School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Michael-Chadwell, Sharon D


Third Culture Kids, Identity Development, International Schools, Education, International Mobility, Place Identity Construction Theory




The purpose of the qualitative multi-case study was to explore K-12 international teachers' and school administrators' perceptions concerning Third Culture Kids' (TCK) identity construction in Asia. The theory guiding this study is place identity construction theory regarding the need for third culture kids to develop a personal identity in an international context. The central question is, How do educators and schools meet the identity construction needs of TCKs in international schools? The study's participant pool involved two international schools in South East Asia. It included each school's teachers and administrators. The data collection for two research sites involved semi-structured interviews with international schoolteachers and at least one administrator per case, a focus group of educators who all work in the same school, direct observations, archival records, and documents about the school's programmatic elements designed to meet the needs of TCKs. After the data collection in the study, the data analysis occurred using Yin’s five-step model for data analysis. Five predominant themes emerged from the analysis: (a) TCK needs, (b) meaning of home, (c) sense of cultural mastery, (d) international school community, and (e) inclusion and representation. While the participants shed substantial light on inclusion and representation, a similarly designed study, which specifically targets inclusion and representation as to the purpose of the study, would likely gain even richer data and find deeper meanings. In addition, two outliers emerged in the findings: neocolonialism and translanguaging. Finally, an examination of the study's limitations related to the participants, research design, data collection plan, data analysis, and procedures is presented in the document.

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