International Mindedness: Conceptualizations and Curriculum in an International School in Brazil

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International Mindedness: Conceptualizations and Curriculum in an International School in Brazil

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This dissertation is a qualitative, single case study of an international school in Brazil that explores how school administrators and teachers conceptualize international mindedness, and how it is developed within the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. I provide a rich description of the context, developing four themes that reveal what international mindedness looks like in this context. I use a five-category typology in my review of constructs of international mindedness in the literature of K-12 international education and apply the same categories in my analysis of the participants' views. Drawing on literature from a variety of sources, I develop five continua for the analysis of international mindedness in the curriculum. Data collection and analysis procedures were informed by a social constructionist approach. Data sources include semi-structured interviews, documents, classroom observations, field notes and pictures collected during three visits. Among the documents collected are the school mission, vision and beliefs statement, the EAB learner profile, curriculum maps for the IB classes, and the upper school handbook. I found the American School of Brasilia to be a diverse and welcoming community. The administrators and teachers with whom I spoke did not demonstrate consensus in their conceptualizations of international mindedness, though I found they had a strong sense of school identity defined by their core documents. The school adopted the IB program six years ago and have taken principles from the IB program and applied them throughout the upper school. Teachers demonstrated a commitment to exposing students to a wide variety of perspectives and are active in drawing on the rich experiences contained within the school's diverse community. Participants provided examples the embodiment of international mindedness. However, some of the participants' conceptualizations of international mindedness suggested that it is something students have as a result of their lifestyles, not of the instructional program. The analysis of the curriculum of the IB courses reveals a superficial understanding of culture and little intentional development of international mindedness.


University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation. May 2017. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Joan DeJaeghere. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 186 pages.

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Dewey, Nelson. (2017). International Mindedness: Conceptualizations and Curriculum in an International School in Brazil. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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