Date of Award:

5-2009

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department:

School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Advisor/Chair:

J. N. Eastmond

Abstract

In October, 2007, two hundred American educators traveled to Japan for three weeks as guests of the Japanese government under the Japanese Fulbright Memorial Fund (JFMF) Teacher Abroad program. The purpose of the trip was to increase understanding between the people of Japan and the United States; to enrich American and Japanese curricula with international perspectives; to encourage appreciation for the people, culture, and educational system of Japan; and to expand professional development opportunities for educators. Broadly speaking, these are the goals of global education. The question this qualitative case study examined is whether teachers who participate in isolated, short-term international professional development programs (such as JFMF) become more competent global educators or if the experience remains an isolated incident, referred to during a single, obligatory lesson presented to students each year. Questions pursued were how teachers incorporate such experiences into their curricula; how an isolated, short-term experience can contribute to the development of a global educator; and how teachers' perceptions of themselves and their responsibilities change as a result of cross-cultural experience. This study examined eight K-12 teachers as they experienced Japan and then returned to implement self-designed follow-on plans in their classrooms. Data was gathered through application materials, observations, interviews, and follow-on plans and revealed three categories: Anticipation details why the teachers applied for the JFMF program and what they expected to gain from the experience; Direct Impact examines the effect the experience had on teachers' curricula, students, and selves; and Deep Impact portrays the multiple realities experienced by the teachers through an anti-colonialist lens. In sum, a short international sojourn can positively effect teachers' perceptions of themselves and their responsibilities as educators. Beyond the obvious effects on these teachers, their curricula, and students, the experience underscored the need for more Americans to engage in international experiences. While being privy to the voices and perspectives of other nations and cultures can help us in our global social, political, and economic dealings, the greatest benefit from a program such as this is that it helps us gain a more accurate picture of ourselves, as individuals and as a nation.

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