Internationalisation at home
This teacher development project, integrated into University of Göttingen's teacher training program, aims to familiarize students with linguistic and cultural diversity in schools through interactive methods. Led by Franziska Schrage, the course "Virtual intercultural training for teaching students", was funded under the "Digital supported teaching projects for internationalization of the curricula" scheme. The project involves partner universities from different countries and facilitates virtual exchanges between students who may not otherwise engage in an international credit mobility.
This digital, collaborative exchange format is implemented together with partner universities from Ivoti in Brazil, Pune in India, Tartu in Estonia, and Uppsala in Sweden. The exchange involves at least a dozen students from all partner universities. Notably, this course is sustainably integrated into the curriculum, ensuring accessibility for all students in Göttingen's teacher training program, offering 3 ECTS upon its completion.
Before the virtual exchange, students receive a mandatory reading list and prepared assignments related to real classroom situations. The exchange commences with an online introductory session, followed by smaller mixed group meetings in breakout sessions with icebreakers. Each student introduces their prepared assignments, followed by collaborative work like certain tasks finding solutions to common teaching challenges. For example, they simulate conflict situations to explore diverse responses.
In addition to the academic aspects, students share their educational biographies and inspiration, reflecting on their journey to become teachers. They exchange their biographies with students from different countries, encouraging confidential and constructive dialogue. Many students reported that this experience challenged their perceptions of education and prompted them to reconsider their views.
As a final part of the course, students form groups to work on topical educational issues of their choice and present their projects. Following the presentations, students discuss feedback questions among themselves in breakout rooms and then bring the most important points to the main room in an extended feedback session. This is moderated by the teaching staff member, who also gives feedback to the final presentation. The students submit reflective online portfolios after the seminar to further complement their learning process.
In the following video, you can watch designers of the course explain their motivations, processes and experiences of implementing the course.