Community-based learning in Initial Teacher Education: Countering deficit theorizing and enabling bicultural/intercultural competence

3rd October 2018 : 16:30 - 18:00

Category: Seminar

Speaker: Professor Letitia Fickel(Visiting Oxford Erskine Fellow School of Teacher Education, University of Canterbury, Christchurch New Zealand)

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room D

Convener: Dr Katharine Burn

Though social, cultural, and linguistic diversity have become a defining characteristic of schools and education systems globally, far too many children and youth from minority communities continue to experience educational disparities.

Of particular concern is better preparing new teachers to engage positively with diversity in ways that engender more equitable outcomes for traditionally marginalized youth including the development of intercultural competencies and culturally responsive practice. Many teachers and preservice teachers implicitly hold deficit assumptions about their students from historically marginalized groups that “can serve to alienate students from school and perpetuates the cycle by reinforcing social distance between teachers and families”. This seminar provides a documentary analysis of how a post-graduate teacher education programme in New Zealand uses cross-cultural community-based learning experiences to counter deficit theorising and enable bicultural competence development among preservice teachers as a foundation for culturally responsive practice.  Based on our collective wisdom of practice, we believed that university-based and school-based opportunities were not sufficient to support development in this area, and thus incorporated community-based learning experiences in collaboration with the local Māori community. While the context of the work focuses on bicultural competence, our assertion is that these attitudes, skills and knowledge align with those of intercultural competence. Through practitioner inquiry we seek to understand how preservice teacher engagement in these experiences counter deficit theorizing and support their development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes that reflect bicultural competence.