Celebrating Cultural Diversity (CCD) is one of the programs in the School of Education that promotes inclusive education in practice. The CCD program aims to support international pre-service teachers to experience success in their professional experience placements. The program includes on-campus workshops designed to provide knowledge about the Australian educational context, and facilitate support networks amongst the international pre-service teachers. The key component of the CCD program, however, is the unique opportunity for site visits in children’s centres, kindergartens, primary schools or secondary schools, depending on the specialisation in which the international pre-service teachers are enrolled. These site visits enable them to understand cultural differences, engage in intercultural communication and manage various cultural complexities at the site under the mentorship of the educators. In fact, most of the sites had significant percentages of students from families whose first language was not English. For many of the international pre-service teachers, such linguistic and cultural diversity provided them opportunities to communicate with children and their families in their home language. However, there are challenges they faced which need to be addressed.
In early 2016, the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) has sought to address the concerns and build on the experience developed in our current CCD Program, entitled “Celebrating Cultural Diversity (CCD) Practicum Preparatory Program: Enhancing Better Learning Outcomes for International Pre-Service Teachers Undertaking Practicum in Western Contexts”. Through the funding, we have engaged multiple relationships with various educational sites (11 early Childhood education sites; 2 Primary Schools; and one High School) and develop a strong university-industry partnership. About 60 first year international students participated in the CCD Program and some of them have shared their thoughts and reflections in this website.
As you navigate the website, you will gain an insight to practical, innovative and alternative models of supporting international students transitioning to Australian work-place culture. You will also hear ideas from a panel of education site partners, current and past international pre-service teachers who have participated in the CCD program and academics who worked in the program (see “CCD Workshop”). We trust that as you hear the stories, reflections and current examples from our international pre-service teachers, ex-CCD participants, and our education partners, you will all increase your confidence and understanding for engaging with international students as we continue to develop our individual and collective intercultural competence.