What do Teachers of Transnational Students Need to Know?

By: Francesca Lopez   Lucrecia Santibanez  

What should teachers know and do to be effective? Policies suggest that content and pedagogical knowledge are necessary and it would be difficult to argue otherwise. But if content and pedagogical knowledge were sufficient, achievement disparities would not be as stubborn as they are. Teacher knowledge is repeatedly approached from the assumption that students—both those whose families have been in the U.S. for generations and those who are more recent arrivals—are here to stay. Yet there are a large number of transnational students who are in U.S. schools and will leave, some of whom may at some point return. Do teachers need to know anything about the system of education transnational students have experienced and/or will experience in the future? What about how educational and behavioral expectations may differ from U.S. contexts? While we know quite a bit about the importance of teacher understanding of the linguistic needs of transnational students, less is known about the ways culture, history, prior experience, and national contexts might demand teacher knowledge that is not usually part of preservice training. If a sense of belonging and identity have any bearing on educational outcomes (and we know they do), then transnational students’ experiences—both past and future—are essential in informing what teachers of these students should know and be able to do.

Teacher, Training, Diversity, Identity, Immigrant, Students
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Francesca Lopez

Professor, Educational Policy Studies and Practice, University of Arizona, United States
United States

Lucrecia Santibanez

Associate Professor, Claremont Graduate University, United States
United States