Locating Dissertation Topics at the Doctoral Level

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The main purpose of a dissertation is to reveal new information on a subject that has not been previously discussed or researched in the same manner. Dissertations have been written using basic research with the intention of advancing human awareness on specific topics related to history, customs and artistic or visual occurrences in nature, and a myriad of other subjects. Other investigative studies have been written using applied research to investigate the ways certain practices, actions and the rules that govern them are carried out. The purpose of this essay is to present possible doctoral-level topics for a dissertation that accurately and clearly states a problem in a manner that makes a difference and increases knowledge.

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Running head: LOCATING DISSERTATION TOPICS AT THE DOCTORAL LEVEL

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LOCATING DISSERTATION TOPICS AT THE DOCTORAL LEVEL

Topic Paper Submitted to Northcentral University Graduate Faculty of the School of Business and Technology Management in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of International Education

by Steven Clark Bradley

Prescott Valley, Arizona January, 2014

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List of potential topics for Education Dissertations (The topics in bold are discussed in the essay below) 1. Should all teachers be required to learn and to incorporate information technology into the classroom at all levels? 2. Does the influence of globalization negatively or positively impact education today? 3. Is the Chinese early childhood education system superior to the American system? 4. What are the effects of traumatic stress and attachment difficulties on academic achievement for young children? 5. Should there be more school community programs that promote better parent involvement in children’s school life? 6. Are international high school programs in Chinese public schools effective or detrimental to students? 7. What are the effective tools needed to measure the success or failure of Common Core Standards? 8. What is the affect of homework in the academic lives of Chinese adolescents compared to American adolescents?

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Introduction The main purpose of a dissertation is to reveal new information on a subject that has not been previously discussed or researched in the same manner. Dissertations have been written using basic research with the intention of advancing human awareness on specific topics related to history, customs and artistic or visual occurrences in nature, and a myriad of other subjects. Other investigative studies have been written using applied research to investigate the ways certain practices, actions and the rules that govern them are carried out. The purpose of this essay is to present possible doctoral-level topics for a dissertation that accurately and clearly states a problem in a manner that makes a difference and increases knowledge. Potential Dissertation Topic 1 Should all teachers be required to learn and to incorporate information technology into the classroom at all levels? One potentially effective dissertation topic, in the field of education, is the need to train all teachers to use modern technology in every subject area and at every level of study. This topic presents the problem of the failure of many older teachers to grasp the importance of using all the modern tools at their disposal. One of the main causes of this problem is a lack of continued training by school systems to ensure that all teachers possess the knowledge to utilize modern technology in the classroom. Today, in twenty-first century, students are deeply rooted in technology and are firmly accustomed to computers, smart phones and the internet. Students of all ages are as devoted to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as adults are (Grant, 2010). Every day, new and more advanced digital distance courses and tools are created that increasingly captivate children’s imagination. Ensuring teachers’ and students’ competence in digital knowledge and their abilities, through safe social networking, should become a practical part of education today.

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The information and study opportunities children need and want are easily accessible on the internet, which is the most powerful form of communication available today. A dissertation on this topic should demonstrate how information technology can help students find the information they need on almost any subject they are studying. It would also be important to show how schools around the world have failed to use modern information technology in the classroom. Access to such resources should be a prerequisite for all students. Relevant information must be presented that demonstrates the significance of teacher awareness training on the online global tools at their disposal. Instructors must also be able to move beyond traditional textbooks and teaching styles and get out of their comfort zones. The research used for a dissertation on this topic should investigate teachers’ ability to create new standards of practice in a technologically creative, unique and pioneering structure that is rich in academic content. The dissertation must determine if teachers know the importance of critical thinking and analytical solutions to problems through the use of technology. This topic should be developed with an emphasis on the importance of media literacy available online and the distance learning opportunities available today. The researcher should verify whether teachers have the interest and ability to take advantage of the globally connected online tools available to them. The development of this topic should also be to investigate whether professional teacher development programs exist that convey reliable and valid information to educators on the new ways of using technology to instruct their students in the global world. Potential Dissertation Topic 2 Does the influence of globalization negatively or positively impact education today? There are many ways an effective academic-level dissertation could be developed on topic on the impact of globalization on education. It is well known that there are many positive and negative outcomes on education due to globalization. The important part of a dissertation on this topic would be to show if the positive results outweigh the negative ones. Adequate research

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would allow the writer to discover what the impact are and how they affect learning in the global world. It is important to know what has already been written and said concerning this topic. Therefore, an appropriate examination of information on this subject would give the writer a thorough understanding of how to shed new light upon this important area of study. Also, as globalization has significantly enhanced comparative education, it would be appropriate to glean information from the many resources available from comparative education researchers’ writing. The impact of Globalization on education is widespread, and it has touched almost every area of education. Student can now choose to study abroad with increased ease through exchange programs, international schools, and specialized programs for international and cross-cultural study. Researchers now have much more access to information through the internet and by working mutually in programs with international colleagues. Teachers can expand their knowledge by meeting with their counterparts around the world, either online or through exchange programs. Nevertheless, an important part of a dissertation in this area of research would be to determine if the opportunities, created through globalization, really enhance education back home for students or not. Statistical data and research into real-life results should be used to make this dissertation subject objective and revealing. It is also important to determine if the outcomes making students globally minded actually aide today’s students in their education and to compete better in the global market (Schuerholz-Lehr, 2007). It has been said that today’s students need to have a global-world view that will allow them to achieve their goals better in an increasingly co-dependent world. Many convincing articles and books have been written insisting that students and teachers need to be culturally sensitive to the ethnic and cultural diversity of the future global classroom. A dissertation on this topic needs to possess the information available from the body of knowledge to ascertain whether such claims are real or exaggerated. A proper dissertation must not only reveal what the ideal school or student would expect to gain from such global learning but also demonstrate how

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international studies and global awareness will either help or hinder students as a whole. To prepare an objective and honest assessment in a dissertation on this topic, the writer will need to be completely free of prejudice and allow the information to hold sway over the results of the investigation. There is no other way to prepare an investigative, academic document that yields new information to the world’s body of knowledge. Potential Dissertation Topic 3 Is the Chinese early childhood education system superior to the American system? There is a vast difference between the early childhood education programs in the People's Republic of China and the United States. Nevertheless, both approaches possess positive and not so positive polices in their systems of educating their very young. This topic opens many challenges and possibilities in the area of academic research. There is an abundance of information that details both the advantages and disadvantages of both nations’ educational ideals. A researcher could conduct a fair and accurate investigation on this topic with the vast amount of material available. An accurate and objective dissertation should draw the distinctions that exist most in the two nations’ teaching methods, the cultural differences, and in the amount of parental involvement. Culture difference could play the biggest part in the writing of an investigative paper on this topic. China’s socialist ideals and ancient traditions are based on the teachings of Confucius. There is a great emphasis on working in groups and teacher authority. American education and culture places a lot more importance on individuality and self-expression than China does. This could be demonstrated well with a thorough study of China’s traditions of the past, which are still firmly rooted in the nation’s culture. The American system of early education is far less based upon culture. In the United States, policy, law and individual freedom are the supreme foundation for the ideals taught to students who live in a pluralistic society.

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The distinctions between the American system of educating young children and the Chinese system provide a very good catalyst for academic research. China provides an early childhood education system that results in highly compliant, meticulous children. Though American schools have increased disciplinary measures over the past decade, there are far less stringent rules applied to children. Chinese traditional family ideals of parental control over children, discipline and submission to parents are shifting as a result the Western ethics of creativity, independence and critical thinking. Yet, China’s strongest force that battles against the loss of traditional Chinese values is China’s early childhood education. A dissertation on this topic should underscore the differences in actual education practice between China and America. For example, Kindergartens in China are full-day programs for children. Around twenty percent of children, three to six years old are in nursery schools and kindergarten. Child care and educational preparation are the two main thrusts of Kindergartens in China. The American system for early education is centered on day-care centers and preschools for working mothers that are predominantly religious or for profit private organizations. In America, parents are far less willing to let the very young attend classes regularly. Whereas Chinese parents regard early age education as a means of giving their children a head start for their later years, many American families regard such a governmental program as intrusion into their private lives. There are many areas from each nation’s educational approach that would certainly reveal both strong and weak points between two vastly different societies. Yet, perhaps the most striking revelation between the two systems would be that the cultural divide is far too great for each nation’s educational practice to be implemented in the other’s culture. It is through contextual comparison that researchers could write a fair and accurate dissertation. There are vast differences between the Chinese and American cultures. Nevertheless there are areas of international educational policy that should be studied. A truly academic level dissertation should have the reliable and valid information that can demonstrate either the two

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nations’ ability or their inability of adopting parts of both cultures’ early education programs to effectively prepare their children to be respectful and cooperative members of society in the future (Song, 2010).

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References Grant, A.C. (2010). Tearing Down the Walls. Creating Global Classrooms through Online Teacher Preparation Programs. Distance Learning, 7(2), 37-41. Schuerholz-Lehr, S. (2007) Teaching for global literacy in higher education: How prepared are the educators. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(2), 180-204. Song, H. (2010). Sleeping giant: Chinese teacher education system. Past, present and future (II), On the Horizon, 18, (2), 110-123.

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Part Two Annotated Bibliography Entries Entry One Should all teachers be required to learn and to incorporate information technology into the classroom at all levels? Grant, A.C. (2010). Tearing Down the Walls. Creating Global Classrooms through Online Teacher Preparation Programs. Distance Learning, 7(2), 37-41. This article presents a very pertinent view of the need for global society to fearlessly advance to the next level, in the field of education. The author presented very clear and demonstrative examples of how online resources can empower students throughout the world. The article designed an excellent piece of academic writing that is easily applicable to the times in which today’s students and teachers find themselves. The author developed this article around common language that is not typically found in academic articles. The organization is well developed and the examples are all pertinent to the subject matter. This article possesses a higher level of emotionalism than most scholarly written material. It appeared that many sections of the paper pushed high emotions to the borders of academic language without actually crossing over the line into common forms of writing not seen in peer-reviewed articles. The author’s conviction and convincing arguments are rendered more powerful by slightly less objective language without actually blemishing the article’s intellectual value. Entry 2 Does the influence of globalization negatively or positively impact education today? Schuerholz-Lehr, S. (2007) Teaching for global literacy in higher education: How prepared are the educators. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(2), 180-204. This article inspects the research that has been done on teachers’ professional and personal backgrounds and how they integrate global consciousness and cultural understanding into their teaching. The author studied teachers’ personal and professional attitudes, values, and ideas

LOCATING DISSERTATION TOPICS AT THE DOCTORAL LEVEL concerning global awareness. The author also links instructors’ life experiences and their instruction on global consciousness and how their world view affects their curriculum and instruction in the classroom. The article includes many good of definitions of intercultural competence, global literacy and cultural awareness. Entry 3 Is the Chinese early childhood education system superior to the American system?

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Song, H. (2010). Sleeping giant: Chinese teacher education system. Past, present and future (II), On the Horizon, 18, (2), 110-123. The article investigates how Chinese teachers are trained to be qualified teachers. The paper looks at environment, strengths and weaknesses of training teachers in China. It also studies the development of curriculum teachers will use in China in the future. The article reveals that China is aware that the nation’s demands on China’s future economic development. The investigative material reveals the need for the Chinese education system to provide students with skills such as creativity, flexibility, initiative and leadership from Preschool through high school to prepare them to compete in the globally world system. This would be an excellent article to use in a comparison of the Chinese and American early education systems. The article offers an honest appraisal of China’s successes and shortcomings in its education system.

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