Education K-12 M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Silmser, Lisa


Current events demonstrate a need for global society members who have understanding across cultural borders. Storytelling has long been considered universally human with the ability to build understanding in complex situations. This thesis explores the potential of storytelling to increase cultural competence in students. Current research on cultural understanding and story is organized into the three domains of cultural competence: cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity and knowledge, and cultural competence. Research demonstrates that stories have the potential to increase understanding among students of many cultures. There is evidence that stories can effectively promote cultural competence in each of its three domains. In addition to increasing intercultural competence, story can also provides an opportunity for personal identity development in student. Stories are most effective when implemented in emotionally and culturally safe classroom environments by willing, culturally competent teachers. Limitations of the research are considered. Future research is needed in the areas of lasting effects of story on cultural competence, effectiveness in K-12 settings, and a comparison of storytelling methods. Several recommendations for professional application of the research are developed.

Degree Name

Education K-12 M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Education Commons