Keywords: study/teach abroad experiences, transformative learning, pre-service teachers, meaning schemes, sociolinguistic perspective, intercultural awareness, World Englishes, English as a Lingua Franca
Study/Teach abroad experiences, are shown to impact prospective teachers’ beliefs and values, offering exposure to diverse educational systems and teaching philosophies. This qualitative exploratory case study aimed to investigate the impact of the Comenius language assistantship program on the sociolinguistic perspectives and meaning schemes of Turkish pre-service teachers of English, in different intercultural educational contexts in Europe between 2011 and 2014. It incorporated both English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) and World Englishes (WE) perspectives. The theoretical framework in the study is Mezirow’s (1991) transformative learning theory. The data, collected via semi-structured interviews and reflective journals, were analyzed via content analysis. The findings indicated that although their social and educational backgrounds affected their interpretations of international teaching experiences, participants seemed to share an overarching sociolinguistic perspective. Changes emerged in four meaning schemes: inclusive pedagogical practices, teaching and learning English from the ELF- and WE-aware perspectives, creative and critical thinking activities, as well as intercultural awareness. The study underscored the necessity of integrating the following issues into pre-service language teacher education programs: intercultural awareness, competence, and communication, as well as linguistic and cultural diversity. The findings also emphasized the teacher educators’ role as facilitators in terms of enhancing the transformative potential of the international teaching experiences.