The Art of Unpacking: using flexible delivery materials for teachers preparing to learn in overseas contexts
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Harbon, LA and McGill, M, The Art of Unpacking: using flexible delivery materials for teachers preparing to learn in overseas contexts, Journal of Information Techology for Teacher Education, 11, (1) pp. 63-75. ISSN 0962-029X (2002) [Refereed Article]
Teachers with direct experiences of other education systems are valuable resources and it is increasingly common for pre-service and in-service teacher education programs to provide overseas learning experiences for students (Hill et al, 1997). When involved in an overseas school experience or language and culture study, participating teachers are able to compare curriculum and pedagogical issues. Their beliefs on teaching and learning and the influence of cultural context can and do impact on curriculum implementation. This comparison can adequately be undertaken by critical reflection processes: Teachers reflecting on their classroom experiences; exploring teaching and learning practices, to eventually be able to change or reframe their understandings of why they do what they do (Brookfield, 1995). Our challenge was how best to maximise such a learning experience for both undergraduate and postgraduate teachers undertaking the in-country school experience in West Sumatra during January 2001. In conjunction with a decision to provide overseas offerings in undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania, the researchers developed and implemented a CD-ROM resource package for students involved in the Indonesian in-country units of study. This package, comprising a pre-departure learning package of guided readings and web- based interaction, became a learning scaffold for the students and allowed them to maximise the in-country experience as well as organise their reflective practices. Evaluation of the planning and design stages of the project is reported, as well as issues arising from the pilot implementation of the package. © 2002 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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