Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Member

Dr. S. Megan Che, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Sandra Linder

Committee Member

Dr. Mindy Spearman

Committee Member

Prof. Jeffrey 'Kip' Kingree


Since the early 1990s, there has been a considerable uptick in the recruitment of international teachers to the U.S. to teach subject areas that experience perennial teacher shortages, including mathematics, science, special education, and languages, in hard-to-staff, high needs urban or rural K-12 schools. However, research is only starting to emerge that considers the social and pedagogical transition processes of these teachers. This study examines how international secondary mathematics teachers negotiate dialectics, and tensions, between their perceptions of effective mathematics teaching practices in their home contexts as compared to expectations in U.S. public schools, and relatedly, how international teachers’, and their students’ perceptions of classroom interactions relate to mathematics learning experiences. The study uses partially mixed, concurrent, dominant status mixed-methods research design to explore teachers’ transitional processes and develop profiles of teachers’ interpersonal behavior. Data analyses are grounded on interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009) and descriptive statistics. This study’s findings add to a scholarly base that points to difficulties international teachers encounter during the socialization process into their new school contexts. This study also questions assertions on the transferability of teacher effectiveness and posits the need for closer consideration of hitherto unexplored connections between international teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT) and the concomitant need to address intercultural awareness, classroom culture, and the set of norms that govern and contribute to discourse and interactions in mathematics classroom settings. Implications for practice, and suggestions for ongoing professional development necessary to meet the specific needs of international mathematics teachers are discussed.



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