Show Less
Restricted access

Shifting the Kaleidoscope

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Educators’ Insights on Culture Shock, Identity and Pedagogy


Jon L. Smythe

This book examines culture shock and reverse culture shock as valuable learning experiences for educators working in increasingly culturally diverse environments. Although these phenomena are often cast as illnesses to be avoided, this study suggests that both types of shock can help educators develop greater self-understanding and intercultural awareness and will benefit their pedagogical practices as well. For this study, four returned Peace Corps volunteer educators who have taught at various grade levels, both abroad and in the United States, share thought-provoking stories of how their experiences shifted their identities and their approaches to teaching. A Post-structural hermeneutic framework is used to analyze each story in two separate «readings» as a way of disrupting the flow of each text so that other possible meanings may emerge. The metaphor of the kaleidoscope develops from the study as a way to imagine a curriculum in motion – one in which new and often surprising patterns are created by shifting, juxtaposing and refocusing the multiple lenses within. Shifting the Kaleidoscope should appeal to those readers who are interested in curriculum studies, multicultural education, intercultural awareness, narrative inquiry, post-structuralism, international studies, the Peace Corps and/or teaching English abroad.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 1: Back Stories


· 1 ·


Before getting to the participants’ stories there are other “stories” that need to be told in order to create the context from which this study springs. These stories include a discussion about the current movement toward the internationalization of curriculum studies, some of the important questions being asked in this ongoing dialogue, how this internationalization shapes educators’ identities, and some of the ways in which educational institutions are promoting this internationalization. A second section offers a brief look at the Peace Corps—its beginnings, its proposed functions, the critiques levelled against it, and the storied perceptions of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) educators. A third section outlines the ways in which culture shock has been defined and conceptualized psychologically and metaphorically, with particular attention paid to aspects related to self-awareness, identity, learning, and growth. A fourth section similarly considers the ways in which reverse culture shock has been defined as well as some of the reasons why it remains relatively less explored than culture shock.

The Internationalization of Curriculum Studies

Since 2001, the International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (IAACS) has envisioned the internationalization of curriculum studies ← 21 | 22 → as both a “worldwide” dialogue regarding curriculum practices and a critique of the uniformity and standardization of curriculum encouraged by marketplace globalization (Pinar, n.d.). Gough (2003) further defined the internationalization of curriculum studies as “a process of creating transnational spaces in which scholars from different localities collaborate in...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.