STEM professional learning: supports and tensions with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabian teachers’ immersion experiences in Australian schools

Sarika Kewalramani, Megan Adams, Rebecca Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A novel way to support change and development in a country’s education system is to send teachers abroad on a professional learning program, so that they become immersed in a different culture, language and education system. The focus of this study was to investigate the supports and tensions created during a professional learning and leadership development program, in which teachers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) (n = 45) lived in Australia for one year. A multiple case study approach was used to report on the analysis of individual interviews with the KSA teachers (n = 5) and their capstone projects. Drawing on the 2019 study of McChesney and Aldridge, we report on findings related to the teachers’ evolving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) integration and leadership skills. Findings indicated that there were both tensions and supports for the KSA teachers. Tensions existed as the teachers were developing their English language proficiency and learned more pedagogical ideas about the integration of STEM into the curriculum. Furthermore, the KSA teachers benefitted from mentor teachers’ support in schools and modelling of leadership practices with respect to planning and through completion of a capstone project. Implications concerning an international immersion program are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-419
Number of pages22
JournalTeachers and teaching: theory and practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • STEM professional learning
  • Supports
  • teacher leadership capacity
  • teacher STEM integration
  • teacher transnational immersion program
  • tensions

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