Traversing the cultural and pedagogical divide: Understanding complexities for international students completing school based professional experience

Year: 2011

Author: Hadley, Fay, De Gioia, Katey, Highfield, Kate

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This research project grew out of an identified need within teacher education programs at the Institute of Early Childhood (IEC), Macquarie University. The researchers are lecturers and coordinate Professional Experience units across the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) degree. They identified a continuing pattern of international students receiving low grades or failing professional experience units; particularly when they were placed in the school environment. Bourdieu theorised the importance of 'capital' as a 'power' resource for individuals (1989). He identified the role of the school system in reproducing and reinforcing the dominant cultural group within society (Bourdieu, 1973). International students have usually schooled outside of Australia and do not possess the cultural capital of the school setting they are being placed into for professional experience. Whilst they are learning to be an effective teacher they are, in parallel, learning to understand the culture of schooling within Australia.