Date of Graduation

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Christopher Thomas

Second Advisor

Susan Katz

Third Advisor

Shabnam Koirala-Azad

Abstract

The globalized world continues to be wracked by environmental, economic, sociopolitical, and spiritual crises (Earth Council, 2002; Laszlo, 2009). Education for global citizenship holds the key to resolving these problems (Andrzejewski & Alessio, 1999; Ikeda, 2005). Unfortunately, U.S. K-12 education for global citizenship is predominantly driven by hegemonic neoliberal interests with the sole aim of producing human capital for global economic competition instead of developing socially responsible global citizens (Andrzejewski & Alessio, 1999; Giroux, 2012). Fostering a mindset for global citizenship urgently requires an alternative form of education that is ethical in its orientation (Noddings, 2005). One such model is Soka education, which is based on value-creation and Buddhist humanism (Ikeda, 2001). Since Soka education is still an emerging field, there is a dearth of studies on the practice of individual Soka educators, especially in the United States and specifically in regard to how they teach global citizenship. This study explored how U.S. K-3 teachers practicing Soka education are teaching global citizenship.

This qualitative study involved three purposefully selected U.S. K-3 teachers who practice Soka education in different schools located in the United States. The data sources included primarily interview transcripts, classroom observation notes, and classroom documents from four days of fieldwork with each participant. Ikeda’s (2001) non-prescriptive framework for global citizenship based on the bodhisattva virtues of wisdom, courage, and compassion served as the primary guide to collect and analyze data.

The three teachers adopted concepts from Makiguchi’s value creation philosophy, Ikeda’s human education philosophy, and Ikeda’s concept of global citizenship. They developed strong teacher-student relationships based on care, trust, dialogue, and character development. They modeled and taught wisdom, courage, and compassion via classroom activities. It seemed harder to implement Ikeda’s concept of global citizenship in public schools than in private schools. The teacher’s inner transformation based on Buddhist practice was key to their success. Assessing the impact of the teachers’ Soka education practice was challenging due to the lack of a systematic curriculum – they experienced both successes and challenges.

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