Cross-border Community-based Learning as a Strategy in Diversity and Multicultural Teacher Preparation

A Comparative Case Study


  • Caitlin Ferrarini University of Massachusetts Boston



community-based learning, global learning, social justice, diversity, teacher education


As students in K-12 classrooms reflect the increasing racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the United States as a whole, understanding diverse worldviews and inclusion of diverse students are important skills for classroom teachers. However, the pedagogical practices for training teacher education students with the knowledge and skills to effectively teach their racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students range greatly. This study explores the potential of one teacher training strategy, cross-border community-based learning, and the impact of this strategy on teacher education students’ understanding of diversity and commitment to future actions in their own classrooms. The research employs a comparative case study of two sections of a diversity and multicultural education course for undergraduate education students: one section participated in community-based learning at an Indigenous school in Guatemala and one section participated in traditional-classroom learning. The mixed-methods analysis of pre/post survey data, student journals, and student presentations suggests that community-based learning which centers Indigenous Knowledges and assets holds potential to motivate teacher education students to include diverse students in their future classrooms and challenge colonial systems of education in their future teaching. This research contributes five main recommendations to inform teacher education and community-based learning curriculum, including important differences between learning for teacher education Students of Color and White students on one particular survey scale.



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