The Internationalization of K-12 Education: A Case Study of an International School in the Asia-Pacific Region

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The Internationalization of K-12 Education: A Case Study of an International School in the Asia-Pacific Region

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This mixed-methods, single case study examines the indicators that influence campus internationalization of a K-12 American overseas international school in the Asia-Pacific region. The conceptual framework draws upon five overarching categories necessary for internationalization: leadership, organizational culture, competencies, process, and activities. A list of internationalization indicators is used as a guide for this study (Paige, 2005). According to the 20 school administrators and faculty interviewed, and the 50 teacher survey respondents, the three factors that most influence comprehensive campus internationalization at this K-12 American international school are leadership, faculty involvement in curriculum design and activity participation, and a strong international and interculturally focused curriculum. The International School of the Asian Pacific Region (ISAPR) (a pseudonym) has several strengths and opportunities for internationalization. In addition, there are some weaknesses and obstacles for moving forward to internationalize this K-12 campus. The interviewees and survey respondents confirm an organizational culture with a strong support for an international and intercultural mindset. Interviewees and survey respondents all agree that there is an interest in campus internationalization, though for the majority of the survey respondents, there is little common understanding of a definition of internationalization and international education. Other strengths include the diversity in the international student body and the close proximity to intercultural learning opportunities. While there is a strong internationally minded high school course selection and desired student learning outcomes culture-specific information, there is no course or training for students in culture learning with culture-general knowledge. The lower school and the middle school offer fewer opportunities for cultural learning, culture-general or culture-specific skills, in the curriculum. The financial commitment for best practices, including internationalization and integrating intercultural learning, is a strength for implementing internationalization. However, the main emphasis is placed on best practices and lacks specificity about areas to increase internationalization efforts. According to the survey respondents and the interviewees, there is no central contact for the internationalization processes, curriculum, and activities. Most importantly, there is no monitoring process in place to ensure the language communicated from the campus vision statement is operationalized throughout the organizational culture, leadership methods, campus activities, school policies, and procedures. A broad mission and vision for internationalization and no strategic plan for internationalization pose a threat to ensuring campus internationalization. In addition, competing priorities, branding, and the general consensus that "what we are doing is good enough" contribute to only a limited internationalization of this campus.



University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation. December 2015. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Deanne Magnusson, Gerald Fry. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 182 pages.

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Vaught, Crystal. (2015). The Internationalization of K-12 Education: A Case Study of an International School in the Asia-Pacific Region. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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