Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Tyson E.J. Marsh

Second Advisor

Frankie Santos Laanan


This research illuminated how five first-year teachers described the intercultural development that occurred while student teaching in a non-Western culture, and the value that those experiences abroad brought to their classrooms during their first year of teaching. The focus was to capture the essence of the experiences abroad as perceived and described by participants and how those experiences influenced both the tacit and explicit practices in their first year of teaching.

This qualitative study focused on four research questions: (a) How do first year teachers describe the intercultural development that occurs while student teaching in a non-Western culture?, (b) How does student teaching in a non-Western culture bring value to the first year teacher's classroom?, (c) What role does student teaching in a non-Western culture have on the tacit and explicit practices used in a first year teacher's classroom? and (d) How do personal influences in a non-Western culture impact student teaching and, ultimately, the first year teacher's students?

Analysis of the participants' student teaching reflections and interview transcripts indicated: (a) they were welcomed into the non-Western cultures; (b) professional dedication was displayed by the teachers. Final reflections revealed the student teachers were influenced personally and professionally through: (a) professional relations and collaboration; (b) enthusiasm for teaching; (c) exposure to multiple nationalities and unique perspectives; (d) second language speakers and differentiated instruction; and (e) increased self-awareness.


Bennett's (1993) Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) provided a framework of understanding the intercultural development that occurred when the participants left their home culture and were authentically immersed in a non-Western culture. Analysis of the data indicated that the participants demonstrated an advanced level of cultural sensitivity by falling in the Adaptation stage of Bennett's model. Participants were transformed both personally and professionally in their intercultural sensitivity and abilities to empathize with diverse student, while differentiating instruction through culturally relevant practices.

Research findings suggest implications and recommendations for practice and policy, as well as for future research. Increased support for university faculty and pre-service teachers to experience non-Western cultures has the potential to transform pre-service teachers in achieving improved practices for teaching all students.


Copyright Owner

Leigh Christine Martin



Date Available


File Format


File Size

157 pages