International education and the global present: perspectives of international practitioners

  • Barry Joseph Hallinan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


International education is an emerging and rapidly growing field of research. Although the term is, in itself, not unproblematic, it holds some significance for a specific group: the international reflective practitioner. This study considers an international reflective practitioner to be one who has a special interest in understanding and theorising his/her professional setting: that of international schools.

This thesis offers insights into the perspectives of international reflective practitioners and into the challenges international schools face in a globalising context. International education is argued to be a collection of ideals and perspectives which transcend national borders and where world-mindedness becomes a lynchpin. Pragmatic (market driven) and ideological (values driven) foci which dictate or drive the ethos and management of an international school are explored as a means of understanding mechanisms underpinning the world of international education.

The international educational setting of a group of skilled and experienced international education practitioners is reviewed and the perspectives of this numerically limited, opportunity sample are presented. Their contribution to the debate on international education is arguably worthy of investigation. In order to gain insights into their world-view, a web-based questionnaire (WBQ) was designed which focused on a range of issues with which these professionals have grappled through their own postgraduate studies and/or at a school level. Such issues derived from my own reading of relevant critical analyses of international education, along with a personal understanding of what it means to work in an international school. Recorded telephone interviews explored issues deriving from the original web-based questionnaire.

There are inherent limitations to this study, not least of which is the size of the opportunity sample. Given the impressive experience of respondents, however, and their interest in international education, I believe that the findings of the study hold a particular significance and that our knowledge and understanding of this fascinating field is illuminated through an analysis of those experiences. A number of recommendations for future research are also made.

Date of Award20 Dec 2007
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMary Hayden (Supervisor)

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