The purpose of this study is to explore the factors that influence expatriate teacher retention in Colombian schools that are accredited through AdvancED and affiliated with the Association of Colombian-Caribbean American Schools (ACCAS). This research adds to previous studies completed on turnover and retention in other regions of the world, and focuses on both institutional and individual factors related to teacher retention. The approach for this study is founded in a mixed-method design involving both quantitative and qualitative research. Following the explanatory-sequential model (Creswell, 2014), an online survey was completed by 113 expatriate teachers representing the 13 Colombian schools accredited by AdvancED and affiliated with ACCAS. After an analysis of survey data, focus group questions were developed in order to further explore the significant factors of teacher retention for teachers in the region. Seven focus groups at four schools in the region were conducted, with forty teachers participating in the qualitative research process. Upon completion of the research, nine institutional factors and seven individual factors demonstrated statistically significant relationships to teacher retention. In addition, three additional factors were discovered as potentially significant based on the qualitative data from the focus group interviews. One of the most noteworthy findings is the role that school administrators play in expatriate teacher retention. These factors include support from the school director and principals, communication from school administration, teacher workload, and teacher involvement in decision making. Also noteworthy are the individual factors teachers' reported as significant. These factors include the quality of personal life in Colombia, living conditions, the ability to speak Spanish, and connection to the local community. Additional factors discovered through the focus group interviews that may be important include autonomy in teaching, positive relationships with students and having a local "significant other". The findings from this study indicate that living and teaching in Colombia is difficult and potentially challenging for expatriate teachers, especially when they come unprepared for the living conditions or do not have a strong enough background in Spanish to communicate freely and overcome cultural barriers. The implications of the results from this research are that administrators in these schools must provide consistent support, promote a positive school community, communicate clearly and concisely, and provide reasonable workloads with ample preparation time. Additionally, the school leaders must understand the importance of both individual and personal factors teachers face as expatriate faculty members. The findings of this study suggest that not only can the factors affecting teacher retention be anticipated, but they can become a focus for change for school leaders that will lead to improved teacher retention. If schools can successfully address these factors, teacher retention is far more likely to improve.
University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation. )ctober 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Deanne Magnusson. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 173 pages.
Factors that Influence Teacher Retention in US Accredited Schools in Colombia.
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