The Effects of Teaching Abroad on International Teachers: A Qualitative Approach

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2022
Authors
Salmon-Barnett, Arlian Latanya
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Abstract
Many teachers perceive international teaching experiences as opportunities for personal and professional growth (Mikulec, 2019). Teachers leave native countries to take advantage of teaching opportunities in the United States but face educational, behavioral, and cultural challenges. Challenges international teachers encounter upon entering the United States classrooms often go undocumented, resulting in literature gaps. Abraham Maslow's (1943) hierarchy of needs and Jerome Bruner's (1961) discovery learning theories served as the theoretical framework. The study focused on exploring educational and behavioral challenges international teachers encountered within United States classrooms and comparing the U. S. cultural challenges to cultural challenges of international teachers. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the lived experiences of international teachers’ first year within the United States classrooms in South Carolina, including educational, behavioral, and cultural challenges. The target population was 40 non-native teachers within one small, rural school district in South Carolina. The purposeful sampling technique elicited 17 international teachers from the target population. Data collection included semi-structured interviews and field notes. NVivo software used code and coding techniques to transcribe, organize, and analyze data for emerging themes which included educational challenges, behavioral challenges, cultural disparity, and eliminating challenges. Findings revealed international teacher participants had negative experiences in U. S. classrooms which negatively influenced participants' views of the education system. Recommendations for tentative teachers, education officials and policymakers, and international recruiting agencies emerged from findings. Implications for leaders included collaborating globally, developing international programs, offering internal and external professional development opportunities, and designing mentorship programs. Keywords: abroad, international teachers, native, native teachers, non-native lands, non-native teachers, native language
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