FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials

Pages:     | 1 || 3 | 4 |   ...   | 19 |


-- [ Page 2 ] --

3.5 Narrative research approach

3.6 Biographical i nterviews

3.7 Narrative analysis and the analysis of narratives

4 Overview of the articles 53

4.1 Article I :

4.2 Article II:

4.3 Article I II:

4.4 Article I V:

4.5 Article V:

–  –  –

1. Introduction:

the necessity of intercultural learning and competence in today’s societies and world At the time of writing the summary of this doctoral thesis, the so-called critical debate on Finland’s immigration and refugee policy is lively in the media.

Politicians, professionals and, most of all, the general Finnish public have diverse opinions of immigration policy, refugees and their status in our society. On the basis of this discussion, one would think that diversity is a new phenomenon in Finnish population and society. The idea of one nation, one language and one mind, which was an important slogan in nation building, still seems to be strong in the minds of many.

Compared to many other European countries, the number of immigrants in Finland is still relatively low – about 150,000 in 2009 (Tilastokeskus, 2010).

However, diversity is not a new phenomenon in our society. Finland has always had its own ethnic and linguistic minorities, such as the Sami, Roma and the Swedish speaking minority. If the concept of culture is expanded beyond ethnic dimensions (Gollnick & Chinn, 1998, pp. 13–15; Nieto, 2002, p. 53), there are many additional reasons to consider present day Finland to be multicultural. From the perspective of, for instance, social and regional differences, urban versus rural, social class, gender, sexual orientation and religion, it can be argued that Finland has been multicultural since its independence and long before it. Finland has also been an important crossroads between East and West, which has naturally affected its culture and cultural diversity (Liebkind, 2000, p. 171; Räsänen, 2002, p. 106).

When discussing immigrant issues and policies, it has often been forgotten that Finland has also been a sending partner: Finns themselves have travelled both near and far and immigrated to various countries to improve their living conditions or to build an ideal living community (Järvelä, 2010, p. 130).

The two main phenomena of this study, intercultural learning and its result, intercultural competence, are seen as both conditions and aims for increasing cultural awareness, understanding, dialogue, fruitful co-operation and learning from each other in multicultural societies and the world. As Salo-Lee writes (2007, p. 74), multicultural and intercultural interactions are, at best, opportunities for dialogue and creativity. However, in the absence of intercultural competence, they can also easily lead to misunderstandings and the breaking of relationships.

It can be argued that everyone needs intercultural competence in today’s diverse societies and world. Even if we have never travelled outside the borders of our native country, the media, other people and education bring the world and diversity to our consciousness.

When discussing intercultural learning and intercultural competence, it can be argued that education and teachers play a key role in this process, as they can affect the thinking and action of the next generations. It is not enough that teachers are interculturally competent themselves. They should also foster the development of intercultural competence in their students. Teachers have the opportunity to affect their students’ awareness, open the world for them, and provide them with tools to critically analyse global phenomena and to act for a more equal and sustainable world. Furthermore, intercultural competence is necessary for teachers because as ethical professionals, they are responsible for supporting the personal and academic growth of all their students, regardless of background, culture, language, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and so on (Nieto, 2000, p. 4). Teachers should not choose whose learning to support and whose not to.

If considering the broad definition of diversity, Finnish classrooms have always been diverse and multicultural. Still, teachers’ intercultural competence was not discussed until the new immigrant groups arrived in our country in the late 70s and 80s. In multicultural classrooms, teachers need many intercultural competences to work with children whose language, learning styles, behavior, thinking and academic skills may differ a lot from those of the so-called mainstream students.

Traditional pedagogical and didactical skills are important but are not enough.

When teaching multicultural classes, knowledge and awareness of stereotypes, power structures, global issues and one’s own values become significant. Asking questions such as whose knowledge, whose culture, whose traditions and whose language are we teaching, learning and transmitting to students should be part of a teacher’s everyday reflection (May, 1999; Räsänen, 2005b; Tomperi, Kiilakoski, & Vuorikoski, 2005).

How is it possible for a teacher, who works within so many different pressures and with limited resources, to learn all these demanding competences? This research is based on the idea that learning intercultural competence is essential for a teacher and is a process that lasts a whole lifetime. One cannot become interculturally competent within one in-service course, by travelling or even during a five-year academic teacher education. However, all of these activities may have a large influence and serve as the turning points in teachers’ intercultural learning processes.

Although this study argues that intercultural learning is a lifelong process and is often informal and incidental, education also plays a significant role in this process.

It has been more and more recognized, in Finland as well, that all teachers need intercultural competence and that multicultural issues need to be an essential part of both pre- and in-service teacher education (Jokisalo & Simola, 2009; Luukkainen, 2004). It is also important to realize that multicultural education does not only mean organizing education for immigrants, but that it is essential for all (see also Nieto, 2000, p. 4). Finnish teacher education is responding to growing multiculturalism and globalization in different ways. Typically, there are a few separate courses on multiculturalism in teacher education curricula. Teachers of this study, however, have graduated from the Intercultural Teacher Education Programme1 at the University of Oulu, Finland. This is a five-year programme that emphasizes global and intercultural perspectives in education and aims at providing prospective teachers with the competences that they will need whether they are working as teachers or other educational professionals in an increasingly multicultural society and world. In this specific programme, global issues, critical pedagogy and intercultural competences are integrated into all the courses of educational sciences as well as many other subject areas. The philosophical premise is that one or two courses on intercultural education are not enough to affect teachers’ thinking and action, but that a holistic approach is needed to support teachers’ intercultural learning.

Intercultural aspects in teacher education or higher education in general should not be something marginal. In Strategy for the Internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions in Finland 2009–2015 (Ministry of Education 2009, p. 44), the Ministry of Education expects higher education institutions to actively take part in supporting the multicultural higher education community and civil society.

It also demands that the activities of higher education institutions be ethically sustainable and support students’ prerequisites to function in a global environment as well as understand the global effects of their activities. Moreover, in the Teacher Education 2020 memo by Ministry of Education, it is suggested that all teachers’ competences as regards working in multicultural contexts need to be strengthened by providing teachers with academic studies on and practical experiences with multicultural issues. This also needs to appear clearly in the curriculums of teacher education programmes (i.e. Opettajankoulutus... 2007, p. 45.) The aim of this study is to provide more theoretical and practical knowledge and understanding on the process of intercultural learning and the nature of intercultural The programme was called International Master of Education Programme in the years 1994–2010.

In 2010 its name was changed to Intercultural Teacher Education (ITE), which I use in this summary.

However, in all the articles of this thesis, the former name has been used.

competence in teachers’ work. It is a qualitative study based on various types of questionnaires and interviews collected from former ITE students who are now working as teachers in various contexts. Intercultural learning in general has not been researched a lot, although it is necessary to understand the process if we want to develop education that supports diverse intercultural learning processes as fully as possible. However, it is important to highlight that the focus of this study is not to evaluate the ITE programme and its strengths and weaknesses, although the programme is playing an important role in teachers’ learning, but to concentrate on intercultural learning and competence as theoretical phenomena.

This summary is structured so that research questions and the researcher’s position are first discussed in the introduction part of the study. In the theoretical part that follows, the main contexts and concepts of the research are elaborated.

Critical pedagogy is discussed next as one theoretical and methodological lens of the study. The theoretical section also includes a presentation of the two main concepts of this study: intercultural competence and intercultural learning. Chapter 3, the methodological part, discusses two methodologies: phenomenography and narrative biographical research, which were applied in conducting the empirical part of the study. Chapter 4 gives an overview of the articles. The fifth part of the research discusses the main findings of this doctoral thesis. The discussion part that follows draws final conclusions on the basis of the results, takes a critical look at teachers’ intercultural competence and learning and also examines how teachers’ professionalism for intercultural contexts could best be supported. In part seven, before the final remarks, the ethics and reliability of the study are discussed.

1.1 Aims and research questions

Intercultural learning and intercultural competence as part of teachers’ professionalism have not been researched a great deal in the Finnish context. This research aims at providing additional knowledge and understanding to existing ideas and theories on the process of intercultural learning and the nature of intercultural competence in teachers’ work. The study further aims at drawing some conclusions on how teachers’ professional development for intercultural contexts could be supported.

The research questions of this study are the following:

1. How do teachers define their intercultural competence?

2. How do teachers describe their intercultural learning?

These research questions are discussed in five substudies from different perspectives (see Chapter 4). In the result parts of this summary (Chapters 5 and 6), findings related to these research questions are summarized, combined and discussed.

1.2 Researcher’s position

As this is a qualitative research study, it is acknowledged that the researcher is a central tool or research instrument of the study (e.g., Cresswell, 2007, p. 38; Punch, 2007, p. 158). In this chapter, I briefly describe my own relationship to this research topic and my research subjects. I began my own university studies as a member of the first ITE group in 1994. My own experiences of being a student and, later on, a teacher in the ITE programme naturally play a role in this study. I have both academic and personal motives for doing this research: I feel that I have experienced a certain kind of intercultural transformation process during my studies and would like to know more and understand better this complex process. The second motive, which is also academic and personal, comes from my work experience as a primary school teacher, and later on as a university teacher, when I had become fully aware of the urgent need for intercultural competence and intercultural learning in the area of education.

Although to a certain extent being an ‘insider’ in this research process, taking the role of an ‘outsider’ has also been surprisingly easy in some situations. If I look back at my experiences in teacher education, I think that being a member of a diverse academic student group caused a kind of culture shock for me. Some of the students in our group had multicultural backgrounds, some had lived in other continents and some had other significant experiences of cultural diversity. I was a student who came straight from upper secondary school and had lived all her life in a rather small and relatively ‘monocultural’ Finnish village.

Additionally, in the interview situations, assuming an outsider’s perspective was often relatively easy because I am not, for instance, a third culture child myself (as some of my research subjects are). I do not have a similar background or the same type of career experiences as my research subjects. However, during the interviews, I sometimes felt that I could really understand my interviewees and their narratives and ‘read’ the meaning of certain types of facial expressions or gestures because we shared the same experience of being students in intercultural teacher education and being a novice teacher after graduation.

Still, I often wondered how there could be so many things that I did not know about my research subjects (even those who I had known beforehand), and sometimes I would struggle, have to ask many further questions or need to have a long conversation before I was able to understand my research subjects’ ideas and experiences.

Pages:     | 1 || 3 | 4 |   ...   | 19 |

Similar works:

«Krishna Bista 2-31Walker Hall School of Education University of Louisiana at Monroe I. EDUCATION Arkansas State University, Jonesboro Campus, Arkansas (USA) Doctorate in Education (EdD), Educational Leadership/Higher Education, 2013 Specialist in Education (EdS), College Teaching/Community College Administration, 2012 Troy University, Troy Campus, Alabama (USA) Master of Science (MS), Post-Secondary Education and English, 2009 Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu (Nepal) Master of Arts (MA), English...»

«27 Neeru Sharma: Caste in Punjab Caste in Punjab: Political Marginalization and Cultural Assertion of Scheduled Castes in Punjab Neeru Sharma Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi _ Despite being a highly stratified society characterized by caste and class divisions and a state with highest scheduled caste population, Punjab is seldom considered for studying its caste system or a case study of dalit assertion. The objective of this paper is threefold to examine the caste system in Punjab, to...»

«Lorraine M. Males | 1 Lorraine M. Males Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education University of Nebraska-Lincoln 214A Henzlik Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0371 402-472-2536 lmales2@unl.edu Last updated: January 2014 EDUCATION 2007 – 2011 Doctor of Philosophy, Mathematics Education Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI Cognate: Curriculum & Teacher Education 2001 – 2003 Master of Education, Curriculum & Instruction Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, IN 1995 – 1999 Bachelor of Science,...»

«Bank & Thrift Industry News Tuesdays with Laurie: To MHC or not to MHC, that is the question May 20, 2008 8:25 AM ET By Laurie Hunsicker Laurie Hunsicker spoke with some of the industry's top conversion gurus for this week's roundtable, discussing the pros and cons of the mutual holding company corporate structure. Laurie is a former senior financial services equity research analyst whose career on the sell-side spans 17 years, the last seven of which she was a managing director and co-head of...»

«Charter School Teacher Recruitment and Selection Toolkit Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit 2014 Delaware Department of Education, Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit The unit’s broad mandate is to improve the effectiveness of teachers and leaders statewide and make Delaware the employer of choice for excellent educators. Christopher N. Ruszkowski, Chief Officer, • Tasha Cannon, Deputy Officer, Talent Recruitment, Selection, & Strategy • The Toolkit was developed by staff of the...»

«06H Missouri's Pioneer Nun 1 [3261 words] Missouri’s Pioneer Nun Patricia J. Rice First published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Magazine, August 23, 1987 Reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, copyright 1987 “Canonization! That’s wonderful,” said Virginia Robyn of St. Louis County, who is 91. Her grandmother, Mary Knott Dyer, who was a student of Mother Duchesne, told her the girls vied to thread their beloved teacher’s sewing needle when her sight was failing....»

«Neuroscience Literacy 1 Running head: Neuroscience Literacy The Neuroscience Literacy of Trainee Teachers Paul Howard-Jones, Lorna Franey, Rasha Mashmoushi and Yen-Chun Liao Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Manchester, 2-5 September 2009 Contact Paul Howard-Jones: Graduate School of Education, 35 Berkely Square, BS8 1JA, United Kingdom (e-mail: paul.howard-jones@bris.ac.uk)....»

«Welcome to the 2013 AIMS Conference! We are glad you have chosen to attend and appreciate the opportunity to offer this professional development and networking forum for our colleagues from across the state and the country. The AIMS Teachers Service Committee has been hard at work planning and organizing this event to ensure its success and on behalf of the AIMS community, I cannot thank them enough. Committee members’ investments have been invaluable and we thank their respective schools,...»

«Golden Research Thoughts Impact Factor : 2.2052(UIF) Volume-3 | Issue-11 | May-2014 ROLE OF GOVERNMENT SCHEMES IN ENSURING FOOD SECURITY IN INDIA Devindrappa. K, T. Gurubasappa.R Research scholar, Department of Studies and Research in Economics. Gulbarga University, Gulbarga, 585106, (Karnataka). Associate Professor and Head, PG Dept of Economics, Govt. College Gulbarga,(Karnataka) Abstract. Food is the basic necessity of life for survival and livelihood for a healthy and productive life....»

«This is the author’s version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source: Mills, Kathy A., Sunderland, Naomi, & Davis, John (2013) Yarning circles in the literacy classroom. The Reading Teacher, 67 (4), pp. 285-289. This file was downloaded from: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/61361/ c Copyright 2013 International Reading Association Notice: Changes introduced as a result of publishing processes such as copy-editing and formatting may not be reflected in this...»

«Revised 02/16 Curriculum Vitae Elizabeth Griffiths Rutgers University Phone: 973.353.3303 School of Criminal Justice Fax: 973.353.5896 Center for Law and Justice Email: elizabeth.griffiths@rutgers.edu 123 Washington Street Newark, NJ 07102 Academic Appointments 2013-present Associate Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University. 2011-2013 Assistant Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University. 2006-2011 Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Emory University....»

«The Romanian Journal for Psychology, Psychotherapy and Neuroscience Volume 1, Issue 2 www.irscpublishing.com December, 2011 ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES IN SANGUINE, CHOLERIC, PHLEGMATIC AND MELANCHOLIC Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić Department of Preschool Education, Faculty of Teacher Education University of Rijeka Address for correspondence: Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić, PhD Department of Preschool Education, Teacher Education College, University of Rijeka University Campus, Slavka Krautzeka...»

<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.dissertation.xlibx.info - Dissertations, online materials

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.