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Teachers' development of global awareness and its influence on their teaching practice in the 21st century classroom

Therese M Ajtum-Roberts, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This qualitative research multi-case study examined the biographical and classroom experiences of three small city New England high school social studies teachers to determine how they construct meaning out of their own beliefs and experiences regarding global education and technology. The study used in-depth phenomenological interviews and classroom observations to achieve its purpose. The school participated in the Global Connections & Exchange Program (GCE), a computer-mediated international project. The following steps were used for data analysis: (a) verbatim transcription of all audio tapes, (b) multiple readings of interview transcripts, observation notes, and artifacts, (c) codification and classification of all data, and (d) connection of categories and determination of the relationship between them using the constant comparative analysis method (Merriam, 1998; Rossman & Rallis, 2003; Corbin & Strauss, 1967). The results of this study support five thematic findings: (a) The teachers’ developed sense of global awareness and multi-perspectives was a result of their “spheres of influence”—social, cultural, historical, and environmental—as well as the opportunities and other circumstances that presented themselves during their formative years; (b) The teachers perceived that a majority of their values and beliefs about education, teaching, and learning were acquired outside their teacher education program; (c) The teachers’ values and beliefs influenced the ways in which they saw their role as a teacher, taking into account all aspects of teaching, from the ways in which teachers build classroom community to the ways in which they facilitate the content; (d) The teachers perceived that their teacher education programs offered no formal training as to how a teacher integrates both technology and global perspective into classroom practice; (e) Participation in the GCE Program provided teachers with the opportunity to experience supported authentic professional development in the areas of technology integration and global education in the classroom. ^

Subject Area

Secondary education|Social sciences education|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Ajtum-Roberts, Therese M, "Teachers' development of global awareness and its influence on their teaching practice in the 21st century classroom" (2012). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3545895.