Term of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Delores Liston

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Julie McGuire

Committee Member 3

Saundra Nettles

Abstract

This study explored the role of cultural aesthetic expressions (often also referred to in this study as cultural arts) play in perceptions of learning while individuals are in the ongoing process of being immersed in a non-native culture. This inquiry focused specifically on the narratives of seven expatriates undergoing the process of cultural immersion in Germany, Slovenia and the United States. Using narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; He, Phillion & Connelly, 2005), participants were engaged in discussion, observation and interview for the purpose of exploring and analyzing how they make meaning from previous knowledge and their developing encounters with aesthetic expressions, perceived of as culturally diverse from or similar to their own. The researcher's narrative is included as a voice in the study, contributing to establishing contextual elements as well as discussing perceptions of accessibility and awareness to the aesthetic expressions in these cultures. It also includes insights reflecting upon participant narratives, referencing additional research, and citing from formal interviews and informal consultations with host-country community members who practiced in the arts and education sectors of the respective cultures. The narratives included in this dissertation offer significant evidence to suggest that intercultural literacy is developed in part through aesthetic forms of cultural exchange for this set of participants. The results of this study contribute to the discourse regarding how learning is perceived through cultural aesthetic expressions during the cultural immersion process by revealing some of the complex aspects of the meaning making process and presenting examples from lived experience of how cross-cultural complexities are navigated by a diverse sample of individuals in relation to cultural aesthetic expressions.

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