Fostering Culturally Relevant/Responsive Pedagogy and Global Awareness through the Integration of International Service-learning in Courses
Educators are being asked to respond to the forces of globalization and human interconnectedness that characterize the 21st century. These forces are resulting in changing population demographics and increased migration which is bringing a new complexity to cultural and ethnic diversity within regions, local communities and ultimately in elementary school classrooms. As a response, institutions of higher learning are seeking ways of preparing pre-service teachers who are culturally sensitive and globally aware and who will in turn prepare young children to be world citizens. One way of achieving this goal is to integrate an experiential service-learning component in courses as a way of expanding pre-service teachers perspectives to the world while enhancing their cultural competence, understanding of others different from themselves, commitment to social justice issues, and mastery of course content. This manuscript describes the development of a graduate course at a university in northeast USA, and the subsequent implementation of the course in Kenya with an integrated international service-learning component. Ideas of scholars on multicultural education, global education, culturally relevant pedagogy and service-learning will be used as a way of framing the discussion topic. The positive rewards and some challenges of this course will be discussed along with some concluding remarks.
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