Inhabiting the other's world: Language and cultural immersion for us-based teachers in the dominican republic

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This paper discusses the conception, goals, highlights, and outcomes of a four-week study-abroad seminar in the Dominican Republic (DR) for pre- and in-service teachers of English language learners from the New York metropolitan area. The seminar was designed to have teachers experience first-hand the phases and challenges of second language learning, and enhance understanding of their immigrant students' culture with a view to transform such an experience into culturally responsive pedagogy. The 17 seminar participants all lived with host families while engaging in intensive Spanish language study at a university in the DR and simultaneously taking a graduate course on second language acquisition. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of data sources, including language questionnaires, an intercultural development inventory, culture portfolios, and post-seminar evaluations and interviews showed that participants developed empathy for immigrant students' linguistic struggles, developed a better understanding of the language-learning process, and came to appreciate the complexity of culture and cultural adaptation. The study also underscored the need for teacher education curriculum to be more culturally responsive to the rapidly increasing linguistic and cultural diversity in the student population today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-194
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Culturally responsive pedagogy
  • Dominican republic
  • Immigrant learners
  • Spanish language immersion
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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