Going with the flow: Pre-service teacher learning in, about and with community

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Abstract

The spirit of ‘Kia Orana’ was flowing back and forth as we were greeted by the small group of teachers, many of whom were mentors to our pre-service teachers in their schools. They were about to captivate us with their singing—a fund-raising event to support their travel to Australia. The jam session began with drums pulsating, and harmonious voices totally engulfed the space. As I stood at the beach bar and bistro overlooking the tranquil waters of the South Pacific, I was immersed in the beautiful harmonies of music that I was familiar with in the Western world.This time, however, there was a difference—the drums, ukuleles, guitars and beautiful tones of Maori-Polynesian voices. In a very emotional moment for me, on the fifth song, deep rhythms of a beautiful rendition of ‘We are the World’ drifted across the space. I was captivated and astounded—nothing accurately portrays the array of feelings within me in that moment. I had to step into the background to dry my eyes and to compose myself—the moment had literally brought me to tears. As I stepped forward to join the others in my group, I contemplated what had just happened to me. As I looked again to the performance, I watched as our pre-service teachers were grouped and moving together, and the voices and instruments of the Cook Islands teacher group seeming to flow and connect within and among them.There was some kind of ‘together’ happening, and it absolutely overwhelmed me.The teachers were clearly united and represented such a quintessence of what this enchanting space embodied as a community. Those gathered were so much more than performers and observers. For me, it felt like a phenomena of ‘community’that was revealing itself. For me, this was so much more than a moment of learning—it was an irrevocable moment of insight into human richness and connection,which generated an emergence of something new to my sense of self as a teacher educator. Such a powerful affective moment inspired me to inquire: How does experiencing the essence of a community transform those who actively contribute to and participate within the community? And what do we learn for and about ourselves from such encounters, personally and professionally?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNarratives of learning through international professional experience
EditorsAnge Fitzgerald, Graham Parr, Judy Williams
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer
Pages63-75
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9789811048678
ISBN (Print)9789811048661
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Cite this

Babaeff, R. L. (2017). Going with the flow: Pre-service teacher learning in, about and with community. In A. Fitzgerald, G. Parr, & J. Williams (Eds.), Narratives of learning through international professional experience (pp. 63-75). Springer.