Elements of Globally Competent Teaching in Pre-Service and In-Service Agricultural Educators after Participation in a Maymester Study Abroad Program to Jamaica
In today’s evolving classrooms, educators are tasked with going beyond providing the necessary content knowledge to reach the needs of their students. In addition to effectively differentiating instruction, global competency skills have become an increasingly pressing concern as the American society gradually becomes more diverse. In response, recent programs and supports have been created to allow prospective teacher candidates to develop their global competence to better meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and globally connected society.
An explanatory sequential mixed methods research design examined how participation in a short-term study abroad can impact teachers’ empathetic dispositions related to globally competent teaching practices. Quantitative data was first collected through an online Qualtrics questionnaire from pre-service, in-service, and other agricultural educators (n=36) who participated in a short-term study abroad experience in Jamaica from 2015-2019. Following the online questionnaire, four virtual follow-up focus groups were conducted via Zoom to further explore the collection and analysis of study participants’ self-rated stage of empathy development along the Globally Complement Teaching and Learning Continuum. Inductive coding revealed themes for both internal and external factors influencing study participants’ rationale and desired movement along the continuum.
Overall, participants acknowledged the transformative experience during the short-term study abroad to Jamaica as an external factor for building competence in the dispositions element of empathy and valuing multiple perspectives. Implications for practice and suggestions for future research were provided to help agricultural educators develop globally competent teaching practices.