Building a Foundation: A Primer for Cross-Cultural Teachers was written for Christians who feel called to teach and evangelize in other parts of the world. This concise, personable book should be a "first read" for those needing and wanting to build a basic understanding of culture, teaching, and missions.
Basic concepts that people need as they prepare for and begin cross-cultural teaching ministries are discussed. The first half of the book starts by focusing on culture and then looks at worldview, ethnocentricity, culture shock, and culture competency. These chapters give readers a basic understanding of how culture and worldview influence our interactions with others.
The second half of the book begins with stories that are built around different ministry aspects of teaching. It then discusses how the classroom is a microcosm of culture and how the curriculum needs to fit the needs of the learner and meet the expectations of that culture. The book concludes with encouraging Biblical principles that connect teaching with evangelism and discipleship.
The end of each of the eight chapters will engage readers in a variety of activities. They may be asked to read and discuss pertinent quotes, write personal reflections on the chapter's topic, make applications of principles to their host culture, or begin considering the educational needs of their new students.
As a primer for cross-cultural teachers, this book is less an academic treatise and more a personal, informative work. It will engage readers from a variety of ages and backgrounds from high school students considering teaching English on a short-term missions trip, to college students considering a month or a semester as an international teaching intern, to retirees considering how they may yet serve.
For five years, Lynn DeVries took college students to Pusan, South Korea, to teach English in her college's Share Your World program. She could find books that told how to present the Gospel, how to raise money, how to get visas, and how to prepare for reverse culture shock. Other non-mission-oriented books had a variety of ESL activities. However, none of these concisely answered her team's initial needs.
How would her students react to such a different culture when they had never personally investigated their own culture and personal worldview? Most of her students were not education majors. Would the teaching methods to which they were accustomed work in a different culture? Had they ever thought about how others learn? She believes the seed for this book was planted by her struggles with her first Share Your World team.
Following her work in Pusan, Lynn taught English for five years at a Christian university in Pohang, South Korea, and also was in charge of developing the curriculum for her department. Then, just when she had returned to the US to retire and begin an editing business for those using English as a second language, she found herself in Cambodia working on an assignment for an educational NGO.
Former students, expat professors, and other colleagues have encouraged her to put some of her insights, observations, and experiences into a book. As she started to write, she realized that what she was doing was writing a primer - a book that introduces basic concepts and often explains these concepts through stories. Readers will appreciate how concepts in this book are not only built upon Biblical principles and research but are also illustrated with personal experiences and other anecdotes.