Perceptions of Eight High School Principals Regarding World-Mindedness in Education
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The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of eight high school principals regarding world-mindedness. Classrooms filled with students of various heritages present a three-fold challenge to principals: a) to welcome and educate students of all heritages; b) to teach students to respect and accept people who are different from themselves; and c) to graduate students prepared to live and work in a global economy. The study involved interviewing principals from eight high schools in central and northern Virginia: a) three public high schools with relatively high percentages of LEP students; b) three public schools with much lower percentages of LEP students; and c) two private international schools. The interview questions probed not only how the principals felt about world-mindedness but also about their roles in building world-minded schools and how they would recognize world-mindedness. The findings were as follows: a) all participants agreed on the importance of world-mindedness in education; b) world-minded practices were absent from some schools; c) offering the International Baccalaureate Program did not necessarily make a school highly world-minded; d) participants did not need extensive experiences outside the United States to be highly world-minded; e) demands from outside forces encouraged participants to be world-minded; f) community demographics affected participants' perceptions of schools' levels of world-mindedness; g) participants in schools with diverse student bodies seemed to be more world-minded; h) highly world-minded participants used conversations to raise and maintain world-mindedness; i) highly world-minded participants used websites to promote world-mindedness; j) highly world-minded schools possessed tangible and intangible elements of world-mindedness; and k) some participants confused world-mindedness with anti-racism. Implications were that principals should a) seek professional development opportunities; b) include world-mindedness in communications; c) start with tangible elements to build intangible elements of world-mindedness; and d) have frequent conversations about world-mindedness with stakeholders. The recommendations for further research included a) creating world-mindedness continuums; b) building world-mindedness in homogeneous student bodies; c) using international schools as world-mindedness models; and d) distinguishing world-mindedness from anti-racism efforts. In conclusion, the growing diversity in U.S. classrooms presents principals with a mandate to work toward high levels of world-mindedness and, thus, become diversity change agents.
- Doctoral Dissertations