Using current events to help preservice teachers understand the world they live in encourages preservice teachers to learn about global issues. It also encourages them to develop skills in analytical thinking and reflective judgment by reading and discussing complex real-life scenarios. A semester-long pen-pal project was crafted to help understand how preservice teachers develop intercultural competence, critical empathy, and become less ethnocentric. Twenty-Six American early childhood preservice teachers in Midwestern state were randomly paired with Turkish early childhood preserivce teachers as their pen-pals. The findings of this qualitative study revealed American preservice teachers had learning curves, but many eventually came to unpack their privileges and preconceived notions, as well as expend their worldviews. Implications of how to assist preservice teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students are addressed.


international pen-pals, empathy, cultural and linguistic diversity, teacher preparation



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