Experiencing the Local to Become Global: A Portrait of Teaching and Learning Abroad


  • Kristy A. Brugar University of Oklahoma


international teaching experiences, social studies, place-based education


 This case study analyzes the experiences of two first-year American (U.S.) social studies teachers, Sam and Libby, working aboard. Over the course of the year, these two teachers developed an understanding of place and themselves as global educators.  Using place-based theory (Sobel, 1994) and drawing on case study methodology, the research question is: How do international teaching experiences impact in-service teachers’ identities as global educators?  I interviewed Sam and Libby six times over the course of one calendar year about their teaching and living experiences in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, their first-year teaching as well as their thoughts on global teaching and learning.  Findings show each teacher developed a growing understanding of place and their identity as global educators. The implications of these understandings have an impact their work as social studies teachers and ways in which international experiences may be used to facilitate better global understandings.  Recommendations for future research, teacher education, and in-service teacher professional development are identified.

Author Biography

Kristy A. Brugar, University of Oklahoma

Kristy Brugar is an Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. Her research interests include interdisciplinary instruction, the use of visual material to promote meaningful and integrative social studies instruction, and teacher preparation and agency.