Date of Award

Winter 12-14-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Middle Grades Education - Social Studies (Ed.D)


Secondary and Middle Grades Education

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Guichun Zong

Second Advisor

Dr. Ivan Jorrin Abellan

Third Advisor

Dr. Anete Vasquez


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to begin to explore the challenges, opportunities, and benefits of a differentiated curriculum for gifted middle grades students that was based on both state standards and within a global citizenship education framework (GCE). The study used active middle grades social studies practitioners as research participants. The study was guided by two research questions; (1) What are teachers’ practices when building a thematic curriculum based on GCE? (2) What are the teachers’ perceived challenges, opportunities, and benefits of a social studies curriculum based on GCE? Data points for the study included lesson and unit plans, interviews, and classroom observations. Data was coded, winnowed, and aggregated into themes that focused on informing the research questions.

What the data revealed was a shared understanding of approaches to building curriculum while providing clarity on the shared understanding of the perceived challenges, opportunities and benefits of a curriculum based on GCE. The themes presented in the data showed that teachers relied on collaboration, skill building and perspectives as approaches to building a curriculum. The data produced a list of perceived challenges, benefits, and opportunities from such a curriculum. The data was distilled and broken into a blueprint for use in the establishment or maintenance of a thematic curriculum based on GCE and the illumination of the necessary pillars that would uphold a GCE approach in a social studies department while helping guiding practitioners and policy makers alike.