Title page for ETD etd-09242012-070549

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Bibb, Wanda
Author's Email Address wbibb@hcps.us
URN etd-09242012-070549
Title Perceptions of Eight High School Principals Regarding World-Mindedness in Education
Degree Doctor of Education
Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cash, Carol S. Committee Chair
Earthman, Glen I. Committee Member
Staley, Robert S. Committee Member
Twiford, Travis W. Committee Member
  • World-Mindedness
  • Diversity
  • School Culture
  • Internationalism
  • Global Education
  • Multicultural Education
  • Multiculturalism
Date of Defense 2012-09-10
Availability unrestricted

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.
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