Challenging, eye-opening, and changing. U.S. teacher training in Korea: Creating experiences that will enhance global perspectives

Main Article Content

Kevin Oh
Natalie Nussli


This case study explored the short-term international experience of pre-service teachers to create and enhance global perspectives. These teachers (n=5), all female graduate students at a university in the U.S., were fully immersed in a foreign culture for three weeks while teaching English to primary and secondary students in Korea. Pre-, during-, and post-data were collected to investigate how the participants work and live while being completely immersed in a new culture. Eight themes emerged from the analysis of multiple qualitative instruments: (a) language barrier, (b) being the minority, (c) cultural differences and cultural shock, (d) student participation and teaching methods, (e) classroom management, (f) underestimation of English language learners, (g) finding confidence as a teacher and instructional flexibility, and (h) support systems. Overall, teachers expressed a transformation in both their teaching philosophy and cultural perspectives despite the short duration of the experience. They also reported that this linguistic and cultural immersion not only advanced their global perspective but also provided them with the necessary tools and understanding to work with diverse populations more emphatically and effectively. The findings suggest that additional teacher training is needed to increase pre-service teachers’ cultural competence and responsiveness to better address the needs of today’s diverse student populations.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Oh, K., & Nussli, N. (2014). Challenging, eye-opening, and changing. U.S. teacher training in Korea: Creating experiences that will enhance global perspectives. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 14(4), 67–87.
Author Biographies

Kevin Oh, University of San Francisco

Assistant Professor Special Education Program Coordinator Department of Learning and Instruction
School of Education University of San Francisco

Natalie Nussli, University of San Francisco

Doctoral Candidate

Learning and Instruction Department


Alfaro, C., & Quezada, R. L. (2010). International teacher professional development: Teacher reflections of authentic teaching and learning experiences. Teaching Education, 21(1), 47-59. doi: 10.1080/10476210903466943

Banks, J. A., & McGee Banks, C. A. (2006) Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Barkhuizen, G., & Feryok, A. (2006). Pre-service teachers’ perceptions of a short-term international experience programme. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 34(1), 115-134. doi: 10.1080/13598660500479904

Brindley, R., Quinn, S., & Morton, M. L. (2009). Consonance and dissonance in a study abroad program as a catalyst for professional development of pre-service teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 525-532. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2008.09.012

Chan, Z. C. Y., Fung, Y., & Chien, W. (2013). Bracketing in phenomenology: Only undertaken in the data collection and analysis process? The Qualitative Report, 18(59), 1-9.

Chinnappan, M., McKenzie, B., & Fitzsimmons, P. (2013). Pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards overseas professional experience: Implications for professional practice. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(12). doi: 10.14221/ajte.2013v38n12.5

Cochran-Smith, M. (2001). Multicultural education: Solution or problem for American schools? Journal of Teacher Education, 52(2), 91-93. doi: 10.1177/0022487101052002001

Cruickshank, K., & Westbrook, R. (2013). Local and global - conflicting perspectives? The place of overseas practicum in preservice teacher education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 41(1), 55-68. doi: 10.1080/1359866X.2012.753989

DeVillar, R. A., & Jiang, B. (2012). From student teaching abroad to teaching in the U.S. classroom: Effects of global experiences on local instructional practice. Teacher Education Quarterly, 39(3), 7-24.

Duncan-Andrade, J. M. (2009). Note to educators: Hope required when growing roses in concrete. Harvard Educational Review, 79(2), 181–94.

Echevarria, J., Vogt, M. E., & Short, D. (2008). Making content comprehensible for English Language Learners: The SIOP® Model, Third Edition. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Gay, G. (1993) Building cultural bridges: A bold proposal for teacher education. In J. Adams & J. Welsch (Eds.) Multicultural education: Strategies for implementation in colleges and universities, Volume 4 (pp. 94-106). Macomb, IL; Western Illinois University.

Glazier, J. (2003). Developing cultural fluency: Arab and Jewish students engaging in each other’s company. Harvard Educational Review, 73(2), 141-163.

Harbon, L. (2007). Short-term international experiences and teacher language awareness. International Education Journal, 8(1), 229-243.

Kambutu, J., & Nganga, L. W. (2008). In these uncertain times: Educators build cultural awareness through planned international experiences. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 939951. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2007.08.008

Klinger, J., Artiles, A., Kozleski, E., Harry, B., Zion, S., Tate, W., Duran, G., & Riley, D. (2005) Addressing the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education through culturally responsive educational systems. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13(38), 1-43. Retrieved from

Landerholm, E., & Chacko, J. B. (2013). Student teaching abroad: An experience for 21st century teachers. Washington, DC: ERIC - Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved from

Lee, J. F. K. (2009). ESL student teachers' perceptions of a short-term overseas immersion programme. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 1095-1104. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2009.03.004

Lu, H., & Soares, L. (2013). US elementary preservice teachers’ experiences while teaching students in Taiwan. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 14(1), 59-74. doi: 10.14434/josotl.v14i1.4170

Mahon, J. (2007). A field of dreams? Overseas student teaching as a catalyst towards internationalizing teacher education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 34(1), 133-149.

Mahon, J., & Cushner, K. (2002). Overseas student teaching: Affecting personal, professional, and global competencies in an age of globalization. Journal of Studies in International Education, 6(1), 44-59. doi: 10.1177/1028315302006001004

Malewski, E., & Phillion, J. (2009). International field experiences: The impact of class, gender and race on the perceptions and experiences of preservice teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 52-60. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2008.06.007

Malewski, E., Sharma, S., & Phillion, J. (2012). How international field experiences promote cross-cultural awareness in preservice teachers through experiential learning: Findings from a six-year collective case study. Teachers College Record, 114, 1-44.

Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Merryfield, M. M. (2000). Why aren’t teachers being prepared to teach for diversity, equity, and global connectedness? A study of lived experiences in the making of multicultural and global educators. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16, 429-443. doi: 10.1016/S0742-051X(00)00004-4

National Center for Education Statistics (2013). English language learners. Retrieved from

National Council of Teachers of English (2011). Supporting linguistically and culturally diverse learners in English education. Retrieved September 27, 2012 from:

Oberg, K. (1960). Culture shock: Adjustment to new cultural environments. Practical Anthropology, 7, 177-182.

Osterman, K. F., & Kottkamp, R. B. (2004). Reflective practice for educators: Professional development to improve student learning (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA US: Corwin Press.

Quezada, R. L. (2004). Beyond educational tourism: Lessons learned while student teaching abroad. International Education Journal, 5(4), 2004.

Sharma, S., Rahatzad, J., & Phillion, J. (2013). How preservice teachers engage in the process of (de)colonization: Findings from an international field experience in Honduras. Interchange, 43, 363-377. doi: 10.1007/s10780-013-9182-2

Trent, S., Kea, C., & Oh, K. (2008). Preparing pre-service educators for cultural diversity: How far we have come? Exceptional Children, 74(3), 328-350.

United States Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics. (2012). The condition of education 2012, (NCES Publication No. 2012-045). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from

Zhao, Y., Meyers, L, & Meyers, B. (2009). Cross-cultural immersion in China: Preparing preservice elementary teachers to work with diverse student populations in the United States. AsiaPacific Journal of Teacher Education, 37(3), 295-317. doi: 10.1080/13598660903058925