Expatriate Teachers

Susan Barduhn

SIT faculty are experienced and curious practitioners of their craft.  As an example, in her sabbatical this year Susan Barduhn investigates the influence of a particular segment of the world’s English language teachers.  Here, she shares her approaches and requests your participation in her study.

Hello MAT alums, future MATs, colleagues, and friends,

I am very fortunate in having been granted a sabbatical for this academic year, and I’d like to tell you about the exciting project I’m doing for it. My focus is on expatriate teachers who have taught English in at least three different countries. I will be looking at our influence on the spread of English, and on our professional development and career paths. I also want to explore who the expatriate teacher is, and why we choose to live outside the countries where we grew up.

Here are some of my focus questions:

  • What are the history and consequences of 40 years of English language teacher training by English native speakers in foreign countries, mostly done by the British Council, the United States Information Service, and language institutes that specialize in teacher training such as International House, and the United States Information Service?
  • How has the field of professional development for teacher educators evolved during this time?
  • In the transition from English as a tool of imperialism to English as a tool for global communication, what has been the role and response of English language teacher education?
  • Who was and is the typical expatriate language teacher educator?
  • How has the role of the expatriate language teacher educator changed during the past 40 years?
  • How has the role of the expatriate educator influenced the development of the profession?
  • What are the differences in approach to training from the current elders/mentors with those who are emerging as language teacher educators?
  • What are the implications for the MAT program of my study?
  • How might my conclusions inform recruitment?
  • Our MATs are increasingly non-native speaker teachers. How can we prepare them better for their own contexts?
  • Do we need to reconsider our curriculum in light of my findings?

An addition, I have a long held wish to make available to others the writings I have been keeping in journals throughout my career. Teacher Development has been the focus of that career. I have spoken at countless conferences all over the world, sharing my thoughts, experiences and research as they evolved. I would like to take advantage of a sabbatical to begin to put my life’s work into one piece. In addition to articles, chapters and my dissertation, I have 31 volumes of personal journals, which record (among many other things) my experiences as a teacher and teacher educator in Colombia, Kenya, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S., and as a freelance trainer and supervisor on every continent except Australia. I am in the process of rereading and documenting these journals, paying particular attention to what I have written that addresses the research questions above.

My intended methodology for the research about the role of the expatriate teacher educator will include three research instruments:

  1. An investigation into research done by others on the development of the expatriate teacher educator, their influence on the profession and on the role of English. That constitutes a literature review.
  2. A questionnaire which will be sent out to members of professional teachers’ associations. This will include quantitative questions to get a profile of the expatriate teacher, both typical and atypical, where they have lived and when and for how long, how they situate in the history of the profession, and what they have done to focus on their professional development.
  3. Interviews with teacher educators who have been and/or are still are expatriates. I will be focusing on qualitative information.

So here’s an invitation: if you have taught English in at least three different countries, and would like to be part of my research, get in touch with me! susan.barduhn@sit.edu.

Susan Barduhn


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One Response to “Expatriate Teachers”

  1. matadmissions Says:

    Should you meet Susan’s criteria above, you are encouraged to take her thoughtfully designed survey at

    What a great way to learn: have fun!

    Marshall Brewer
    SIT Graduate Admissions

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