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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study tour of the Rwandan genocide : an exploration of personal and professional learning for teachers Holly, Ryan Mark


Many teachers look to study tours as professional development opportunities for a variety of topics. In July of 2014 teachers from across Canada travelled to Rwanda on a study tour organized by Genocide Education Canada to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. This study examines the personal motivations that caused teachers to want to participate in this study tour, and how the teachers were impacted both personally and professionally by the trip. The study is supported by experiential learning, travel-based education, and study tour theory. Ten teachers were interviewed, and their responses were analyzed qualitatively using grounded theory, from the constructivist epistemological framework, and the theoretical perspective of interpretivism. The researcher also participated in the study tour, and acknowledges the personal values of travel and education, global citizenship theory, and parenthood and children, and discusses how these values could impact the research. This study shows that teachers were both personally and professionally motivated to participate in the study tour for various reasons. Teachers believed that the study tour was a valuable learning experience, and were confident in the knowledge that they acquired. Teachers described episodes of uncomfortable learning, and were able to apply their learning to their homes. Teachers returned with a sense of obligation to share what they had learned, and they believed that they learned a great deal from simply being in a different country. Teachers believed that the study tour impacted their lives both personally and professionally, but were also cognizant that they would have enjoyed more free time while on the trip. The findings of this study are discussed in light of what they mean for teachers, for professional development, and for instructional and curriculum planning for student learning. Furthermore, notions of reciprocity are explored, and what study tours could mean for people of the host country.

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