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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




The present global setting is increasingly driven by the interdependence of heightened environmental, political, socio-economic, and technological forces. As a result, today’s students need a variety of skills to succeed on both professional and personal levels. A wide and increasing array of scholars strongly advocates for students to achieve enhanced global awareness to become global citizens and to successfully navigate this challenging global environment. The growing importance of global awareness and understanding students’ motivational behaviors toward its attainment strongly inspired the purpose of this dissertation study. A convergent parallel mixed-methods design was utilized for this dissertation study to examine how an ethnically, racially, and socio-economically diverse group of high school students (n = 172) reported their motivational characteristics associated with their global awareness levels as a result of participating in a global-themed curriculum program. Data collection and analyses were grounded in Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000), which includes intrinsic and varied extrinsic nuances and descriptions of the respective roles of these forms of motivation in cognitive and social development. As a means to assess the participating students’ levels of motivation and global awareness, an electronic survey was administered, including the following measures: (a) the Situational Motivational Scale (SIMS) (Guay, Vallerand, & Blanchard, 2000), (b) the Programme for International Student Assessment – Global Competence Student Information Questionnaire (PISA; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2018), and (c) a demographic questionnaire. The student sample’s quantitative data were obtained from this online survey instrument. The qualitative data were taken from focus group discussions, during which students (n = 23) reflected on various motivators for their enrollments and participations in their respective global-themed courses. Based on the quantitative data analyses, the student sample possessed motivational characteristics to participate in their respective global-themed courses, as highlighted in the SIMS’ Intrinsic Motivation and Identified Regulation subscales scores. In addition, the respective data scores for several PISA subscales, namely, Awareness of Global Issues, Student’s Engagement with Others, Re: Global Issues, Interest in Learning About Other Cultures, and Global Competence Activities at School, revealed the strongest tendency toward measurements of the students’ global awareness. Moreover, various correlation and multiple regression analyses of the independent and dependent quantitative data variables showed evidence of the student sample’s global awareness. The qualitative data analysis revealed various interrelated factors that led to the development of the students’ global awareness and the many perceived benefits they had received from participating in those courses, including improved academic skills and heightened global perspectives that led to the development of enhanced empathy and desires to become social cause advocates. The integrated data analyses revealed that the SIMS Intrinsic Motivation and Identified Regulation subscales data related to students’ participations in the global-themed courses were supported by the qualitative results anchored in motivations to seek more in-depth knowledge about global studies, and to participate in higher-level curricula to earn college credits. Components of the highest-scoring PISA subscales, such as the ability to discuss and to analyze topical global issues like the global climate crisis and the technological revolution, and keeping abreast of newsworthy global events via social media platforms, which indicated important elements of global awareness, were clearly supported in the qualitative data. The findings of this study reinforced the necessity for students to become better prepared to face the numerous challenges within an increasingly interconnected and competitive working world. This dissertation has important implications for researchers in the field of educational psychology and educators engaged in the creation and delivery of 21st-century skills and global awareness-inspired curricula. The following are recommendations to include opportunities for developing global awareness: (a) create learning environments to foster innate psychological personal needs such as competency, autonomy, and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000); (b) promote foreign language learning, including realistic experiences to reinforce the numerous benefits of that important skill; and, (c) embrace empathy and tolerance toward others, leading to demonstrated needs for social cause advocacy as important extensions of global awareness development.

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