Barcelona Spain

In the spring of 2016, three Sam Houston State University College of Education professors, Dr. Burcu Ates, Dr. Helen Berg and Dr. Diana Nabors, traveled to Barcelona, Spain for two purposes.  The first purpose was to attend and present at the World Federation of Associations of Teacher Education. (WFATE)  The presentation entitled; Teaching Beyond Borders: International Service-Learning in Teacher Education, highlighted previously completed service learning work in Italy, Costa Rica, and Belize. The previous service-learning study abroad experiences combined authentic graduate and undergraduate student teaching and learning experiences which were tied to SHSU course work in cultural diversity and educational pedagogy. In addition to the presentation at WFATE the three professors were able to collaborate with other professors who have explored and participated in international service learning opportunities around the world. 

The second purpose of the travel to Barcelona, Spain was to discuss the needs of the public and private schools in Barcelona and to assess the viability of establishing a collaborative service learning project between the schools and Sam Houston State University, College of Education students. Through meetings with school administrators and community members a school was identified.  The SHSU professors met with teachers and administrators of a dual track high school in the Catalan Province or Barcelona. The needs of the students were identified as 1) continual learning of conversational English for the students as well as a 2) sharing of pedagogy and content in English Language, 3) content and practices in Early Childhood Education, and 4) Second Language Learning for both students as well as staff. The school, which had dual tracks of professional training and university preparation was accessing multiple resources within the community. 

As the professor reviewed the match between the school and the SHSU course content, at the undergraduate and graduate level the professors collected information about the experiences that the SHSU students would have. These experiences included the cultural and linguistic opportunities, the opportunities for the SHSU students to teach and collaborate about teaching strategies with the teachers of the school, ease of travel around the city, the safety of the SHSU students, the housing opportunities, and viability of providing service to the community.

The research from this trip complied with research from Costa Rica, Italy, and Belize service learning projects has been presented in various national and international conferences and has also been submitted, and continues to be submitted as journal or chapter manuscripts.