Background: As diverse communities continue to be targets of racism and anti-immigrant sentiments permeate current political discourse, the need to prepare a teaching force that understands immigrant children and their families continues to be a critical priority. Purpose: This study explored the ways in which one digital storytelling project that required 20 clinical hours working with English learners (ELs) engaged preservice teachers in learning about immigrant issues. Methodology/Approach: Data in the form of critical reflections, digital storytelling video transcripts, and archival data were collected from undergraduate teacher education candidates over three semesters. Narrative data from participants were analyzed using thematic narrative analysis. Findings/Conclusions: The findings of the study are organized into themes that included enriching experience, transformed attitudes, and stories of resilience. The results showed the ways that preservice teachers’ dispositions about immigration were challenged and how much their understanding of the experiences of ELs was deepened through the experience. Implications: This study offers insight for teacher education programs and shows how experiential pedagogical tools such as digital storytelling and authentic clinical experiences can challenge existing and problematic beliefs and assumptions, helping to build a cadre of teacher advocates of immigrant children.
An important policy initiative implemented for the past 40 years in Canada, refugee private sponsorship has attracted international attention as Europe continues to grapple with