With the reality that schools and classrooms across countries are becoming culturally more diverse, the need for professional development that prepares teachers to be interculturally competent has been increasingly recognized. A recent meta-analysis by Huang and colleagues examined the impact of study abroad on teachers’ intercultural competence.
The meta-analysis identified 21 effect sizes from 16 studies that met the eligible criteria. The criteria included: (1) the type of study abroad program in the study could be an intercultural practicum, intercultural internship, cultural immersion, or study tour program. (2) The duration of these programs could be either short-term or long-term. (3) Participants could be pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, student teachers, teacher candidates, etc.
An overall positive effect size of +0.34 was found. The results regarding various factors were as follows:
- No significant difference was observed among the three types of study programs: intercultural learning study programs (k=8, ES = 0.43), intercultural teaching programs (k=5, ES = 0.40), and study tours (k=8, ES=0.17).
- Programs incorporating reentry reflective guidance (k=12, ES = 0.52) exhibited a significantly higher effect size than programs without (k=9, ES= 0.12).
- Programs with longer durations (k=11, ES=0.56) yielded higher effect sizes than those with shorter durations (k=10, ES=0.11).
- No significant difference was found in other moderators, such as cultural distance (adjacent vs. distant), instrument, teacher type (pre-service vs. in-service).
The authors suggest customizing study abroad programs to teachers’ needs, integrating reflective activities, and providing ongoing professional development opportunities.
Note: k = no. of effect sizes.
Source: Huang, Q., Cheung, A. C. K., & Xuan, Q. (2023). The impact of study abroad on pre-service and in-service teachers’ intercultural competence: A meta-analysis. Teaching and Teacher Education, 127, 104091. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2023.104091