Peer Alliance for Productive Professional Experience in Teaching (PAPPET): An Innovative International Practicum Model Designed to Enhance Preservice Teachers’ Intercultural Understanding and Confidence in Globalised Teaching and Learning Environments: PAPPET

Rohan Nethsinghe, Premnadh Kurup, Jose Cherian

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Abstractpeer-review


Undertaking education in globalized contexts has become a common practice as universities worldwide offer international placements to enhance student experience. In teacher preparation, it is important to build competence of graduate teachers to work in different educational settings and cater for challenging learning needs of students in contemporary classrooms from diverse backgrounds to become effective and confident teachers (Hagan & McGlynn, 2004). Future teachers require the knowledge of perspectives beyond their local and national environments and teaching in different countries using various curricula frameworks would provide better experiences to build capacity (Goodwin, 2010). Exposure to different educational systems and diverse learners are considered as main success components of these practicums conducted in international settings (Jacobs, et al 2010). Some of the challenges associated with international teaching placements are affiliated with poor understanding of the contexts, education systems, curricula frameworks/syllabuses and culturally influenced teaching practices (employed indifferent countries) including inadequate placement planning. Cruickshnak and Westbrook (2013)pointed out that overseas practicums are sometimes viewed as cultural tourism and may only provide a minimal exposure to systems and practices causing cultural conflicts. Such issues could arise as a result of insufficient planning and preparation. Considering the abovementioned issues it is important to carefully design international teaching placements to offer effective learning experiences. Planning of the PAPPET project involved six major aspects: Establishing strong partnerships among involved universities and host schools (Collaborations), Careful and rigorous pre-planning of the program (Planning), Pairing preservice students from both contexts (Peer Alliance/Pairing), Pre-departure information sessions and workshops (Preparations) and Setting goals of placement expectations for preservice teachers (Producing a Product) and ongoing reflective evaluations during the placement and post practicum reflections (Reflective Evaluations). The PAPPET model was designed to enable a two way relationship between preservice teachers from Australia and India by pairing selected participants well in advance to the immersion experience. Preservice teachers from Australia and India started communicating(discussing different aspects of the placement) approximately two months prior to the commencement of the teaching practicum conducted in June 2017 in Bangalore, India. As a result of pairing or “Peer Alliance”, the participants gained a better understanding of various teaching approaches and curricula frameworks used in both contexts including different cultural practices. The three host schools benefited from this facilitation (of teaching placements) in a number of ways. School students experienced different pedagogical approaches used by local and visiting preservice teachers, produced performances and exhibitions (products of practicum programs) as University of South Florida-- M3 Center Publishing 10.5038/2572-6374-v298whole school presentations also engaging parents. This model attracted host schools in India as the placements contributed to building mentor teachers’ competence providing professional development opportunities and showcase the engagement of visiting educators. This placement program included strong elements such as planning units of work with peers, integrating disciplines, using different curricular frameworks in planning, mixing pedagogical approaches, considering cultural understandings in-terms of teaching and learning, conducting group, peer and individual reflections and team teaching. Each of these elements contributed to the overall success of the program. It is important to recognise the strength of these elements identified through research as well as feedback provided by participants and employ them in the preparation process of future global placements. It was evident that the PAPPET model has provided preservice teachers from Australia and India the capacity, confidence and competence to productively operate in globalised teaching and learning environments in their future practices. This practicum will continue to be offered in 2018 and 2019 with the secured New Colombo Plan funding received from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with the participation of increasing numbers of preservice teachers each year. The PAPPET model will be further improved considering feedback from participants and it will be possible for stakeholders employ this international practicum model to offer effective experiences for preservice teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


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