Effects of a study abroad teacher training program on the language, identity, affect, and intercultural competence of Korean teachers of English
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This study investigated the linguistic, affective, and intercultural outcomes of a four-week study abroad program for Korean teachers of English offered through a U.S. southwestern university. In an effort to understand better what the 42 participants experienced during their study abroad, mixed methods including quantitative and qualitative data analysis, were used. To measure the participants‟ linguistic development, pretest and posttest measures of Listening, Reading, Structure, Speaking, and Writing were administered by the study abroad program. Also, participants responded to Self- Assessment questionnaires developed by the National Language Service Corps that asked them to assess the degree to which their reading, speaking, and listening had improved. The participants‟ daily journal entries were collected throughout the program, and some of the participants were interviewed at the beginning, at the middle, and at the end of the program on a volunteer basis. For the quantitative data analysis, the pretest and posttest scores of each measure were statistically compared by using MANOVA with follow-up ANOVA tests. Except for the reading scores, the other four measures showed significant improvement from pretest to posttest. For the Self-Assessment questionnaire, most participants checked only a few items as having improved. Interestingly, a few perceived that they had become less able to do some of the listening and speaking items over the program. These findings can be explained as resulting from overestimation before this program or as a result of increase in self-monitoring processes during the program. Through the constant comparison method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998), four themes emerged from analysis of the qualitative data. First, many participants were motivated to improve their English proficiency and increase authentic contacts with local people, with various sources shaping their motivation. Second, they increased their awareness of cultural and linguistic differences between the United States and Korea. Third, some participants showed a feeling of resistance to the dominant culture represented by native English-speaking instructors of the program. Fourth, at the end of the program, many showed improved intercultural competence. Results provide some theoretical, methodological, pedagogical, and policy implications for study abroad researchers, participants, and program instructors.