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Connections and Contradictions in Teacher Practices for Preparing Globally Minded Citizens in Two IB Public Schools


by Laura Quaynor - 2015

Background/Context: With 13 million immigrants arriving in the United States between 2000 and 2010, immigration is at its highest level in a century. At the same time, there has been an exponential increase in the number of IB PYP and MYP schools in the United States, from 88 registered in 1997 to 1,470 in 2013. Much of this increase has been in Title I schools serving diverse populations. This work examines classroom practice at the intersection of these phenomena.

Purpose: Within two different schools that offer IB programs and serve substantial numbers of immigrant and refugee youth, how do teachers prepare youth for citizenship?

Setting: This study took place at two public middle schools in suburban neighborhoods in the southeastern United States.

Population: Participants included seven middle school teachers, two administrators, and 27 sixth-grade students from 11 different countries.

Intervention/Program/Practice: Both schools were registered as IB World Schools.

Research Design: This paper reports on a comparative case study of six classrooms in two International Baccalaureate schools.

Data Collection and Analysis: The author shares findings based on 65 classroom observations over the course of one semester, nine interviews with adult teachers and administrators.

Data was analyzed using a phenomenological approach, beginning with analyzing data from each classroom, then from each school, and finally comparing themes between classrooms and students in the two schools. Data analysis began with codes based on theoretical frameworks for citizenship.

Findings/Results: A wide divergence in teacher practice was observed, with some practices exemplifying a flexible teacher orientation towards global education, acknowledging the global experiences, multiple languages, and variety of viewpoints that students brought into the classroom. Other practices exemplified a fixed teacher orientation towards global education, ignoring the variety of student experiences, languages, and viewpoints in the classroom.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Based on the differences in implemented curricula in the two schools across classrooms, the author proposes expanding frameworks for understanding global education. Global education can be implemented with a flexible or fixed orientation, as educators design activities and present content in ways that recognize or disregard students’ identities and experiences. The study suggests that the use of International Baccalaureate programs is no guarantee of a global education connected to the experiences of immigrant and refugee youth. Modifications in teacher practice and school structures are necessary in order to make global education relevant to diverse youth.



INTRODUCTION


The sun hung high in the sky over Holly Middle School on a warm September day in the southeastern United States. All the sixth grade students could be found on the track behind the main building, carrying plastic water jugs for 1 mile. This activity was designed as an experiential component of Water Day, part of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme; the intention was to help students understand that children all over the world had to haul water to their homes every day, sometimes missing school. Some of the students joining in this activity were recent refugees from Burma, Nepal, Sudan, and Bhutan. These students knew what it meant to haul water, as it was a part of their daily life in refugee camps. Instead of using Water Day as an opportunity to connect to this experience, the implementation of this activity asked them to empathize with poor children like themselves.

As schools in the 21st century focus on fostering global perspectives among students, more teachers are implementing the International Baccalaureate frameworks in order to build global awareness. Yet well-meaning educators can easily forget to start with the perspectives and experiences of the students they serve. In the above episode, an activity intended to deepen global perspectives and empathy among U.S. students did not have the same meaning when implemented with refugee students who attended the same school.

The International Baccalaureate framework, which originated as a curriculum to prepare an elite body of students for transnational careers (van Oord, 2008), is now touted as both a way to keep middle class parents in public schools (Lutton, 2012; Tarc, 2009) and a reform model that will allow for quality education for low-income and immigrant youth (Conner, 2008; Jackson, 2010). This article uses a qualitative analysis to understand the implementation of education for globally minded citizenship in classrooms serving immigrant and refugee students in public International Baccalaureate schools. Employing a phenomenological perspective, the study reports findings from classroom observations, teacher interviews, and focus group interviews. The phenomenon under study is the implemented curriculum, a holistic concept that includes the content students explored, the ways they explored it, and interactions among teachers and students. Based on the findings, the author advocates for an expanded conceptual framework for global education, one that considers the perspectives of students as they learn about the world.

Although U.S. schools have always served students of diverse origins (Fraser, 2009), the number of transnational,1 immigrant, and refugee students in public schools is at its highest level in statistical history (Hernandez, Denton, & Macartney, 2007). Paralleling this trend, there are increasing numbers of schools in the United States that position themselves as international schools with the goal of educating youth for a globalized world (Parker, 2007). Research on global education has focused on documenting the ways teachers implement global education after participating in methods classes (Merryfield, 1998) or educators’ and students’ conceptions of international education (Dolby & Rahman, 2008; Gaudelli & Fernekes, 2004; Myers & Zaman, 2009; Parker & Camicia, 2009). Although these studies provide rich and important information, there is a need for understanding the varying ways global education is enacted by teachers in schools serving a diverse student body.

Because immigrant and refugee students have historically been underserved by U.S. schools (Sarr & Mosselson, 2010) internationally focused schools seem to be promising institutions that would allow teachers to build off of the rich experiences these students bring with them to school. However, as seen in the vignette shared at the beginning of this article, global education can also assume that students encounter the world from a particular orientation, reinforcing existing power dynamics (Apple, 2010). This paper describes classroom practices that can result when global students attend global schools.

This study investigated three questions examining the contours of education for citizenship within six classrooms in two schools implementing International Baccalaureate programs. Citizenship was chosen as the organizing concept both because it is often characterized as the central purpose of public schools (Banks, 2008; Dewey, 1919) and global and International Baccalaureate schools (Bunnell, 2008; Hobson & Silova, 2014). The questions included the following: (1) How does the implemented curriculum, including content, pedagogy, and climate, educate students for citizenship? (2) What are students taught about different levels of affinity (community, national, global, and transnational) and dimensions of citizenship (status, practice, and feeling)? (3) How does the curricular implementation align and differ among teachers in selected classrooms in these two schools?

The findings shared in this paper illustrate that global education as enacted by teachers in classrooms with transnational students can have a fixed or flexible orientation, recognizing or ignoring the unique and multifaceted points of entry students have in learning about the world. Below, I provide contextual information about global education in the United States and the importance of citizenship education for refugee and immigrant youth. I then discuss the theoretical frameworks, methods, and findings for this qualitative work. Based on 65 classroom observations over the course of one semester, nine adult interviews, and focus group interviews with 27 students, I argue that a wide variety of teacher practices are found within schools focused on global education. Some of these practices indicate that an educator has a flexible orientation to global education, recognizing that students have a variety of languages and nationalities; others indicate that an educator has a fixed orientation to global education, assuming that students have the same linguistic or national points of entry. I use these findings to propose an expansion to a common framework for understanding contemporary international education (Parker & Camicia, 2009). The implications for educators and policy makers include the need for adaptive implementation of any school reform model; especially if the intention of global education is to both connect to students’ experiences and widen their perspectives.

GLOBAL EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES


The current era of globalization is marked by an exponential increase of the speed at which ideas, money, and people cross borders (Friedman, 2005; Pieterse, 2009). Education that prepares youth for a globalized world is now a commonsense discourse (Gramsci, 1971) framed in both humanistic and economic terms. Increasingly, a neoliberal conception of the need to be competitive in a global market is touted as the reason for school reforms aimed to benefit both individual students and the nation (Giroux, 2013). Despite the ways in which a focus on international competition can reify economic divisions among different classes of students, this increased attention to global education can open spaces for praxis (Apple, 2010). In this section, I provide a brief background of the global education movement within the United States and the creation and expansion of International Baccalaureate schools within this movement. I then discuss recent research in the field of global education that is relevant to the current study.

Although International Baccalaureate programs are becoming more widespread in U.S. public schools today (Bunnell, 2011; Cech, 2007), they originated in a wave of global education rooted in post-World War II shifts in the geopolitical landscape (Anderson, 1979; Sutton, 1999; Tye, 2009). After funding international education programs such as the Model United Nations in the 1950s and ‘60s, in 1968 the Department of Education and the National Council of the Social Studies shifted to focusing on global education programs (Tye, 2009). Whereas international education involved learning about different parts of the world, global education focused on the connections among different regions of the world (Tye, 2009).

In the 1970s, the field of global education, as distinct from international education, continued to grow (Anderson, 1979). Political scientists at universities created curricula for teachers to trace the ways that local communities connected to other communities and nations (Alger, 1974, Tye, 2009); universities also used public and private funding to create centers for global education, develop curriculum materials, train K–12 teachers, and advance scholarship in the field (Sutton, 1999). The global education movement expanded further in the 1980s and 1990s, as many public school districts partnered with universities across the United States to develop global programs at all levels of schooling (Hahn, 1984; Tye, 2009). This popularity was countered with substantial attacks on global education by individuals and foundations associated with the conservative movement (Sutton, 1999; Tye, 2009). Today, tensions continue between advocates of global education and detractors who believe it takes away focus from national issues or limits the development of patriotism among youth (Quist, 2010).

At the same time that global education was developing in the United States, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma was born. Rooted in a 1948 United Nations Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) document, Is There a Way of Teaching for Peace? by Marie-Thérèse Maurette (Walker, 2004), teachers at the International School of Geneva, Switzerland, created the IB Diploma as an international university admissions qualification for children of the global elite (Fox, 2001). In the years since, the IB has expanded to develop programs for students ages 3–19 implemented across the globe (Bunnell, 2011; Drake, 2004), providing curricular frameworks and assessment tools intended to “create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect” (IBO, 2013).

Within the United States, the number of schools offering IB programs has grown exponentially in the last few decades, from 88 in 1997 to 1,470 in 2013 (IBO, 2013). Ninety percent of these programs are offered in public schools, and 30% are in Title I schools, which receive special federal funding due to serving a majority of students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged (Cech, 2007). The use of this curricular framework that originated as preparation for a global elite (van Oord, 2008), is now promoted as a tactic to keep middle class parents in public schools (Lutton, 2012; Tarc, 2009) and provide quality education for low-income and immigrant youth (Connor, 2008; Jackson, 2010).

The IB Organization offers four programs: an IB Career Certificate, for students 16-19; the original Diploma Programme, for students 16-18; the Middle Years Programme, for students 12-16; and a Primary Years Programme for students 3-12. Although implementation of the IB Diploma Programme has risen, the largest growth of IB in U.S. public schools has been within elementary schools and middle schools implementing the PYP and MYP, respectively. Schools who implement these programs pay a yearly subscription fee of $7,790–$10,660 to the International Baccalaureate organization, in addition to paying for required teacher training (IBO, 2013).

Most research investigating educating students for citizenship in global and IB programs focuses on 16–18 year old students in the IB Diploma Programme (Bunnell, 2008). This work reports that students in IB programs have opportunities to develop a more global perspective than students in other high school programs (Hayden, Thompson, & Williams, 2003; Hinrichs, 2003) yet student conceptions of citizenship and citizenship pedagogy can differ substantially between IB schools (Alviar-Martin & Usher, 2010; Hobson & Silova, 2014). In research on global education more generally, personal and educational experiences of teachers seem to significantly influence the way in which they incorporate global content into the classroom (Merryfield, 1998). These findings suggest that similar trends could be at play in International Baccalaureate schools for younger students. However, it is unclear what this might mean for the daily experience of students in such schools. Given the exponential increase in the number of IB PYP and MYP schools in the U.S. serving diverse populations, it is important to examine classroom practice in such settings.

TRANSNATIONAL STUDENTS AND CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION


With 13 million immigrants arriving in the United States between 2000–2010, immigration is at its highest level in a century (Grieco et al., 2012) and this has implications for education. One in four students in U.S. public schools are immigrants themselves or have at least one immigrant parent (Fortuny, Hernandez, & Chaudry, 2010). These immigrants to the United States have widely diverse experiences, and include refugees and asylum-seekers, individuals fleeing political persecution and conflict. The United States is the largest resettlement country for refugees worldwide, accepting over 3 million refugees since 1975 (Refugee Council USA, 2011). The wealth of experiences and entrepreneurial ethos attributed to this diverse group of immigrants has been cited as a source of economic and civic strength in the U.S. (Furman & Gray, 2012).

Despite the many ways immigrants add to the fabric of the United States, both documentary and academic reports point to contradictory ways that immigrants and refugees experience the United States (Ackerman, 2008; Lee, 2005; Ong, 2003). For many families, public schools serve as the main point of contact with mainstream U.S. culture, a pathway to English language proficiency, and a gateway to economic opportunity (McBrien, 2005). Indeed, parents from a variety of ethnic groups place high hopes in the school, citing it as a path to a brighter future for their children (Vang, 2005).


How do schools function in the socialization of these youth? Suárez-Orozco and Suárez-Orozco (2001) report that “the length of residence in the United States seems associated with declining health, school achievement, and aspirations, more ambivalent attitudes toward school, and lower grades” (p. 354). Valenzuela (1999) has characterized this process of peripheralization of non-white, non-English speaking students as subtractive schooling. In relationship to education for citizenship, Levinson (2010) documents a civic empowerment gap, in which non-English speaking, low-SES students of immigrant origin have lower reported civic engagement and fewer school-based opportunities for civic learning.  Civic engagement is important for young people’s life opportunities, and has been linked with both school performance and health (Levine, 2008).

Civic education studies consistently report that immigrant and refugee students measure lower than nonimmigrant students in surveys of civic knowledge, attitudes, and participation (Niemi & Junn, 1998; Torney-Purta, Barber, & Wilkenfield, 2006). Non-white students and students of lower socioeconomic status tend to demonstrate lower levels of civic knowledge, and report being less likely to participate in civic activities; in some studies, immigrant and nonimmigrant students have similar scores after researchers controlled for socioeconomic differences (Lopez & Marcelo, 2008). However, the differences between immigrant and nonimmigrant students do not apply to all civic behaviors. In multiple studies, immigrant students reported discussing politics, reading news about current events, and volunteering in their communities at similar levels as their non-immigrant peers (Stepick, Stepick, & Labissiere, 2008; Torney-Purta, Barber, & Wilkenfield, 2006). Furthermore, among high school students, the quality and frequency of social studies education, as well as students’ expressed connections to their schools, is associated with an increase in civic behavior such as voting and participatory conceptions of citizenship (Rubin, 2007).

Although it is critical to understand student perceptions of citizenship and quantitative measures of student knowledge, less research has focused on how these perceptions and knowledge are shaped in schools (Ong, 1999; Rubin, 2007). This study describes the implementation of education for citizenship in schools with a global focus. In so doing, this work provides an important lens into how written curricula is enacted by teachers working with immigrant and refugee students.

UNPACKING CITIZENSHIP


I approached this study overlaying two common frameworks for understanding the concept of citizenship, which guided the analysis of data. I began by using Banks’ (2008) conception of citizenship as layered – that individuals have cultural, national, and global affinities. For each of these layers of citizenship, I analyzed information according to Osler and Starkey’s (2005) dimensions of citizenship—status, feeling, and practice. This framework recognizes that individuals are concurrently members of a wide variety of communities, and the extent of their membership varies according to these three dimensions. For example, students express the global layer of citizenship in the three dimensions when they articulate that as members of a global community they have human rights [status], feel connected to people in other countries on the basis of their common humanity [feeling], and read about international events and post news articles on a social media site to share with friends or family members [practice].

METHODS


This article draws on a comparative case study which explored how teachers in two schools that offer IB programs and serve substantial numbers of immigrant and refugee youth prepare these youth for citizenship in the United States. The schools were purposefully selected based on location and student diversity, and the study was limited to two schools to allow for the rich description of each case while also investigating the possible spectrum of teacher practices in IB schools. This interpretive case study focused on the process of school as a lived experience (Merriam, 2009). The next sections provide information about the sites, participants, and data analysis in the study. As the instrument of study, I share my own perspective in approaching this work, discussing validity and reliability threats and checks specific to this study.

SITES

This study took place at the Global Charter School (GCS) and Holly Middle School (HMS), two schools in suburban neighborhoods of King County, a major urban area in the southeastern United States. Since the 1980s, agencies contracted by the federal government to resettle refugees have sent hundreds and sometimes thousands of refugees to King County each year, developing the largest concentration of refugees in the southeast. Overall, King County’s population was 54% Black, 29% White (Non-Hispanic), 10% Hispanic, 5% Asian, and 2% multiracial (U.S. Census, 2010). Similar to the overall population in the state, 17% of residents lived below the poverty level (U.S. Census, 2010).

King County was purposefully selected as the focus of this study due to its status as a center for refugee relocation. At the time of this study, GCS and HMS were the only two IB World schools in King County that served middle school students. Since the completion of this study, two more public middle schools in King County have also been designated as IB World Schools (IBO, 2013).

PARTICIPANTS

Participants in this study included sixth grade students at two schools; their social studies, ESOL, and language arts teachers; administrators and support staff. Between 12 and 14 students at each school who self-identified as refugee or immigrant students participated in focus groups. Appendix A summarizes the number of data sources and provides details about the teachers and students who participated in the study.

DATA ANALYSIS

This study was intended to examine the ways that teachers in two different schools prepare immigrant and refugee students for citizenship through classroom practice and school activities. Because I desired to detail structural descriptions of an experience (Merriam, 2009), I used phenomenological analysis to approach the data. My analysis proceeded through four different phases, three of which were within-case, with cross-case analysis composing the fourth and final phase. See Appendix B for a visual representation and description of the analysis process, and Appendix C for an example of the progress from raw to coded data.

RESEARCHER’S PERSPECTIVE

Maximizing validity and reliability in qualitative work requires a researcher to be both reflexive about her own role in data collection and to provide rich data to confirm findings. Prior to beginning this study, I had worked with both schools in a peripheral manner, placing students from my university as tutors in one and supervising student teachers in the other. However, I had not personally met the teachers and students I recruited for this study.

I engaged in this study as a former teacher of English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) and French Immersion teacher in public elementary schools. During my own professional experience, I witnessed a discontinuity between the backgrounds and skill sets of certain students and the expectations of the school. At times, the school structure positioned ESOL students as a problem to be solved, but valued French language and culture as worthwhile subjects for schools to teach. This inconsistency contradicted my own belief in diversity as an asset rather than a liability.

My prior contact with the schools, my own educational philosophy, and my personal experiences may have predisposed me to see the data differently than another researcher. I attempted to limit these potential sources of bias through multiple methods of triangulation (Merriam, 2009): data source triangulation; investigator triangulation, asking fellow graduate students to code portions of my transcripts; and member checks on the classroom observations and interviews. I shared selections of my field notes from classroom observations with teachers, to ensure that my observations did not omit important aspects of the class. I also shared the main themes from the data with teachers and administrators before engaging in a cross-case analysis across classrooms, to confirm that the summary of classroom experiences corresponded with their experiences and understandings.

FINDINGS


Below, I present a brief description of each school, in order to provide thick description that helps the reader to contextualize teacher practices. Next, I discuss the major themes identified through this study, explaining varying components of flexible and fixed orientations to global education. All names of schools and participants are pseudonyms; participants were given the option to select their own pseudonyms. Where they did not choose to do so, I selected pseudonyms from the same culture or ethnicity as the participant’s name.

GLOBAL CHARTER SCHOOL

In 2001, Global Charter School opened its doors to immigrant, refugee, and U.S. born students living within its zoning area, with the expressed intention of providing an education for refugee students, who were underserved in public schools. Founded by a private school principal, a writer, and a Dominican nun, the staff intended for the school to be a manifestation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s concept of a “beloved community,” where students from different national, religious, and class backgrounds learned from each other. At the time of this study, Global Charter School served 398 students from kindergarten through grade six. Global Charter School rented classroom space from two different churches at two different locations, dividing the school between the main K–4 campus and a satellite campus for grades five and six.

Within Global Charter School, sixth grade students were divided into three teams, and this research focused on students in the team with the largest number of immigrant and refugee students. I studied three sixth grade classrooms: Miss Samantha’s social studies class, Miss Mahpiya’s language arts class, and Miss Talbot’s ESOL class. Miss Samantha and Miss Mahpiya taught sixth grade students exclusively, whereas Miss Talbot taught ESOL classes to fifth and sixth grade students in the morning, and then commuted to the other school campus to instruct younger elementary ESOL students.

HOLLY MIDDLE SCHOOL

In the 2010–2011 school year, Holly Middle School served 1077 sixth through eighth grade students from the local neighborhood. Holly Middle School was located in a suburban area of King County, situated 5 miles from both a prestigious university and a center of refugee resettlement, and served students from both communities. Holly Middle School had implemented the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme for 10 years as a whole-school program, although the adoption process had met with resistance from a number of staff members, according to the IB coordinator. Like teachers at GCS, teachers at HMS also followed state curriculum standards. HMS’ stated mission was to prepare students for “both the academic and social rigors of high school, with a social consciousness that will lead to him/her becoming a contributing member of society."

At the time of the study, Holly Middle School had undergone recent significant changes, serving an ESOL population that had tripled between 2006 and 2010, according to the assistant principal. Many of the newcomers were refugees who lived in nearby apartment complexes where social service agencies had resettled them, as complexes in other areas of the county had become saturated with refugee families. At each grade level, administrators divided students into different teams that attended classes with a set of four teachers: one math, one science, one social studies, and one language arts teacher. For this study, I followed one group of students in the same team through their social studies, language arts, and ESOL classes, working with the group of students identified by administrators and ESOL teachers as including the largest number of immigrant and refugee students.

Though content, pedagogy, and attention to ways students acted as members of different communities, some teachers reinforced students’ multifaceted experiences and the potential for engaging in their world. Below, I discuss the themes in the implemented curriculum at both schools that I identified after grouping and rereading findings. Table 1 provides a summary of the classrooms in which each of these themes were observed.

FLEXIBLE AND FIXED ORIENTATIONS TOWARDS GLOBAL EDUCATION

In four of the six classrooms in this study, and the whole school events at GCS, the implementation of globally focused curriculum recognized that students had varying national backgrounds, affiliations, and home languages. In contrast, in the other two classrooms and the whole school events at HMS, educator practices and statements assumed that students had one particular set of experiences, one national affiliation, and should not use their home languages in school. I argue that these two types of practices are embodiments of two different approaches to global education. The first set of practices exemplifies a flexible orientation towards global education, an approach that acknowledges that students have different points of entry into the wider world. The second set demonstrates a fixed orientation, or an approach that offers only one entry point to learning about international and global content.

Below, I share the data related to teacher practices that demonstrated the flexible orientation towards global education. In the following section, I summarize and provide data related to the fixed orientation to global education. As practiced in the classrooms under study, a flexible orientation includes the opportunity for students to make personal connections to the curriculum, an emphasis on multiple ways that students could participate in their communities, and structured opportunities for students to interact with other students and staff, building their own communities.

Flexible Orientation: Students Make Personal Connections with Curricular Content

In the three classrooms I observed at Global Charter School, activities continually required students to make connections between themselves and their own experiences and the topic under study. This practice allowed students with different experiences to connect to the topic under study in different ways. This flexibility allowed students’ global experiences to surface in the classroom.

In Miss Talbot’s ESOL class, students made connections with texts by reading books as a whole class or in small groups and using these books as a basis for writing their own texts and short class plays known as Readers Theatre (Liu, 2000). Miss Talbot supported these connections by asking students how their own experiences were similar to or different from those in the text. Students continued to make text-to-self connections during their independent work time. For example, during independent reading, Naza, a student of Kurdish origin, chose a book about children around the world. She flipped through pages until she found the section about a girl from Jordan. As I came around the room to observe students, Naza called me over, exclaiming: “She’s like me . . . am I from the East? . . . Look, she eats falafel . . . that’s what I eat.” Although many students had limited English proficiency, making connections to the text allowed them to engage in more complex cognitive tasks that their proficiency in English might have allowed. For example, when reading a simple text about where animals live, Raschid read about an alligator and asked me if alligators and crocodiles were in the same family, because “I was looking at movie; the crocodile was very big.”

Miss Samantha, the social studies teacher, used role plays and students’ home cultures to both connect students to the curriculum and develop perspective consciousness, or the awareness that different people’s experiences can lead to the development of different perspectives (Hanvey, 1979). She helped students connect to the curriculum by consistently including student experiences in lessons. For example, when discussing the origins of the European Economic Community, Miss Samantha asked students to bring in examples of currencies from countries they had lived in or visited. Drawing on her own experience teaching in Thailand, she brought in 1000 Thai Baht and helped students convert the value of the Baht into U.S. dollars. Amanda, a student from Liberia, then related this process of currency conversion to the experience of her relatives in Liberia converting U.S. dollars sent by her family into Liberian dollars. Miss Samantha cultivated perspective consciousness by discussing world events from multiple perspectives. For example, when students were learning about World War I, Miss Samantha used an example of interpersonal relationships to help students understand alliances during the war. After asking students to find and share the definition of the word alliance and draw a representation of the definition, she explained, “Saw Khu and I are here and we’re friends. Then Javon comes up. And he tries to take my Oreos. So I say, Javon, don’t take them. Now Saw Khu, what are you going to do? You’re going to help me fight, right? And Javon, what are you going to do?” When Javon replied, “Fight back,” Miss Samantha added, “By yourself? You’re going to find someone to help you right? And then we’re going to find other people to help us . . . and that’s how this little war becomes a big war.”

In English Language Arts class, connections between students and new material was a part of a daily routine in which students corrected grammar and defined key words in a sentence.  When encountering a new word, Ms. Mahpiya always required students to relate it to their own experiences. For example, one day students corrected the sentence “Marie wuz upset becuz when she arrived home there was only a meager amount of dessert left ta consume.” After five minutes, a timer buzzed and student hands raised as Ms. Mahpiya walked towards the middle of the room with a white board marker. “Elizabeth,” she called out. “What do you have a meager amount of?” “Candy,” replied Elizabeth. “Why do you say that?” Ms. Mahpiya probed. Elizabeth stated, “Because my family has to buy more candy for Nowrouz [a Persian holiday].” “Okay,” Ms. Mahpiya affirmed, holding out the marker for Elizabeth. As Elizabeth corrected a grammar mistake, Ms. Mahpiya continued questioning students, saying “Lena, what do you have a meager amount of?” “Patience,” Lena replied. Ms. Mahpiya laughed as Lena rose and took the marker from Elizabeth.

In some of the examples from the three classrooms shared above, students specifically connected their own cultural or national background to curriculum content, such as when Amanda related her family’s need to exchange currency sent from the United States to Liberia to the need to exchange currency in Europe before the creation of the Euro. In other examples, the students made more personal connections. By opening up a space in their implementation of content for student experience, and recognizing that student experiences included crossing national boundaries, teacher practices in this study demonstrated a flexible orientation to global education.

Flexible Orientation: Students Participate in Multiple Communities

In the three classrooms I observed at GCS, one classroom at HMS, and whole school activities at GCS, teachers presented multiple ways students could actively participate in communities. These forms of participation were not limited to students with one particular national background. In this way, a flexible orientation towards global education includes recognizing that citizenship is multifaceted, including legal status, feelings of belonging, and citizenship practices at local, national, and global levels.

A good example of recognition that students might feel a sense of belonging to multiple communities was the implementation of United Nations Day at GCS. This event focused on unity, both at the global level and the school level; in addition, students’ affiliations to national or cultural communities were recognized as many students wore national or cultural clothing. In preparation for the school’s United Nations Day, all of the ESOL teachers throughout the school were teaching Ben Harper's song With My Own Two Hands to ESOL students from kindergarten through sixth grade. In this activity, teachers incorporated the feeling and practice dimensions of citizenship, as the song focused on being part of a community and engaging in action to help others. During one observation, students practiced their upcoming performance, singing “I can make peace on earth/ With my own two hands/ I can clean up the earth/ . . .  I'm going to make it a safer place/With my own two hands/I'm going to help the human race/With my own two hands.” After the group sang “I can hold you,” Saw Khu, a student from Burma, hugged Raschid, who put his arms around Saw Khu and another student.

In her social studies class, Miss Samantha focused on multiple types of citizenship practice. She encouraged students to read current news about areas of the world under study, awarding extra credit points for this work. In another lesson, Miss Samantha discussed the importance of good governance and citizens’ roles in selecting government leaders, the importance of government choices, and impact of good governance. When students began to learn about demographic trends and literacy rates around the world, Miss Samantha prompted them to recognize the correlation between these rates and larger issues such as government warfare or corruption rather than individual deficiencies. Students then expressed multiple opinions about the meaning of a country’s low literacy rate: whether it meant that people in that country were less intelligent than people in other countries, or if it indicated varying access to education. In this way, Miss Samantha connected the curricular content to the actions of governments, directly elected by citizens.

Developing the ability to write about controversial issues is also an important skill for citizens. Ms. Mahpiya used a unit on writing a persuasive essay in English Language Arts class to hone this skill, teaching students about the controversy surrounding Columbus Day, an issue of particular importance for her as a Lakota Sioux woman. After reading multiple sources about the life and deeds of Christopher Columbus, students worked to write an essay advocating the celebration or removal of Columbus Day as a holiday.

Each of the activities described above conceptualized citizenship in different ways, focusing on both feeling and practice dimensions, with national and global lenses. What is notable is that each conception was inclusive of all students regardless of national background. With the exception of English class, these conceptions were also accessible to students regardless of English proficiency.

Flexible Orientation: Students Build Community with Each Other and Staff

Educators approaching global education with a flexible orientation recognize that negotiating differences and working with others is a discrete skill and specific task. In three classrooms I observed at GCS, the school structure at GCS, and one classroom at HMS, different structures were in place to help students and staff build communities across differences. I describe ways that this happened in a classroom and at the school level below.

Throughout three classrooms at GCS, and Ms. Fritz’s classroom at HMS, teachers provided structured group activities that supported students in working together to complete projects. These groups were varied and often purposefully planned. In a lesson on the causes of World War I in Miss Samantha’s social studies class, for example, Miss Samantha grouped students and gave each member of the group a letter: “M for militarism, A stands for alliance, I stands for imperialism, and N for nationalism. These are the terms we need to understand that relate to the development of World War I.” Students needed to find the definition of each word, rewrite the definition, illustrate the definition, and present it.

In ESOL class, students were grouped heterogeneously for some writing projects so that students more proficient in English could support students less proficient in English. At other times, students were grouped by English proficiency so that the teacher could provide activities geared towards each English proficiency level. The structured opportunity to work in groups was associated with cross cultural friendships. In one case, Miss Talbot often paired Christina, a student from Tanzania, and Sui Sui, a student from Burma, who both had limited English, when a teaching assistant could be assigned to help them. Over the days that I observed these two students working jointly, I also observed Christina and Sui Sui playing together during recess.

At Global Charter School, educators not only created opportunities for students to connect with each other; school structures also supported connections between students and staff. In addition to making opportunities for all staff to connect with students and families via after school activities, sporting, and cultural events, Global Charter School employed teaching assistants from similar home cultures to many students. In sixth grade, there was both a Burmese teaching assistant, Ms. Kyi, and a Somali-American teaching assistant, Ms. Ahmed. In addition to providing support during the school day, Ms. Kyi led a math club in Burmese after school. Ms. Ahmed also assisted the school soccer team, which provided an opportunity for students to connect with her and each other. She narrated the power of this connection in her interview:

Last year, I had a group of Burmese boys, 5–6 of them, and I took them to soccer every Saturday. . . and one day I was driving them back from soccer, and it’s storming, it’s storming to the point where I’m thinking maybe I should pull over, maybe I should just keep driving, and this boy is like “Ms. Ahmed are you Buddha, Christian or Muslim”? And I’m like “I’m a Muslim” and he then he asks Damian who was Christian, and then he asked Hassan who was Muslim and then he was Buddhist, and he’s like “Ms. Ahmed, in Burma we can’t do this, you Muslim, Christian, and Buddha, not same car. Here, we do this, everybody friend. You good heart, you friend. Muslim and Christian? No.” He was like, they couldn’t sit together. And I never thought about that, because in my life, I’ve never been discriminated against for my religion; I’ve had friends of all different religions and races all of my life, and I’m aware of it but I had never really thought about it. So I’m like, here is a 12-year-old sitting in my car, teaching me a lesson in the storm, and it’s really amazing the kind of things that I picked up from them.


Although the above example does not detail classroom practice, it is an example of the types of interpersonal exchanges that took place at GCS as part of school activities. These types of interactions as part of school-sponsored activities were common at GCS but not observed at HMS. In contrast, at HMS most of the classroom practice and whole school events demonstrated a fixed orientation towards student perspectives and global education, which is described in the following section.

FIXED ORIENTATION TOWARDS GLOBAL EDUCATION

In two of the six classrooms in this study, and the whole school events at HMS, teacher and staff practices and statements indicated that students had one particular set of experiences and one viewpoint towards the world around them. I call this theme a fixed orientation or approach towards global education. As practiced in the classrooms under study, a fixed orientation included the definition of students’ identities as Americans by the teacher, a lack of incorporation of student home languages, the need to help people in other countries, and a focus on individual student behavior rather than a classroom community. Below, I provide details about practices exhibiting a fixed orientation towards global education.

Fixed Orientation: Students Are Americans

One of the notable teacher practices demonstrating a fixed orientation to global education was the way educators at Holly Middle School introduced global content by contrasting it with what was characterized as a typical American experience. As part of a grade level event, all students on the sixth grade team I observed had gathered in the media center to view the film The Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life (Eisen & Huang, 2006) in which hip hop entrepreneur Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) tours three different countries in Africa to explore issues of water scarcity in conjunction with UNICEF. Although the coordinator attempted to connect the issues students faced in the film with students’ lived experiences, she did so by highlighting the differences between the United States and other nations. Whenever these comparisons were made, the United States was always characterized as the better place to be.

For example, when the IB coordinator paused the video to introduce a scene, she said,

You’ll see a girl in this next scene named Bela. Every day she goes and fills that bucket up two times-she walks a mile each direction twice. At 6 in the morning, she gets up and gets water until 10, then at 11 goes to school. She walks by an open sewer to get to school. And near the sewer there’s a market. Sometimes the flies land in the sewage and then come land on the food. [Here students reacted, saying “Ewww!”] Water is bigger than just what you drink...water scarcity causes a loss of dignity. Now this is an issue that we face here too - We’ve all had no water at our house. Raise your hand if you’ve ever not had water, because the pipes weren’t working or you weren’t current on your water bill. [At least half of the students raised their hands]. In the US we’re blessed - you can call someone when your water’s not working.”


The identification of the pronoun “we” with the “American experience,” seen above, was observed in the Social Studies classroom at HMS as well. For example, when learning about environmental issues in Latin America, Mr. Darby showed a film clip of a landscape, introducing the video by saying, “They don’t take care of their environment as well as we do.” He continued, “The trees are what holds the soil in place, and when you cut down the trees,” before playing the clip of a mudslide in Colombia. “There’s a house, there’s a village,” he narrated, as students viewed a large tide of mud engulf a village. One student responded: “Oh my gosh—that’s so sad.” Mr. Darby responded, saying “Uh. This is what we’re talking about. In America, we don’t cut the trees down like that. And we have the soil. . . . What we’re talking about is the . . .  U.S. is a first world country—we’ve got it pretty good in the United States.”

The use of “we” and “they” language by the social studies teacher, IB coordinator, and some U.S. born students focused on differences between interests of different countries. For example, after Mr. Darby discussed trade between the United States and China, a student asked, “Aren’t we at war with China?” Mr. Darby also used “we” language in his response, stating, “We’re not buddies, but we trade. . . . They don’t want to hurt us because we’re such good customers. We don’t agree with the philosophy they use to govern their country, but they wouldn’t hurt us because they’d be hurting their own wallet.”

This focus on students as Americans with a singular viewpoint existed alongside a focus on pronouncing English words in a certain way. In one case, Mr. Darby attempted to correct the way Ahmad, a student from Darfur, pronounced the word “river,” which Ahmad pronounced /riber/. Mr. Darby asked Ahmad to repeat the word multiple times in class, stressing the middle syllable as Ahmad sunk lower in his seat and other students looked at him and laughed. In this case, the teacher did not articulate an understanding of phonetic differences across languages—that native speakers of certain languages are not able to “hear” all phonetic distinctions in English and would need coaching on sound production in order to alter pronunciation. Mr. Darby’s actions publicly reminded this student that his pronunciation kept him from being a full member of the classroom. Although this trend was most notable in whole school activities and the social studies classroom, there were ways that this discourse was also evident in Mr. Bagna’s ESOL classroom. Mr. Bagna often concentrated on pronunciation during reading and vocabulary introduction activities. During pronunciation practice, Mr. Bagna would state that students needed to “sound more American.”

Fixed Orientation: Americans Should Help the World

In the same classrooms and activities discussed above, the idea of students as global actors was tied to a notion of American supremacy. This logic originated in the conception of students as Americans: Students were Americans, America was better than other countries, therefore students should help people in other countries. Students internalized this logic and discussed the need to donate money or help people in other countries when asked in focus groups how they could act as global citizens.

As noted above, when other countries or cultures were discussed in Mr. Darby’s classroom, it was from a deficit model where other places and countries were positioned as substandard or less than American norms. For example, during a class concentrating on populations and histories in Asia, the following exchange took place. Raja, a student, looking at the graphs in the text, stated “India has a lot of people,” to which Mr. Darby replied, “India is crowded.” Another student, Prashan, asked “Who has the most population?” Mr. Darby replied, “Look it up and let me know. Have you heard of the one child policy in China?” Michelle was interested in this policy, stating “What if you have twins?” Mr. Darby responded, “I don’t know,” and then another student probed, “What if you have more?” Mr. Darby replied, “They won’t, that’s the sad thing about it. . . . The government tells you how many children you can have, that’s a bad government.” This discussion took place in a class that included students born in both India and China.

In November, representatives from the now-controversial non-governmental organization Invisible Children’s Schools for Schools initiative (Sheets, 2012) visited in a whole school assembly to discuss the lack of education in conflict-ridden Northern Uganda and encouraged students to raise money to fund school construction and maintenance. In the following week, I conducted a focus group with three boys from Nepal: Prashan, Ronaldinho, and Raja.  As one of my questions, I asked the students what they learned about the world in their school. With limited English, Prashan replied, “We learned in Sudan there was fighting war and they didn’t have food, they go to river and drink water and they get sick and they die. We learned about that by watching the morning TV at school.” When I asked what else they learned, Raja added “Uganda. Same like Sudan.” Ronaldinho added, “In Mexico, they have volcano, earthquake, and dictatorships.”

When asked about civic practices in focus groups, all students reported following news from the United States and their home country as part of their personal lives, and many attended after school programs to learn more about their home language. Although these are examples of citizenship practices, I did not observe teachers connect to these practices during observations. Instead, educators and the curricular content presented helping helpless people as one of the main ways of acting as a citizen across national borders.

Fixed Orientation: Students Are Individuals rather than Members of a Community

In three of the classrooms I observed, teachers expressed fixed ideas about how students engaged in the classroom and why they did not. This includes the issue that when teachers identified problems with the learning process, they focused on what the students did wrong rather than the interaction among student, teacher, and environment. In these classrooms, students may have been instructed to work together, but I did not observe teachers tell them how to work together. An example of this orientation towards students as individuals with fixed attributes, as opposed to parts of a community who can learn to work together, was evident in Mr. Darby’s classroom. During one observation, Mr. Darby gave students a worksheet about the geography of Mexico, and told them that they could work in groups if they were productive. He circulated around the room as students worked, stopping to help as needed, making statements such as “You can do it” and “You’re not looking hard enough.” Soon he came to Juan, a student who had stated that he wanted to do group work but was not on task. Mr. Darby exclaimed, “You wanted to work with other people, and now you aren’t! Mentiroso!” When another student offered to help Juan, Mr. Darby responded “He’s beyond help.”

This same type of focus on individual student action was observed in Mr. Bagna’s ESOL class. During one observation, when a student stated that he was finished, Mr. Bagna corrected him, saying, “No you didn’t get it what we need to do. Word order. You need to find how to correct the appropriate word order. You need to finish sentences. These are a lot of mistakes, you did not think.” He then referenced a point system that was not tied into any classroom structure I had observed. Two days per week, Mr. Bagna took students to a small computer lab to complete grammar exercises. Student understanding of the exercises was uneven: immigrant students with stronger English communication skills could talk about what they did and did not understand in each item. However, the majority of refugee students in the class shrugged and stated “I don’t know” when asked how they were selecting answers.

A lack of structures for student interaction and attention to building community was observed in conjunction with fights between students and students who reported friendships only with friends who shared their cultural background. This is in opposition to students at GCS, where I did not observe any physical fights and students reported friendships with students across cultural backgrounds. Creating structures for community building ties into ideas about social capital and care, which will be discussed below.

DISCUSSION: CENTERING STUDENT PERSPECTIVES IN GLOBAL EDUCATION


When each teacher grapples with implementing citizenship education in a global age, he or she redefines the concept in practice, both creating new possibilities and surfacing tensions between theoretical concepts in a shifting landscape. It is critical to understand how education for citizenship is implemented in the growing number of global schools with transnational populations in order to both learn from the ways teachers and students recreate their worlds every day and to suggest what barriers exist to transforming a vision of citizenship education focused on equity and action into reality. If educators do not focus on adapting curriculum for students, global education will be an expansion of hegemonic structures, rather than an opportunity to interrupt inequities (Apple, 2010). In this case, schools will continue to subtract knowledge and possibility (Valenzuela, 1999) for immigrant and refugee students.

At first glance, it would appear that teachers in global schools would inherently connect to the transnational experiences of immigrant and refugee students, because they teach about global content and focus on global citizenship education. Scholars in the field of citizenship also note that a focus on global citizenship education has the ability to be flexible and inclusive where national citizenship is closed (Babcock, 1994; Heater, 2002; Myers & Zaman, 2009). However, inclusive content must be accompanied by inclusive pedagogy (Stoops Verplaetse & Migliacci, 2008).

During school-wide activities I observed at Global Charter School, teachers recognized students as coming from different political communities, whereas school-wide activities at Holly Middle School focused on creating awareness about global issues and were geared towards students who did not themselves have global experiences. This lack of a connection between the global issues studied and the international experiences of students at Holly Middle School raises questions about the ability of students to reach the IB Middle Year Programme’s goal of finding a sense of belonging in the ever-changing and increasingly interrelated world” (IBO, 2013). Reaching this goal might involve creating activities that allow students to describe their own experiences with the global issue under focus, such as water scarcity, and connecting these understandings to experiences of students in other nations.

As described above, this study of teacher practices within two schools found differences in the implementation of IB for immigrant and refugee students. These differences indicate an important contribution to recently published typologies of global or international education, noting the importance of teacher practices in global schools fostering connections among students, curriculum, and staff. Although many scholars have done important work on this issue, Parker and Camicia (2009) provide a useful categorizing framework, reporting that internationally focused schools might have civic or enterprise-focused intents, and national or global affinities. As others argue, global education should include recognizing the places of students within global dynamics (Merryfield, 1998; Osler & Vincent, 2002; Ukpokodu, 2010). In four of the classrooms in this study, teachers used students’ varying points of entry into global content, whereas in the others, content about the world was approached from a native-born American point of view.

One of the main contributions of this study is to show that global education in practice can be approached with different orientations- a flexible orientation, acknowledging that students have different points of entry with the wider world, or a fixed orientation, only presenting the global system in one way. Expanding Parker and Camicia’s (2009) typology to include these orientations is necessary to provide a deeper conceptualization of global education. Figure 1 is a graphic representation of my model, which uses a cube to deepen Parker and Camicia’s (2009) two-dimensional typology. This proposed typology considers the third dimension of orientation, or approach to global education as a set of issues that students encounter in either singular or multiple ways.

Figure 1. Economic or civic intent, global affinity, and flexible or fixed orientation




The additional dimension of this global education framework is key because it considers not only the perspectives of teachers or curricular developers, but the ways in which the curriculum succeeds or fails in connecting new content to students’ diverse perspectives and experiences. Work on culturally-relevant pedagogy (Gay, 2000), shows that students learn more when the curriculum they are working with is presented in a way that connects to their home culture and experiences. With the increase in importance of globally focused schools, it is crucial that researchers’ and practitioners’ understandings of global education (Tye, 2009) consider both the experiences of immigrant and refugee students and developments from the field of multicultural education (Gay, 2000). Without considering student perspectives, experiences intended to broaden student perspectives may instead be alienating—an education for a very different kind of citizenship than that imagined in the IB framework. When educators consider students’ global and transnational perspectives, they allow all students to imagine themselves as powerful global actors in a variety of spheres, and promote more equitable access to citizenship education.

Considering student entry points benefits all students, both recent immigrants and others in the school. For students whose families have been in the United States for generations, the experiences of immigrant and refugee students are a rich resource for teaching other students in the school about global issues and paradigms. In addition, a flexible orientation to global education helps all students to learn perspective consciousness, a key component of the discussion of controversial issues, a critical skill for citizens in a democracy (Hess, 2009). This is not to say that educators should make the mistake of positioning immigrant students as experts on all aspects of their country of origin. Rather, educators must help all students make connections between what they already know and what they are learning, drawing on students’ funds of knowledge (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzáleez, 1992).

Data shared in the findings illustrate the danger that teacher practices in global schools might reinforce stereotypes and negative images of the “other.” The disruption of hegemonizing discourses requires perspective consciousness, or the ability to understand why other people might perceive the world the way that they do, and to recognize that these perspectives are often meaningful and reasonable. If teachers are instructed to teach about the world without interrogating their own perceptions and developing perspective consciousness themselves, it will be difficult for them to help their students develop global understandings. Furthermore, the lack of perspective consciousness among educators can position students in a liminal space where they often represent the “other” within their own school (Gitlin, Buendia, Crosland, & Doumbia, 2003).

The difference between teacher practice with a flexible or a fixed orientation towards global education suggests that the adoption of a school reform model, even one that requires site visits and professional development like the International Baccalaureate, is not sufficient to prepare students for life in a globalized world. Rather, educators must consider making pedagogical, climate, and structural changes when implementing global education in a school. In studies of citizenship education, especially for migrant students, it is important to consider citizenship broadly, examining the implications that pedagogy and climate have for citizenship education (Arzubiaga, Noguerón, & Sullivan, 2009). If students are not treated as full members in a classroom, they are also learning that they are not full members of a wider community (Marlsbury, 2013). Below I will discuss two key constructs for creating this inclusion: care and social capital. In addition, I will provide examples of ways educators in this study implemented these constructs.

CARE

Teachers’ pedagogies and the presence of care (Noddings, 2005) within both classrooms and schools are needed to socialize immigrant and refugee students for inclusive citizenship. As the moderators of classroom culture, some teachers in this study were able to create an inclusive classroom where students learned how to work across differences (Souto-Manning, 2010). In addition to being important for fostering active citizenship, cultivating this sense of school belonging is associated with lower rates of depression and higher self-efficacy for refugee students (Kia-Keating & Ellis, 2007).

Four of the teachers in this study demonstrated dimensions of care (Noddings, 2005) that refugee students have identified as important factors in their school environment (Uy, 2011): modeling, dialogue, practice, and confirmation. The three teachers at Global Charter School modeled care by checking on students’ health, ensuring they had personal items, and showing politeness interacting with students. For example, I witnessed another teacher stop in to Miss Mahpiya’s class specifically to thank students for being quiet and respectful. Teachers also engaged in open ended conversations with students about academic topics, modeling Noddings’ (2005) notion of dialogue. In addition, some teachers structured opportunities to practice caring for each other. When she was concerned about the way students were treating each other, Miss Talbot created a lesson around the book Alexander’s Very Bad Day and guided students to write about and discuss both their own bad days and the strategies they could use to avoid or solve issues arising on a bad day. When asked to describe their school, refugee and immigrant students at Global Charter School talked about teachers being nice and helpful. Overall, the expression of institutional care is a significant finding. In many previous studies, refugee and immigrant students reported that their school experiences lacked this component of feeling cared-for (Li, 2008; Uy, 2011; Wallitt, 2005).

SOCIAL CAPITAL

Multiple scholars have highlighted the importance of nonfamilial social capital for immigrant and minority students (Goyette & Conchas, 2002; Stanton-Salazar & Dornsbusch, 1995; Uy, 2011; Zhou, 1997; Zhou & Bankston, 1994). Social capital consists of networks of people who can help provide multiple kinds of assistance as needed, and is important in educational success (Zhou, 1997). Creating the relationships to provide that social capital can be a major hurdle for immigrant students (Stanton-Salazar & Dornsbusch, 1995; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000; Uy, 2011). However, intercultural friendships are associated with greater academic success for immigrant students (Baysu & Phalet, 2012).

Both schools provided refugee and immigrant students with social capital through institutional supports, although Global Charter School had far more supports than Holly Middle School. At Global Charter School, teaching assistants led classes for parents, mother-tongue study sessions for students, and scaffolded students’ learning in small groups during instruction, creating a variety of ways to initiate relationships and develop social capital. This focus on biliteracy and bilingual skills not only creates an academic community, but is associated with higher academic achievement (Lindholm-Leary & Ferrante, 2005). Furthermore, creating opportunities for structured dialogue among students is key in developing intercultural relationships (Dryden-Peterson, 2010; Solano-Campos, 2014). Beyond the classroom, teachers coached soccer teams on the weekends, and interacted with students during mandatory after-school activities such as photography club or geography scholars.

At Holly Middle School, the schedule allowed for a connections class where refugee and immigrant students who needed English remediation received extra assistance from an ESOL teacher. In addition, Mr. Hannah provided sheltered support for students with limited English in language arts classes. However, in other classes, students could become lost in the academic culture (Kanu, 2008), and would not be accountable for completing their work. The only links between students’ home culture and school culture were peer networks, and so refugee and immigrant students and families did not gain the same social capital from the school. Furthermore, Holly Middle School placed sixth grade students into teams based on academic achievement level, a tracking practice linked with lower academic achievement and the adoption of adversarial attitudes towards school (Almazyed, 2010) that can also be detrimental to the formation of important intercultural relationships.

Although I hoped to find that the use of the IB framework might provide opportunities for teachers in public schools that experience a rapid influx of refugee or immigrant students to educate students as active, global citizens, the evidence from this study suggests that this initiative does not necessarily result in classrooms where teachers connect to the experiences of refugee or immigrant students. Individual teachers may try to meet students’ needs, but without school-wide initiatives and resources to do so, this work can be difficult (Okom, 2008). If a school plans to adopt a global focus and meet the needs of a global student body, such change may need to be accompanied by professional development, school-wide support teams, visible connections with students’ home communities, and professional learning communities where teachers can consider how to manifest an inclusive environment in their daily lessons.

As teachers, teacher educators, and researchers, we must advocate for global education that is meaningful and useful to all students; if we do not, global schools may simply be a new space in which students with socio-economic advantages gain marketable credentials and other students receive subtractive schooling. International Baccalaurate programs are a new tool for public education systems, and can be used to attract middle class parents to a school, keeping their children separate from lower class students, or as a supporting framework for teachers who are dedicated to all students. Without critical and inclusive implementation, global education will simply replicate social and cultural stratification (Willinsky, 1998).

CONCLUSION


The spread of International Baccalaureate programs within public schools, at the same time that public schools are educating a record number of immigrant students, is an exciting opportunity to consider new possibilities for educating students for citizenship. By becoming IB World Schools, increasing numbers of schools make commitments of money and time to implement global education. However, this study demonstrates that such global education initiatives do not always translate into classroom pedagogy that is connected to the experiences of immigrant and refugee students. Teachers attempting to provide a global education to a diverse population must consider the multiple ways and perspectives with which students approach the world system. When this is the case, they will be able to create globally focused classrooms in which all students can enjoy full membership. This type of schooling experience may even give students the tools needed to live as active, engaged, and democratic citizens in their communities, nations, and world.

Acknowledgment

The author wishes to thank the participants in the study for their time and thoughts. Much appreciation is due Dr. Carole Hahn, Dr. Alyssa Dunn, and anonymous reviewers, who provided valuable feedback during the various iterations of this manuscript.

Notes

1. At times, I use the term transnational to refer to immigrant and refugee students. Scholars studying the current age of migration note that by maintaining links to countries of origin, many students live transnational lives (An, 2009; Vertovec, 1999).

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Appendix A


Data Sources

School

Weekly Observations (in three classes)

Teacher Interviews

Teaching Assistant Interviews

Administrator Interviews

Focus Group Interviews

Global Charter School

33

3

2

1

12 students;

3 groups of 4

Holly Middle School

32

4

n/a

1

15 students;

2 groups of 3

1 group of 4

1 group of 5



Teacher Participants

Name

School

Subject

Race

Gender

Global Experience

Miss Samantha

GCS

Social Studies=

White

Female

Taught in Thailand for 2 years

Miss Mahpiya

GCS

ELA

Native American

Female

Taught on Sioux reservation for 1 year

Miss Talbot

GCS

ESOL

White

Female

Taught in Japan for 2 years

Mr. Darby

HMS

Social Studies

White

Male

None

Ms. Fritz

HMS

ELA

White

Female

None; former journalist

Mr. Hannah

HMS

ESOL – ELA Sheltered

White

Male

Taught refugee students in NC for 1 year

Mr. Bagna

HMS

ESOL Pull-Out

White

Male

Immigrated from USSR




Student Focus Group Participants


Global Charter School

Student

Gender

Age

Country of Birth

Languages Spoken

Sui Sui

F

11

Burma

Burmese, Chin, English

Nisha

F

12

Nepal

Nepali, English

Glenna

F

12

Thailand

Karen, English, Burmese

Saw Khu

M

12

Thailand

Thai, English, Karen

Elizabeth

F

12

U.S.A.

Kurdish, English, Arabic

Selena

F

11

U.S.A.

English, Amharic

Farzad

M

13

Iran

Farsi, English

Charles

M

11

Togo

Mina, French, English

Amanda

F

13

Liberia

English, French, Spanish

Rosie

F

12

U.S.A.

English, Somali, Arabic, Spanish

Naza

F

11

U.S.A.

Kurdish, English, Arabic

Christina

F

12

Tanzania

English, Swahili, Kirundi, French

Holly Middle School

Prashan

M

12

Nepal

Nepali, English

Ronaldinho

M

12

Nepal

Nepali

Raja

M

10

Nepal

Nepali, U.S.

Esther

F

12

Thailand

Thai, Burmese

Than

M

13

Thailand

Karen, Burmese, English

Nicole

F

11

Burma

English, Burmese

Monica

F

11

Bhutan

Nepali, English

Poom

F

12

Nepal

Nepali

Mita

F

12

Nepal

Nepali, English

Pali

F

11

Nepal

Nepali, English

Reemi

F

12

Nepal

Nepali, English

Ahmad

M

12

Sudan

Arabic

Hsa

M

12

Thailand

Burmese

Maria

F

13

Mexico

Spanish, English

Nestor

M

13

Mexico

Spanish, English



Appendix B

Data Analysis Process

[39_18072.htm_g/00002.jpg]



* indicates that I used peer review at this step in the process.


+ indicates that I engaged in memo writing at these steps as I arranged the data into codes, identified the relationship between the codes, and then placed them into reflective themes. Miles and Huberman (1994) suggest using memos “to make deeper and more conceptually coherent sense of what is happening” (p. 72). These memos are stored on a personal computer and backed up on a hard drive, and are part of an audit trail (Merriam, 2009).


^ indicates that I attempted to perform member checks with adult participants at these stages




Appendix C


Sample of Data Analysis Process


1.

Raw Data from Field Notes:

“I ask N what she is reading about – N: I’m just looking at pictures . . . it’s about schools . . . [she pages through to the page on Jordan, reading it out – asks me what bilingual is, I explain using her as an example]. N: She’s like me . . . am I from the East? Me: East of what? [we go to the map, I show her asia, north/south/east/west] N: I’m from west . . . look, there’s Mosul, that’s where my mom lived . . . Me: Right, southwest . . . she keeps reading . . . N: Look, there’s Amman, Jordan, where I am from. N picks another page to read: Egypt. [finding herself in the book]. Falafel . . . that’s what I eat . . .”


2.

Initial Coding

National/Transnational Affinity; Feeling Dimension; Text-to-Self Connection

3.

Coding Hierarchy:

Connections:

Text-to-Self Connection during Independent Reading

Student Connects Content to Home Culture

Student Connects Content to Home Language

4.

Theme Revision:

Flexible Orientation: Students Make Personal Connections with Curricular Content



Table 1. Themes reported by location

Theme

Personal Connections

Multiple Facets of Citizenship

Build Communities

Students as Americans

Americans helping world

Students as Individuals

Miss Samantha

X

X

X

   

Miss Mahpiya

X

X

   

X

Miss Talbot

X

X

X

   

GCS School Activities

X

X

X

   

Mr. Darby

   

X

X

X

Ms. Fritz/

Mr. Hannah

X

 

X

 

X

 

Mr. Bagna

   

X

 

X

HMS School Activities

   

X

X

 








Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 117 Number 9, 2015, p. 1-38
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18072, Date Accessed: 5/20/2022 10:32:35 PM

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About the Author
  • Laura Quaynor
    Lewis University
    E-mail Author
    LAURA QUAYNOR is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, and ESL/Bilingual studies at Lewis University. Her research focuses on the ways that schools and teachers prepare students as citizens in the context of disruptive change, with a particular emphasis on multilingual learners in the United States and students in transitional and post-conflict states. Some of her recent publications include: Quaynor, L. (2014). “The means to speak”: Educating youth for citizenship in post-conflict Liberia. Journal of Peace Education, and Quaynor, L., & Hamilton, C. (2012). Providing a global education to refugee students. Social Studies and the Young Learner.
 
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