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Riesmann (2004) makes the distinction between thematic analysis (what is told) and structural analysis (how it is told). I have been interested in the contents and my analysis can thus be called thematic. On the basis of this analysis, I have written plotted summaries on each of the research subjects’ experiences. The following example introduces a small part of the summary of one of the research subjects’ life stories.

Anne was born in a little village in Southern Finland and she describes her childhood living environment being ethnically rather monocultural. However, she mentions that she had friends and their family had neighbours from various social classes and religious groups. She thinks that she was aware of the differences, but for children, they were usually rather meaningless as everyone could still play the same games (diversity being natural for children). Anne thinks that her parents were very open towards diversity, especially her father. Anna’s parents had divorced and she mainly lived with her mother. Before Anne was born, her father had lived and worked abroad many years. Anna thinks that her father’s stories of living abroad had affected her interest in different cultures (interest in other cultures). She also said that her father had always encouraged her to learn languages and emphasized the signifi cance of learning languages (motivation to learn languages). Because Anne’s parents were politically active, societal and also global issues were discussed a lot at home and Anne also became interested in those issues when she was rather young (interest in societal and political issues).

Anne feels that she already had a strong sense of justice when she was a child and she tells stories about her primary school time when she tried to question her teacher’s action, which she considered to be unfair (acting for her values)… After comparing the summaries of each teacher’s story and having looked for similarities and differences, I discovered that in Article number IV, I wanted to focus on the meaning of significant others as it seemed to be so crucial in teachers’ stories. That is why, in the following stage of the data analysis I started to look for who were the significant others in teachers’ stories (shown as bolded in the example) and their significance for teachers’ intercultural learning (shown in brackets as bolded). After doing this same for all summaries, I started to look for similarities and differences and finally got three different categories describing the meaning of significant others for teachers’ intercultural learning. These categories are discussed in Chapter 5.3.

In narrative analysis, the main focus is the production of a new narrative on the basis of the narratives of the data. The aim in this type of analysis is the production or reconstruction of a complete and plot-filled, chronologically proceeding story (Polkinghorne, 1995, p. 15). I have applied this analysis method in Article V. When starting the data analysis for that article, I first utilised the summaries that I had written for Article IV and selected the three different life stories among them. The analysis in that article can also be considered abductive because the perception of intercultural learning as a variety of processes that arose from the data based analysis were illuminated by different learning theories as well. In that article I also looked for certain ‘threads’ in each story, that is, whether there were themes or ideas that appear repeatedly in various stages of the life story (cf. Lieblich et al., 1998). The themes that I have found have been synthesized in three rewritten life stories on intercultural learning, presented in narrative and plotted form.

4 Overview of the articles In this part of the summary the main contents of each article will be briefly described and discussed. Articles I and II analyse intercultural competence. Article III is about interculturally oriented teachership and Articles IV and V focus on intercultural learning and its conditions.

4.1 Article I:

Jokikokko, K. (2005). Perspectives to intercultural competence. In R. Räsänen & J. San (Eds.), Conditions for intercultural learning and co-operation (pp. 89– 106). Research in Educational Sciences 23. Turku: Finnish Educational Research Association.

This article is theoretical and includes only some references to my empirical data.

The article discusses the aims of intercultural learning by exploring the concept of intercultural competence. The article starts by justifying why everyone needs intercultural competence in today’s society and world. It then continues by defining the various concepts used to describe those skills and abilities that we need in intercultural encounters. In the article, the fact that intercultural competence may be a problematic term is also acknowledged and goes on to explain why it is, nevertheless, used in this study. The article also discusses various approaches to intercultural competence and introduces the common way to describe intercultural competence by dividing it into certain sectors, such as cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions.

In Article I, I have constructed a model of intercultural competence for educational contexts on the basis of existing models and ideas on the dimensions of intercultural competence (Kealey, 1990; Lustig & Koester, 1996; Sue & Arrondondo & McDavies, 1992; Talib, 2005; Taylor, 1998). These views have reflected the ideas of multicultural educators concerning the conditions of multicultural education and multicultural society (Banks, 1989, 1999; Nieto, 1996; Noel, 1994; Räsänen, 2002;

Talib, 2002). To emphasize the notion of active work for equality, the ideas of critical pedagogy have been added to the model (Freire, 1972, 1994; Giroux & McLaren, 2001). The overlapping dimensions that are presented in the model are attitudes, knowledge and awareness, skills and action. The article emphasizes that intercultural competence requires an ethical basis, which is also part of the model.

The model is introduced as one of the results of this study in more detail in Chapter

5.1. As this model is a general one and each professional context partly demands its own special competence, the article also introduces examples of intercultural competence in different professional educational contexts.

In the discussion part of the article, it is argued that although the model with various dimensions of intercultural competence opens up some perspectives to the concept of intercultural competence and may help us to understand its versatile nature, it also raises certain issues and questions. The article concludes by stating that, at best, intercultural competence is an approach or even a philosophy that guides a person’s thinking and acting and thus affects a person as a whole. However, many practical skills are also needed when encountering diversity and there are situations where attitude or even philosophy is not enough if practical skills and knowledge are lacking.

4.2 Article II:

Jokikokko, K. (2005). Interculturally trained Finnish teachers’ conceptions of diversity and Intercultural competence. Journal of Intercultural Education, 16(2) 69–83.

This article discusses former ITE students’ conceptions of diversity and intercultural competence. When the data was collected for this article, the teachers were quite newly graduated and had been working for about two years after graduation. In the introduction chapter of the article, Finland is introduced as a multicultural context and the concepts of diversity and intercultural competence are discussed. The data of the article consist of ten theme-specific interviews and open-ended questionnaires (15). The data were analysed phenomenographically. As intercultural competence is needed for encountering diversity in a positive way, the first research task was to find out how teachers conceptualise the diversity that they perceive in their work. On

the basis of the analysis, teachers’ conceptions were divided into three categories:

visible diversity, invisible diversity and diversity as individual and personal differences. The fist category refers to those conceptions that connect diversity, first of all, to very visible differences such as nationality, ethnicity, language or race. Visible diversity often refers to those things that cannot be changed and that are external; things that can be immediately seen and heard. In these conceptions, differences were usually described in relation to ‘normal’ Finnish culture. Invisible diversity refers to those differences that are not immediately noticed or considered, e.g., family history, sexual orientation, political opinion, learning style and so on.

The third category, ‘diversity as individual and personal differences’, emphasized the idea that differences are not due to belonging to a certain group or culture but that it is important to see everyone as an individual. The article also includes a chapter on diversity that was not perceived. It was surprising that some differences, which can be considered rather obvious in the Finnish classrooms, were not recognised or mentioned. These include gender and Finnish religious minorities.

The other research task of the article was to find out how teachers conceptualise the intercultural competence that is needed in their work. Conceptions of intercultural competence in the article are divided into: a) ethical orientation,

b) efficiency orientation, and c) pedagogical orientation. To conclude, the analysis of conceptions of intercultural competence supports the idea of intercultural competence being less related to specific skills and knowledge, but more of a holistic approach to issues. However, although teachers’ ethics is stressed as an essential part of intercultural competence in the article, it is evident that the importance of more practical pedagogical skills in intercultural contexts cannot be underestimated either.

4.3 Article III:

Jokikokko, K. (2005). Refl ections on interculturally oriented teachership. In R.

Räsänen & J. San (Eds.), Conditions for intercultural learning and co-operation (pp. 183–206). Research in Educational Sciences 23. Turku: Finnish Educational Research Association.

This article examines the teachers’ stories that describe their reflections on being a teacher in multicultural educational contexts. The aim of the article is to find out what teachers have learnt through experiencing diversity and how these experiences have affected their teacher identity. The research questions for the article are: 1) What kind of diversity do the teachers impart on encountering diversity? 2) What do teachers reflect concerning learning experiences on encountering diversity?

and 3) According to the teachers’ stories, how have the experiences of diversity affected and modified their sense of teachership? The data in this article are the same as in the previous article, but in this article the data are approached from the perspective of narrative research. The article begins by defining teacher’s profession and professional development from the perspective of intercultural and critical pedagogy. It argues that a teacher’s role in a multicultural classroom should be that of a ‘reflective practitioner’ and the relation between education and culture ought to be one of the central aspects in the reflection. The importance of reflection in the process of teachers’ intercultural learning is also discussed in the article.

The findings of the article consist of stories on being a teacher in a

multicultural environment. These stories are categorised under four headings:

The first category, ‘stories on being a differing teacher’, discusses those stories where teachers constructed their identity and teachership through differences compared to ‘ordinary’ teachers. The second category, ‘stories on the reflection of ethical questions’, examines those ethical reflections, dilemmas and challenges that teachers faced when working with a diverse range of students, colleagues and parents. The third category, ‘stories about diversity as a resource and a possibility to learn’, describes teachers’ ideas and attitudes towards diversity as a source of positive change. The final category, ‘stories of courage and social action’, includes reflections on the need to act for more equal practices in school and society. These findings are discussed more in Chapter 5.3 of this summary.

The article concludes by suggesting that teachers’ stories mediate the idea that constructing an interculturally oriented teacher’s identity is a constant negotiation process. Interculturally oriented teachers are not merely the mediators of dominant traditional values and procedures, they actively question and reflect their own actions, as well as that of others both on individual and structural levels. The article also points out the methodological challenge that arises when we deal with different levels of teachers’ reflection. While it is relatively easy to recognise ‘reflection’ and even ‘critical reflection’ in the data, it is much more difficult to evaluate the ‘critical self-reflection’ that would lead to perspective transformation.

4.4 Article IV:

Jokikokko, K. (2009). The role of significant others in the intercultural learning of teachers. Journal of Research in International Education. Vol 8(2) 143–164.

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