All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lois M Christensen

Advisory Committee Members

Grace Jepkemboi

Kay Emfinger

Lynn Kirkland

Michele J Sims

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to utilize an international pen pal project to enact transformation education by enabling students to gain a stronger respect for cultural diversity and changing students' perceptions of a diverse culture. A total of 39 sixth grade students, 16 second grade students, and two teachers participated in this study. One sixth grade teacher in Jakarta, Indonesia and one second grade teacher in north Alabama were participants and served as collaborative member checkers. Limited literature exists on the topic of pen pal writing between children who live in different nations with the goal of transformation. Most of the current studies that existed focused on improving literacy. Through this study, I sought to fill a gap in the literature to provide information on a transformational pen pal project between children living in different countries. Data collection began in October, 2012 and ended in May, 2012 during which letters were exchanged eleven times through email. Pen pal letters, journal entries, interviews, and email messages were collected. The entire data was read and reread multiple times. Themes and subthemes were identified for each case and reported to answer the research questions. A cross-case analysis and discussion were also provided. Findings revealed that transformation education was enacted through engaging in the collaborative cross-cultural pen pal project. Implications for educators and recommendations for further research were also discussed.

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