Date of Conferral

1-1-2010

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Maryanne Longo

Abstract

It is vital for future generations to clearly grasp what it means to be global citizens in order for them to be successful and for America to maintain its status as a world leader. The purpose of this mixed-method study was to measure and describe the growth of global attitudes and intercultural sensitivity that fourth-grade students acquire through reading and discussing globally significant children's literature which honors and celebrates diversity worldwide, in terms of culture, race, language, religion, and social status. According to Rosenblatt's transactional theory, readers experience aesthetic transactions with the text leading to an understanding of the world around them. The research question involved whether the use of globally significant children's literature created aesthetic transactions and would result in significant changes in fourth-grade students' intercultural sensitivity and global attitudes. Using literature as a catalyst for group discussions and personal responses related to global issues, 23 fourth-grade students participated in a 12-week study. Qualitative data included participants' personal reading response journals and audio taped group literature circle discussions, which were reviewed and coded for evidence of growth in intercultural sensitivity based on Bennett's developmental model of intercultural sensitivity. Two surveys were developed by the researcher to gather quantitative data. A dependent samples, two-tailed, t test at the p < .05 level was used to test the hypothesis that students' global attitudes and intercultural sensitivity would increase after participating in these literature circles. The statistical data gathered showed gains in both areas. It is recommended that teachers at all grade levels utilize globally significant literature and encourage literary exchanges to promote cultural understandings among their students. Developing a mindset of cultural sensitivity in elementary students can have a positive impact on the relationships between individuals and groups representing diverse cultures.