Date of Award

12-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Spearman, Mindy

Committee Member

Fleming, David

Committee Member

Holaday, Bonnie

Abstract

The challenge we face as educators is how to best prepare our students for an increasingly complex and interconnected world. A growing interest in global citizenship education is evidenced by its inclusion in academia related to curriculum development and teacher preparation (Banks, 2008; Merryfield, 2000; 2001; 2003; 2009; Myers, 2006; Nussbaum, 2002). I, following other scholars, argue that global citizenship education provides an opportunity to develop tolerances, appreciation for differences, and global awareness, as well as providing a format to address current and future global issues (Ikeda, D. 2005; Noddings, 2005a; Merryfield 2000; 2007; 2009). Yet, a review of the literature indicates a lack of studies with practicing teachers. This study seeks to address this issue. I conducted a cross-cultural interaction research project with practicing elementary teachers in South Carolina upstate elementary schools and teachers in Egypt. The study sought to investigate how teachers in the United States conceptualize global citizenship and global citizenship education, and to examine the effects of cross-cultural interaction upon their conceptions. Findings suggest that cross-cultural interaction broadens conceptualizations of global citizenship and global citizenship education, and increases a sense of value for global citizenship education. In addition, findings suggest that teachers in rural areas believe low socio-economics and community isolation limit their students’ ability to comprehend global concepts. Other findings indicate a reluctance to go outside the standards to address a topic, even if the teachers find it valuable. This study has the potential to contribute to the fields of global citizenship education and staff development for practicing teachers by providing a better understanding of conceptualizations of global citizenship and global citizenship education, as well as the effect of cross-cultural interactions.

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