Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Donna M. Brackin


AbstractInternational teachers who arrive in the United States from developing countries often experience challenges adjusting to the U.S. classroom environment. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the perceptions of international middle and high school teachers at a rural school district in the southern United States on the challenges that they face with adjusting to mandated curriculum and instructional practices that may influence classroom management and effective instruction for student achievement. The conceptual framework for the study was self-determination theory which indicates that when individuals have autonomy, relatedness, and competence, they will perform at their highest level of proficiency. The research questions were developed to gather qualitative data on teachers’ perceptions of the challenges that they face with adjusting to the mandated curriculum and instructional practices, and their suggestions for improving the adjustment experience of international teachers. Semi structured interviews were used to collect data for this basic qualitative study from 15 international middle and high school teachers hired through three recruiting agencies from developing countries who taught a tested subject or a world language. The interview transcripts were analyzed using first-cycle open coding and second-cycle axial coding to find patterns, categories, and themes. The findings revealed that teachers faced challenges with understanding curriculum and implementing unfamiliar instructional practices, lack of autonomy, classroom management issues, and lack of support. The study has implications for research on international teachers, mandated curriculum, classroom management, and cultural responsiveness. The potential for positive social change exists in the areas of improved instruction for international teachers, mentoring, and professional development.