Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language

First Advisor

YouJin Kim

Second Advisor

Kathleen Bailey

Third Advisor

Diane Belcher

Fourth Advisor

John Murphy


Short-term study abroad (SA) programs are popular components of second language (L2) teacher education programs (Wernicke, 2010), which are an ideal time to introduce innovative teaching approaches such as task-based language teaching (TBLT; Ogilvie & Dunn, 2010). However, little research examines the effect of such programs on preservice L2 teachers’ cognition development related to teaching approaches. The SA setting can provide opportunities for teaching experience and critical reflection (Trent, 2011), yet few studies have investigated the impact of short-term programs on participants’ future teaching trajectories. The current dissertation investigated preservice L2 teachers’ cognition development about teaching approaches, tasks, and the role of the teacher over eight months—prior to, during, and following a teaching-English-as-a-foreign-language (TEFL) course with a short-term SA component featuring daily teaching practice. It also examined participants’ implementation of tasks on SA and the impact of SA on the teachers regarding perceived benefits, SA elements that facilitated their learning, and its influence on their future trajectories.

The dissertation was a longitudinal, multi-case study with three focal participants—two U.S. undergraduates and one master’s student with a range of academic experience—enrolled in a TEFL course that included a two-month predeparture period and two weeks of daily teaching practice in Mexico. Data were collected through semi-structured individual interviews, focus group interviews, teacher observations, and documents, including teachers’ predeparture assignments, lesson plans, reflections, and portfolios. Videos of teaching on SA were analyzed using an analytic rubric developed around key task criteria. Interview and written data were analyzed qualitatively and triangulated with the analysis of a pedagogical beliefs questionnaire. The findings revealed that two teachers implemented TBLT, adapting their tasks to the local EFL context, while one took an eclectic approach. The cognitions of the teachers with stronger academic backgrounds became more nuanced over time, while the most novice teacher’s cognitions showed less change. Finally, the SA experience was seen as beneficial even by participants for whom TEFL was not a career goal. The findings are discussed considering the benefits and challenges of short-term SA and practice teaching in SLTE and the effectiveness of TBLT as an approach for preservice teachers.


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