Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Allison D. Anders

Committee Members

Gina U. Barclay-McLaughlin, Tricia McClam, Leslee A. Fisher

Abstract

This dissertation presents a conceptual bricolage that explores complex, reflexive, and interrelated dimensions of educational praxes. My work is grounded in the assertion that the ever-changing, local-global nature of contemporary societies requires new approaches to curricula, pedagogies, policies, and practices in U.S. schools to meet the challenges and opportunities of a global era. Presenting my research and findings as four articles, I begin with a dialectical analysis of theoretical and pedagogical literatures to develop an adaptable framework for decolonial multicultural education. In Article 1, I demonstrate how this framework synergizes aspects of social reconstructionist and critical multicultural, global, and decolonial educations, while re-emphasizing possibilities for relational learning in local-global classrooms. In Article 2, I examine a unique local-global context: the matriculation of resettled refugee children into host country schools. This project integrates the decolonial multicultural framework with literatures on ecological interventions for refugee students to address grief, trauma, loss, poverty, acculturation, and host culture hostilities. The theoretical frameworks are infused with considerations concerning children’s lived experiences as complex beings rooted in multiple, fluid, and intersecting contexts. In Article 3, I present a pilot case study on students with refugee status who attended a public school in the South. I discuss qualitative data from participant observations and staff interviews. Using the framework I developed in Article 2 for ecological, decolonial multiculturalism, this study discusses the emergent themes of teacher training, ecological interventions, deficit and assimilationist approaches, and hostile school peer relations. Finally, in Article 4 I argue for a shift in the teacher professional role to include systemic support for ongoing teacher research as a way to address the complexity, multiplicity, and reflexivity of local-global classrooms. I propose postcritical ethnography and feminist praxis-based methodologies as tools to help teacher-researchers learn about and respond to their students. My dissertation thus entails four articles interconnected by the theme of decolonial multicultural education, and enriches framework considerations by exploring the local-global contexts of students with refugee status, specific refugee students in a U.S. school, and potential uses of postcritical and feminist qualitative methodologies for decolonial multicultural teacher-researchers.