FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials

Pages:     | 1 |   ...   | 4 | 5 || 7 | 8 |   ...   | 19 |


-- [ Page 6 ] --

Aittola (1998, p. 64) points out that for everyday experiences to become meaningful learning experiences, reflection is needed. Aittola (p. 64) argues that the most of the significant and transformative learning experiences are triggered by informal life situations.

Marsick and Watkins (2001, p. 28) describe the following characteristics as being typical for experiential learning. In my opinion, these characteristics also

describe the nature of intercultural learning:

• It is integrated with daily routines.

• It is triggered by an internal or external jolt.

• It is not highly conscious.

• It is haphazard and influenced by chance.

• It is an inductive process of reflection and action.

• It is linked to the learning of others.

According to Tuomisto (1998, p. 39; see also Marsick & Watkins, 2001), ‘everyday’ learning can be divided into three different but interrelated categories: unconscious hidden learning, self-directed/goal oriented learning and learning by experience (which has been described above). In unconscious hidden learning we are not aware that we are learning and that is why it is difficult or impossible to reflect or control our learning (compare research on hidden curriculum by e.g., Lynch, 1989;

Karjalainen, 1996; Margolis, 2001). Goal oriented learning includes learners’ willingness to try to make sense of, understand or control challenges in their lives and work, a basic interest and openness towards new situations and a tendency to think individually and distinctively. This kind of learning can be seen as a necessary condition for intercultural learning: people need to possess a certain kind of interest and openness towards otherness and diversity if they want to, for instance, develop their intercultural competences. A certain amount of toleration of uncertainty and stress is also a necessary condition for intercultural learning situations (Kohonen & al., 2001, p. 67; Lustig & Koester, 1998).

2.4.3 Intercultural learning as sociocultural process

Sociocultural learning process is based on the idea that knowing involves the agency of other people and is mediated by community and culture (Vygotski 1962, Cole, John-Steiner, Scribner & Souberman 1978). In the area of sociocultural learning there are various pedagogical approaches and concepts such as collaborative learning, co-operative learning and peer collaboration which usually are based on the socio-constructivist paradigm of learning. While both transformative and experiential learning theories emphasize the importance of cognitive self-refection for learning and change, sociocultural learning theories highlight the fact that our learning experiences always occur in a certain context – personal, social, professional and cultural – and that these contexts play a key role in influencing the way in which people interpret the situation and learn. It is not only that environment and other people affect our learning, but as collaborative learning (e.g., Kaartinen & Kumpulainen, 2002; Rogoff, 2003; Wells, 1999; Wells & Claxton, 2002) suggests, two or more people can actually learn and create something together and thus, learning becomes a mutual construction of new knowledge and a shared experience.

Sociocultural theories have challenged, in particular, cognitively oriented approaches to learning and teaching, which assume that knowledge and skill are acquired by mental or cognitive processes ‘inside our heads’. Säljö (2001) argues that in the cognitive approach, the environment and other people are seen as more or less passive objects of a learner’s action, while in sociocultural learning it is perceived that a person learns through participating in certain interactive relations (see also Greeno, 1998; Lave & Wenger, 1993). Thus, in sociocultural theories, learning is viewed as a social event in which cultural and historical context is present (Cole, 1996; Vygotsky, 1962). According to Säljö (2001), learning always involves co-operation between people; we are cultural beings and we act and think with other people in everyday situations. From the sociocultural point of view, learning is often unconscious and incidental. In intercultural learning, the means, tools and restrictions the environment offers for learning do matter (Cole, 1996). For example, the learning processes of so-called third culture kids (Pollock & VanReken, 2001) spending part of their childhood in countries and cultures other than their own and of children who have spent their whole life in a rather monocultural village are very likely to be different. On the other hand, spending time in a different culture, country or physical environment as such does not automatically lead to intercultural learning or a broader world view.

Lave and Wenger’s theory (1992) on situated learning is also worth discussing when analyzing intercultural learning as a sociocultural process. Lave and Wenger (1992, p. 15) perceive learning as a process that takes place in a participation framework rather than in the mind of an individual. Learning is thus mediated by the differences of perspective among co-participants. According to Lave and Wenger (1992), the defining characteristic of learning as a situated activity is a process that they refer to as legitimate peripheral participation. In this process, learners are participants in a community of practitioners. The knowledge and skills owned by the practitioners require newcomers to move toward full participation in the sociocultural practices of the community. These communities of practice, which usually consist of a rather small amount of people, are an inseparable part of our everyday life. Each of us belongs to several different communities of practice at home, at school, at work and during free time activities (Lave & Wenger, p. 15).

These groups, which are often informal networks, have shared mental or functional aims that make individuals in the group act together (Hakkarainen, Lonka, & Lipponen, 2004). In intercultural learning, these communities are significant, as described in Chapter 5.3. of this summary. According to Lave and Wenger (1992, p. 20), the situatedness of activity refers to the negotiated character of meaning and the nature of learning activity concerned for the people involved. In other words, the idea is that all activity is situated. From a sociocultural perspective, intercultural learning can be understood as the previously described negotiation process in which a person construes his/her identity in dialogue and through negotiation with other individuals as well as the environment.

3 Methodological choices during the research process: from phenomenography to narrative research The methodological approaches as well the data collection methods in this doctoral thesis have changed during the research process as the researcher’s understanding of the nature of the research topic has deepened. However, from the very beginning of the research process, my interests have been on teachers’ experiences, understanding and ideas on those intercultural competences that teachers find important in their work and life, and how this competence can be learnt.

In the beginning of this research process, my aim was to determine how teachers describe and conceptualise the intercultural competence that is needed in their work. Teachers themselves were considered to have firsthand experience with this and that is why they were chosen as the sources of information. I chose the phenomenographical research approach for investigating teachers’ intercultural competence because I thought that the description categories I would form on the basis of the teachers’ conceptions could provide new knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon called ‘teachers’ intercultural competence’. The interest was clearly in people’s qualitatively differing perceptions of intercultural competence.

According to Marton (1986), there is no objective knowledge about social reality but one can get the information and knowledge through the various conceptions of people. The philosophical assumption of this study is that each human being individually, as well as socially, constructs meanings on social phenomena around them, or as Mezirow (1996) writes, knowledge is not ‘out there’ to be discovered but is created from interpretations and reinterpretations in light of new experiences.

Similarly, in this study it is assumed that intercultural learning and intercultural competence are phenomena which are experienced, at least to a certain extent, differently by each human being; meanings related to those phenomena are thus individually construed. Even though they are individuals, social relationships and sociocultural context play a significant role in peoples’ learning, knowledge, skills and experiences. Furthermore, individuals’ experiences are not totally unique, because our experiences always reflect the historical and cultural contexts of where we live. By nature, human beings interact with others and in this interactive process they formulate their conceptions of various phenomena together. Individuals’ experiences also modify common experience (MacIntyre, 1981). Thus, I think that teachers’ conceptions on intercultural competence and their stories on intercultural learning are not totally subjective, but that there is also something general in them that helps us to understand the nature of these phenomena.

When approaching teachers’ conceptions on intercultural competence phenomenographically, I thought that a rather clear and systematic model for the phenomenological data analysis was well suited for analyzing my research data. I also liked the idea that in phenomenographical study, the data is analysed as a whole: there is no need to look at research subjects as individuals or to be interested in the reasons why they have certain kinds of conceptions. One person can have many different conceptions of intercultural competence. Interestingly, this impersonality and ‘facelessness’ of the research subjects became a problem when I grew interested in their individual learning processes.

There were also other reasons for transferring from phenomenographical to narrative research. When my interest moved from the nature of intercultural competence towards its development process, I realized that the phenomenographical approach may be insufficient. I had found out, when interviewing teachers, that they talked about the development of intercultural competence mainly as a lifelong process, which already starts in childhood and is affected by many different life experiences. I did not think that approaching intercultural learning through teachers’ conceptions by creating description categories about the whole data would necessarily give me the best possible tools by which to understand these individual, diverse processes in a biographical context.

When collecting data for my first articles, I also noticed that my research subjects willingly told about their experiences in a narrative form. I became interested in narrative research and it somehow felt natural to approach teachers’ intercultural learning on the basis of the teachers’ narratives. As the processes of intercultural learning seemed to be personal, the biographical perspective became another methodological frame for researching teachers’ intercultural learning.

Although I have applied two different methodological approaches in my thesis, I do not see them as contradictory. In both approaches, the interest lies in the meanings that people give to phenomena around them. In the phenomenographical approach, it is thought that we can describe a reality with the help of various conceptions, while in narrative research it is acknowledged that narratives are always situational and personal. However, these narratives still have the potential to deepen our understanding and obtain new knowledge and perspectives on certain phenomena.

For this doctoral thesis, I have collected data twice. The original idea was that there will be a longitudinal aspect in my study; that I would study the same teachers’ ideas of intercultural competence when they were newly graduated and after they had been working for some years. However, this idea changed as some of my informants moved abroad and it was more or less impossible to interview them again. Moreover, my research questions were modified and I did not think that the longitudinal aspect would be necessary to understanding the nature of teachers’ Table 1. Summary of the methodological approaches, data and research subjects in the empirical articles of the doctoral thesis.

–  –  –

intercultural learning. However, some of the research subjects are the same in both data collection cycles. The first data collection took place in 2001 and the second in 2005. These data collection processes are described in detail in Chapters 3.3. and

3.6. The following table summarises the methodological approaches that are used, what the data consist of, and who the research subjects are in each article. Article I is theoretical and that is why it is not mentioned in the table.

Data in article II have been collected and analysed phenomenographically.

The same data have been used in article III but in that article they have been analysed as narratives. This article is methodologically in a transitional phase from phenomenography to narrative research. The two newest articles (IV and V) are based on biographical interviews and the data have been analysed as narratives. In the following chapters, I first discuss my research subjects and then describe the two methodological approaches, data collection and analyses that I have used in my research.

3.1 Former ITE (Intercultural Teacher Education) students as research subjects The teachers who are the research subjects in this study have studied in the Intercultural Teacher Education (ITE) Programme in Oulu. The ITE programme is a master’s degree programme for intercultural educational tasks providing the qualifications for the post of primary school teacher. The special aim of this education is to respond to the challenges posed by globalization and diversity.

In the field of education, this manifests itself as a need for teachers who are capable of acting as experts in educational tasks in an increasingly international and multicultural society, both in Finland and abroad. In accordance with the

Bologna agreement and statute (794/2004), the programme has two cycles:

Pages:     | 1 |   ...   | 4 | 5 || 7 | 8 |   ...   | 19 |

Similar works:

«VALUE ADDED AND ITS USES: WHERE YOU STAND DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU SIT Sean Corcoran Abstract Institute for Education and In this policy brief we argue that there is little debate Social Policy about the statistical properties of value-added model New York University (VAM) estimates of teacher performance, yet, despite New York, NY 10012 this, there is little consensus about what the evidence sean.corcoran@nyu.edu about VAMs implies for their practical utility as part of high-stakes performance...»

«Obituaries Sisters of Mercy – South Central Community 2013 Sister Mary Joannes Clifford, age 87, October 30, 2013 Sister Mary Joannes Clifford died in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a Sister of Mercy for 68 years. Sister Mary Joannes served as a teacher for much of her ministry in Maryland and Alabama, and also founded Friends of Mercy, a support group that helps people adjust to being separated, widowed or divorced. Sister Mary Joannes received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Mt....»

«The University of Guam Special Education Program: Preparing Special Education Teachers in a Very Diverse Culture Richard W. Fee Lincoln University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Julie M. Fee University of Guam Mangilao, Guam Peggy A. Snowden Nicole M. Stuart Dana Baumgartner University of Illinois at Chicago Only 12 students graduated from the M.Ed. – Special Education program at the University of Guam during its first 20 years. In the spring of 2007, with technical assistance from The Monarch...»

«An Ethical Letter Benjamin M. Roth to His Son Solonron, 1854 Translated bj ALBERT FRIEDLANDER H. Ethical testaments, wall placards, and letters have a literary history among Jews going well back into the Middle Ages. This genre of literature is still found today among Jews. T h e following ethical letter was written by Benjamin M. Rot11 in Hechingen, Wuerttemberg, Germany, in 1854, just a century ago. I t was handed by him to his son Solomon Roth, prior to the d e p a ~ t u r e of the latter...»

«Page 1 of 7 OH BLIMEY, SO IT HAS COME TO THIS END, MY FELLOW CITIZENS? THIS IS A VERY SAD GOOD-BYE TO ALL, TILL WE MEET AGAIN! I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the tolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers. “Khalil Gibran”. The most harmful and evil of all human beings are jealousy, lies, malicious gossips and hatred. Therefore, the purpose my criticism of wrong doers was not to destroy the confidence, self-image of...»

«Department of Psychological Sciences Accomplishments, Awards, & Accolades April-July 2014 Dr. Andy Walters Named SBS Teacher of the Year & President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow Dr. Andy Walters was appointed as NAU’s sole President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow and named the SBS Teacher of the Year. For both awards, Dr. Walters was recognized for his tremendous commitment to undergraduate students: his outstanding teaching skills, both within the traditional classroom experience as...»

«Written Testimony of Jimmy Gurulé Professor of Law Notre Dame Law School Hearing Before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Washington, D.C. July 14, 2016 Written Testimony of Jimmy Gurulé Professor of Law Notre Dame Law School Hearing Before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice July 14, 2016 Chairman Franks, Ranking Member Cohen, and other distinguished members of the House Judiciary Committee,...»

«GCE History A Advanced GCE Unit F966/02: Historical Themes Option B: Modern 1789-1997 Mark Scheme for January 2011 Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA) is a leading UK awarding body, providing a wide range of qualifications to meet the needs of pupils of all ages and abilities. OCR qualifications include AS/A Levels, Diplomas, GCSEs, OCR Nationals, Functional Skills, Key Skills, Entry Level qualifications, NVQs and vocational qualifications in areas such as IT,...»

«5: GROUPING STUDENTS FOR INSTRUCTION EXECUTIVE SUMMARY RESEARCH FINDINGS Ability grouping has been found to have few benefits and many risks. When homogeneous and heterogeneous groups of students are taught identical curricula, there appear to be few advantages to homogeneous grouping in terms of academic achievement. More able students make greater academic progress when separated from their fellow students and given an accelerated course of study. Less able students who are segregated from...»

«Dear Parents, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Albany Creek State School. My name is Tina Mortensen and I am the Defence School Transition Aide (DSTA) for Albany Creek State School. (ACSS) As the DSTA I monitor the social, emotional and academic needs of Australian Defence Force children at ACSS. I assist students in class who may need additional support and ensure that they settle in once arriving at ACSS. There are limited DSTA positions located throughout Australia, so...»

«AP® Chinese Language and Culture Teacher’s Guide Miao-Fen Tseng 曾妙芬 University of Virginia, Charlottesville The College Board: Connecting Students to College Success The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the association is composed of more than 5,000 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations. Each year, the College Board serves seven million...»

«Jennifer L. Murdock Bishop jennifer.murdock@unco.edu Education Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision May 2007 University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY Dissertation Title: “Online versus on-campus basic skills course: A comparison of skills acquisition, course effectiveness, and learning community engagement”. Master of Arts in Education May 2000 Counseling Chadron State College, Chadron, NE Bachelor of Arts May 1998 Family and Consumer Sciences Housing/Interior Design and Fashion...»

<<  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.