The European Commission report “Supporting teacher competence development”, published in July 2013, makes primary school teacher training a key priority for Europe’s educational policy. Co-funded by the European Commission within the Erasmus+ programme, the SPIRAL project aims to address this priority through a collaborative project undertaken by universities and public bodies across five different European countries (England, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain). The project partners are collaborating in organising, supporting and evaluating the placement of primary teacher education students in primary schools in the partner countries. The project partners, all experts in teacher training, language teaching methods, and curriculum reform, have committed to carry out a strategic partnership for developing innovative practice in Higher Education and the professional development of primary teachers. This project, launched in September 2015, is taking place over three years.In this paper, the authors, project leads for the SPIRAL project in two of the participating partner institutions, focus on the questions that early experience in the project raise about the nature and depth of students’ intercultural experience. Through an analysis of survey data and student accounts of the experience generated in focus groups we consider the impact of the experience on students’ personal and professional identity and what the accounts reveal about the role and value of international professional placements in teacher education and the place of intercultural awareness in aspiring teachers' professionalism.
Nadia Edmond, University of Brighton, United Kingdom
Magali Jeannin, Universite de Caen, France