Her/Him, Them, and Me: Using a Three-Perspective Format in Social Studies Methods to Promote Intercultural Education Initiatives
Keywords:Social Studies, Intercultural Education, three-perspective format, pre-service teachers
Intercultural education, focused on understanding, respecting, and engaging in dialogue among and about different cultures (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], 2006) adds to multicultural educational efforts by addressing diverse needs in learning and teaching students. This paper argues for focus on intercultural education in elementary social studies methods courses for pre-service teachers (PSTs) and describes the author-created three-perspective format for developing intercultural educational activities. Use of the three-perspective format is described followed by results from a study using the approach to guide response journals focused on the multicultural novel, Inside Out and Back Again (Lai, 2011), with 89 PSTs at a highly research intensive university in the southern United States. Open coding of collective case studies revealed three themes in students’ journal reflections when using the three-perspective format: insight into diverse perspectives, changes in attitudes for teaching, and a valuable learning experience. Combined with researcher field notes and student-generated emails, these emergent themes could indicate that some students experienced lasting change in attitudes and feelings towards others and themselves that had not been previously considered or held. This level of change could facilitate individual transformation and help make meaningful impressions and paradigm shifts in PSTs as described by Mezirow (1991) in Transformative Learning Theory.