Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Timothy Lafferty


The problem that prompted this study was that teachers at a local private school werestruggling to identify and implement appropriate instructional strategies to promote international student academic and social engagement. The purpose of this study was to examine teacher perceptions and experiences about instructing international students. The conceptual framework of this study was based on Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism. The research questions explored teachers’ perceptions about their knowledge, experiences, and perceptions of students’ school acculturation and teachers’ instructional processes. A case study design was used to capture the insights of 12 high school teachers of international students through semistructured interviews; purposeful sampling was used to select participants. Emergent themes were identified through open coding, and the findings were developed and checked for trustworthiness through member checking and rich descriptions. The findings revealed that teachers perceived students need academic acculturation and that teachers need increased knowledge about integrating constructivist strategies. A professional development project was created to provide teachers with knowledge of Chinese educational practices, international student acculturation, and instructional strategies to promote international student engagement. This study has implications for positive social change by providing a structure to increase teacher knowledge and instructional approaches of acculturation strategies and learning experiences for international students.