T2P and Community Service Learning
In late April and early May, 67 Teacher Candidates from Western Education traveled to Laredo, Texas, and to Monte Cristi, in the Dominican Republic, to serve for one week with a local chapter of a non-profit organization.
The “Transition to Professional Practice” (T2P), in which Teacher Candiates volunteer work with an alternative education program, is the final component of their Bachelor of Education degree. Most Teacher Candidates completed their T2P in Canada, but the students that served internationally challenged themselves teachers and as learners in entirely new cultural contexts.
The Laredo group helped to erect a house frame in only three short days. The Teacher Candidates served not only the family that would live in the house but also each other, as there was plenty of encouragement, empathy, and tenderness for their teammates who had all faced their own personal challenges, including traversing high 2x4 beams guiding the roof truss.
In Monti Cristi, Western’s teacher candidates overcome language and cultural barriers by “unlearning” their teaching and learning expectations as they taught in a Spanish literacy and ESL program in a local neighbourhood centre. These future teachers developed a greater ability to adapt to new teaching situations and a greater understanding of how children bring their own cultural expectations into the classroom.
In both of these international community service learning experiences, Western Education’s Teacher Candidates found new ways to cope with uncertainty and cultural differences. In developing patience and respect for the communities they served, as well as for each other, this year’s graduating BEd students are certain to bring their new knowledge and skills back with them into Canadian classrooms.
Photo 1: Teacher Candidates build a house with Habitat for Humanity in Laredo, Texas.
Photo 2: Teacher Candidates enter Outreach 360's neighbourhood centre in Monti Cristi, Dominican Republic.