Theses Doctoral

Big Learning in Small Communities: Exploring With Ypar in International Schools

Hawkins, Lora

This study is a critical evaluation conducted by a Youth-led Participatory Action research team that has, over the course of five years, sought to investigate culturally responsive pedagogies in international schools populated with Third Culture Kids. Previous to this work, the youth researchers and I developed an interdisciplinary, choice and project-based honors program which we called the Small Learning Community. As such, this program became the object of and context for this review. We were guided by the question, What are, if any, the perceived learning benefits for students in the Small Learning Community?, and we sought to critically evaluate the program’s perceived impact on meaningful learning experiences, student agency, and transference of skills.

We leveraged constructivist-oriented Grounded Theory—in part because of the value this approach assigns to emic knowledge—to examine interview transcripts of SLC participants. I then developed case studies and argue for pedagogical shifts in the international classroom that center more deliberately on (1) active participation, (2) the perception of new, (3) choice, (4) attention to process, (5) personal interest, and (6) social emotional learning, while addressing the need for more intentional and systematic practitioner research.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Fecho, Bob
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 16, 2021