Preparing preservice teachers to work with diverse learners
Highlights from an exploratory service-learning trip to central Mexico
Keywords:service-learning, Ed Tech, vision screenings, hearing screenings
It is important to build preservice teachers’ self-efficacy in working with diverse learners. During summer of 2021, faculty from a mid-sized public university in the southwest took a small group of preservice teachers into central Mexico to provide opportunities in working with diverse learners and/or emergent English learners (ELs). Although this foray into central Mexico was an exploratory trip to plan for future International Field-Experiences for preservice teachers, the trip involved a lot of service and a lot of learning. Jacoby (2015) defines service-learning as “a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs” (p.1). While this project to central Mexico was not tied to any coursework, preservice teachers and university faculty engaged in service-learning that was mutually beneficial to all stakeholders. At the same time, preservice teachers gained self-efficacy in their ability to support the needs of ELs. Students and faculty from the university worked with approximately 22 children in a remote village in central Mexico, with support from translators. Through this experience, a unique bonding experience took place. For five consecutive days, faculty and preservice teachers worked with 22 school children ranging in age from four to fourteen. Only a few translators assisted with communication, but they were able to support the faculty and preservice teachers during literacy and educational technology instruction. The second author received support for translations as she conducted vision and hearing screenings for students, parents, and community members. The experience was life-changing and may be apropos for other educators, medical practitioners, and/or educational researchers looking to promote capacity and self-efficacy in preservice teachers, nursing students, medical students, or other stakeholders.
Carle, E. (1994). A very hungry caterpillar. New York, NY: Penguin Random House.
Cummins, J. (1979). Cognitive/academic language proficiency, linguistic interdependence, the
optimum age question and some other matters. Working Papers on Bilingualism, 19, 121-129.
DiMaggio, P. (1982). Cultural capital and school success: The impact of status culture
participation on the grades of U.S. high school students. American Sociological Association, 47(2), 189-201. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2094962
Dumais, S. A. (2002). Cultural capital, gender, and school success: The role of habitus.
American Sociological Association, 75(1), 44-68. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3090253
Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. New York:
Teachers College Press.
Hollie, S. (2015). Strategies for culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and
learning. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education.
Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American
children. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Jacoby, B. (2015). Service-learning essentials: Questions, answers, and lessons learned. San
Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Nagy, W. E., García, G. E., Durgunoğlu, A. Y., & Hancin-Bhatt, B. (1993). Spanish-English
bilingual students’ use of cognates in English reading. Journal of Reading Behavior, 25(3), 241-259.
National Association of School Nurses. (2021). Vision and Eye Health. Retrieved from:
Texas Department of State Health Services. Vision and Hearing Screening. (2021).
Toronyi, A. (2020). Preservice teachers working with English language learners: A meta
synthesis of service- learning as an effective pedagogical tool. Journal of Service-Learning in Higher Education, 11(Summer).
Pfister, M. (1992). The rainbow fish. Zürich, Switzerland: North-South Books.
Ritland, V., & Eighmy, M. (2013). Multiage instruction: An outdated strategy, or a timeless best
practice. The European Journal of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2).
Wang, C., Bovaird, S., Ford-Jones, E., Bender, R., Parsonage, C., Yau, M., & Ferguson, B.
(2011). Vision and hearing screening in school settings: Reducing barriers to children’s achievement. Paediatr Child Health, 16(5), 271–272.
All copyright remains with the author.