School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Samuel Smith


International Schools, First-year Teachers, Curriculum Development


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study is to describe the experiences of teachers in Christian international schools during the process of developing curriculum for their classes during their first-year of teaching at the school. In light of the purpose of the study, the following research questions framed this investigation: How do first-year teachers describe their experiences developing curriculum during their first year of teaching at an international Christian school? What challenges do first-year teachers encounter when beginning to develop curriculum for their classes? What are first-year teachers’ expectations of support during curriculum development? How do first-year teachers describe their experiences adjusting to a new culture while at the same time working to develop curriculum? The participants for this study were purposefully selected classroom teachers who had been teaching at an ACSI international school at least one year, but no more than three years. The theories guiding this study were experiential learning theory and the theory of cultural intelligence. Data collection methods included analyzing school documents, a photo narrative, and interviews. Data analysis procedures followed a heuristic research approach. The following themes emerged as a result of analyzing teacher interviews, photo narratives, and curriculum documents: (a) decision to teach internationally, (b) first year challenges teaching overseas, (c) outgrowth of living cross culturally, (d) developing curriculum at an international school, and (e) challenges to developing curriculum in an international school.