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Through the Teacher's and Children's Eyes: An Ethnographic Study of International-Mindedness in an International Classroom Setting

Abukhalifeh, Ruba (2017) Through the Teacher's and Children's Eyes: An Ethnographic Study of International-Mindedness in an International Classroom Setting. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Abstract

This research is concerned with exploring the notion of ‘international-mindedness’ (IM), a concept that has been largely associated with international schools and explanations for their prevalence and function within a global society. Firstly, the study seeks to present a descriptive ethnographic account based on the experiences of a group of multi-ethnic children and a teacher in a grade four classroom of an international school in Kuwait. By shadowing participants for a school year, and consulting parents of the three focal students, this thesis aims to construct a detailed ethnography of the micro-politics of classroom experiences within the context of the largescale ‘macro’ dimensions underpinning Class 4A. Secondly, through a Bourdieusian framework, coupled with theoretical and methodological constructs from Template Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, and microethnographic approaches to discourse analysis, this exploratory investigation constructs an understanding of IM as a three mode concept: outcome, process and relationship. This thesis presents the situated, discursive and dialectical dynamics organising IM through detailed observation of classroom interactions, and individual and group interviews.

The research falls into two stages in its exploration of IM. Firstly, unstructured observation of the everyday realities of life in an international classroom and participants’ accounts were depicted through the Bourdieusian theoretical lens of habitus, field and capital. This identified the school’s American as opposed to international ethos. It also identified racial categorisation, ‘American’ and ‘nonAmerican’, and ‘Kuwaitness’ and ‘Foreignness’, as operative discourses in the classroom. Secondly, focused and structured observation of the teacher and three focal students’ interactions in the classroom examined the nature of their cultural identities and intercultural conversations as precursors for IM. This stage also involved interviewing the young participants’ parents in order to trace the constructions of their ethnic habitus. Participants were identified as social agents with potential to enact their own racialised discourses, in spite of the American hegemonic veneer of the international school. Further analysis revealed intersections and divergences that created cultural dialogues, in spite of the apparent and overbearing influences of the macro-contexts of the school and local society. In this way, this thesis arrives at an understanding of IM in Class 4A as a dialectical relationship set against a backdrop of structural effects from the singular discourses of America and Kuwait.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
Depositing User: Jonathan Cook
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2017 15:56
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2017 15:58
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/34005

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