Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Teacher Leadership for Learning

First Advisor

Dr. Corrie Davis

Second Advisor

Dr. Guichun Zong

Third Advisor

Dr. Harriet Bessette


A plethora of literature discusses the flattening of the world we live in (Friedman, 2007) and the need for teachers to educate K-12 students for global learning. However, the literature is critically lacking in empirical evidence in how this is to take place in classrooms. In addition, existing empirical studies have focused primarily on American social studies educators at the secondary school level. Scholars differ in their own understanding of what global education means and should look like in schools, how teachers are to incorporate it into their curriculum, and how it benefits K-12 learners. The purpose of the present qualitative case study was to explore how non-social studies K-12 educators in the United States and abroad conceptualize global education, how they teach for global learning, and how they make decisions regarding pedagogy and curricula when teaching for global learning.

The participants were a purposeful sampling of six teachers engaged in telecollaborative projects through the website the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN), with the sample being chosen to maximize diversity of participants and their students. Data were collected through questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, message exchanges, blog postings, document analysis, and reflective memos. Findings indicated that participants framed their conceptualizations of global education around their own experiences and values and around students' needs and experiences. In addition, they lacked formal preparation to teach for global learning, and stressed the importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in global learning. Participants also identified factors which facilitated and hindered the process when teaching for global learning. Finally, participants integrated global education into their classrooms because of their personal commitment to it, and in spite of a lack of formal curriculum. These findings are interpreted within the context of Hicks' (2003b, 2007b) four-fold framework for global education.

The present study builds on existing lines of inquiry by adding to the knowledge base, as it explores the ways in which teachers in fields other than social studies, lacking a global education curriculum, at all grade levels K-12, and in both the US and abroad, conceptualize global education, how they teach for global learning, and how they make decisions in teaching for global learning.