The Rural-Urban Exchange: Preparing Teacher Candidates for Culturally Responsive Teaching
This workshop is an overview of the Rural-Urban Exchange, an intercultural partnership, established in 2000, between the College of Education and Allied Professions at Western Carolina University (WCU) and the School of Education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCA&T). NCA&T is a research intensive, historically black university in Greensboro, North Carolina, a diverse and politically charged community that was the site of key events in the civil rights movement in the U.S. WCU is a comprehensive regional university in a small rural community in southern Appalachia. When teacher educators examine the current status of children of color, poor rural children, and other marginalized populations in schools, they must ask the question, "How do we best prepare all teacher candidates to meet the challenges of educating all children in our increasingly diverse public schools?" The answer rests in part on efforts to provide teacher candidates with opportunities for intercultural experiences that help them become culturally-responsive teachers. Accordingly, the goals of the Rural-Urban Exchange are to: 1. Build the capacity of teacher candidates, regardless of their race or ethnicity, to teach all children to high standards; 2. Combine the resources of two distinct institutions and two distinct communities to provide teacher candidates with opportunities to move out of their comfort zones and gain exposure to a university community and public schools with which they are unfamiliar. The teacher candidates who participate in the Rural-Urban Exchange spend a week on the campuses of their partner universities. During this week they visit local public schools and cultural attractions and participate in special seminars and debriefing and evaluation activities. The presenters will engage participants in this workshop in dialogue about this intercultural partnership between two schools of education and provide a blueprint on which participants could model a similar exchange program.
Keywords: Teacher education, Culturally responsive teaching, Multicultural education
Dr. John Habel
Department of Psychology, Western Carolina University
Ereka R. Williams
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University