Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Wessels, Stephanie; Holmes, Melissa; and Herrera, Socorro (2011) "The Role of Preservice Teachers’ Meaning Perspectives and Schemes in a Study Abroad Experience," Multicultural Learning and Teaching: Vol. 6: Iss. 2, Article 5. DOI: 10.2202/2161-2412.1089


©2011 De Gruyter. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


This microethnographic case study focuses on patterns of interpretation and decision making of undergraduate preservice teachers as they participated in observations, co-teaching, and teaching in elementary schools in northern Mexico. At the core, this study explores the deeply embedded assumptions preservice teachers may bring to new cross-cultural interactions. Drawing from participant documents, surveys, and interviews, the study seeks to investigate the meaning perspectives and schemes (Mezirow, 1991) that study abroad participants used to make sense of their experiences. Also explored are ways the study abroad experience may have helped to alter or solidify meaning perspectives. Finally, recommendations based on lessons learned are provided for designing study abroad experiences that prompt preservice teachers to view and use cultural differences as assets in classroom practice.