Kang, R., Mehranian, Y., & Hyyatt, C. (2017). Incorporating an Image-Based, Multi-Model Pedagogy Into Global Citizenship Education. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 18 (23). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v18n23/


Drawing on theories and practices in literacy education, and in particular, the concepts of semiotics and transmediation, this research explores the possibility of arts-based experiences —such as image theater — in facilitating transformation of thinking in the context of global citizenship education. The objectives of this research were twofold. The first was to concretize the notion of an image-based, multimodal pedagogy into a practice-based instructional model, while the second was to provide case-study examples of how the pedagogy was enacted in two undergraduate-level courses with a global focus. This research is based on a participatory-action design and analyzes data using a grounded theory approach. The data sources for this research include videotaped performing sessions, observation notes, written reflections, end-of-course surveys, photos, artwork and other student constructed artifacts. The results indicate that Image Theatre and arts-based experiences can expand and deepen student thinking on issues of global citizenship. Implications for pedagogy include increasing the use of arts and theatre for class interactions on traditional readings and themes.

Key Findings:

  • Traditional global citizenship education relied solely on an intellectual approach. This research was enriched through an arts-based, multimodal approach. The goal of the research was to join the cognitive and intellectual components to strengthen student’s mastery and understanding of global citizenship education.
  • The adaptation of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed into pedagogy is not a literal process and depends heavily on context. Expanding on Boal’s work to include discussions allowed students to further develop how they could expand their understanding of course content through movement and other multimodal activities.
  • Educators have approached global citizenship from various methodologies and theories ranging from neoliberal to more critical, interdisciplinary perspectives. Additionally, these two perspectives are not necessarily in opposition to one another and can be blended.
  • Global citizenship classrooms can utilize arts-based activities through multiple modalities to better access content. Image-based collaborative inquiry and image theater can be used to develop students’ interpretation of global citizenship education

Significance of the Findings:

The findings of this study differ from previous research as they require a more holistic approach than previously utilized to deliver global citizenship pedagogy. Additionally, the implications for global citizenship classrooms and educators are significant, as they recommend using different pedagogy to strengthen content understanding. The multiple modalities used in these specific courses can be considered by other instructors, in evaluating ways to teach global citizenship courses with a strong art-based pedagogy approach to compliment both disciplines. The detailed activities used to bridge the two content areas can be helpful in other subject areas.


This research uses image-based, multi-modal pedagogy to evaluate practice-based instruction. In doing so, it utilizes a case-study of enacted pedagogy in two undergraduate courses at a liberal arts university, through a participatory-action research design and grounded theory approach.

Limitations of the Research:

This study is limited in its scope as it only evaluates two courses to explore how images and theater provide experiences that enhance a student’s global citizenship knowledge. Additionally, this study is limited in its inclusion of implemented pedagogical approaches. It is unclear how the class was framed, the strategies utilized, scaffolds provided, and other details that are key to making its findings transferable.

Questions to Guide New Research:

Potential questions include:

  • Would it be beneficial to expand this research into a longitudinal study?
  • What cultural, physical and religious considerations, among others, need to be examined to ensure that students feel safe in expressing their understanding through multiple modalities?
  • What pedagogical tools were utilized in these courses? Would the same strategies be applicable in other grades or coursework?