Research Consortium for Belizean Studies


The impact of short-term study abroad on teachers’ self-efficacy and understanding of diversity


The education workforce in the United States is mainly white, while the majority of students in U.S. schools are children of color. Research demonstrates that schools struggle to meet the diverse needs of students of color as a result of culturally unrelated educational experiences provided in U.S. classrooms. This chapter examines the efforts of a School of Education at a regional university in Texas in using short- term study abroad experiences to develop pre-service and in-service teachers’ global awareness and social responsibility, with the goal to close the gap between teachers’ and students’ diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This phenomenological qualitative study aimed to determine the influence of a short-term study abroad trip on educa- tors’ efficacy and preparedness to address the needs of diverse students. Results suggest that the study abroad experiences influenced the Texas educators’ perspectives of the world. Three major themes were identified across participants’ responses: appreciation, respect, and desire to do more in communities. Stepping outside the cultural comfort of the U.S. creates a greater understanding of cultural differences, and it provides the foundation for personal growth.


Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

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Publisher Citation

In L. Hemmer, P. Robertson, J. Sanders, & A. Mejia (Eds.) In Crossing Boundaries/Crossing Borders: Narratives of Intercultural Experiences (pp. 57-75). Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.