intercultural professional interaction.

Acknowledgements. Series Forward, Ming Fang He and JoAnn Phillion. Prologue. Chapter 1: Introduction: Blurring the Lines. Chapter 2: An Exploration of Narrative Inquiry as Phenomenon and Method: Alone on a Streetcar. Chapter 3: Literature Review: Studying the Landscape. Chapter 4: The Landscapes of Japan and Hong Kong: Sinking into the Snow. Chapter 5: Stories Lived in Canada: Passing Through the Turnstile. Chapter 6: Stories Lived in Hong Kong and Japan: Standing in the Middle of the Field. Chapter 7: Stories of Canadian Reentry and Re–Acculturation: Awake in My Apartment. Chapter 8: Insights into Intercultural Experiences: A Circle of Women. Chapter 9: Educational and Societal Implications of Intercultural Experiences: (Un)Learning to Teach. Chapter 10: Significance of the Study. Postscript. References.