Special Issue "Teaching and Learning Interculturality in Education around the World: Anything New under the Sun?"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Teacher Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2023 | Viewed by 7263

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Fred Dervin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
Interests: intercultural and global education; teacher education; study abroad; language education; sociology of multiculturalism in education; education export
Prof. Dr. Agostino Portera
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Intercultural Studies, the University of Verona, 37129 Verona, Italy
Interests: immigration; identity; intercultural education; intercultural competence; intercultural counselling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since 2020, there have been signs that interculturality is increasingly in limbo in a world that has been claimed to be ‘global’. Racism, injustice, multifaceted phobias, ethnocentrism, and bashing of the fantasized other (among others) have surfaced more frequently on the streets, online, and in schools. Considering the large number of educational initiatives taken in education around the world over the past few decades to deal with, e.g., issues of diversity and social justice, intercultural encounters, global competence, and decoloniality, one has the right to ask if education is ready to support both teachers and students in their quest for interculturality today. This Special Issue asks simple and yet complex questions about interculturality in education: What do people teach in classrooms around the world and what do students really learn? What attempts are currently being made to make a difference? What seems to be working and why? The editors are interested in (long overdue) sincere and challenging evaluations of the ‘Westerncentric’ perspectives on interculturality that dominate education today (even the so-called ‘critical’ ones such as ‘non-essentialist’ approaches, ‘social justice’ and ‘democratic culture’). They also wish to attract contributions that offer alternative perspectives on teaching and learning, with reflections on political, ideological, and multilingual aspects of teaching and learning interculturality. Teacher preparation as well as teaching and learning about interculturality in higher education are especially of interest in this issue. The editors hope that the Special Issue will provide scholars and educators interested in interculturality in education from around the world with fresh ideas and perspectives.

NB: Although the editors put the focus on the notion of interculturality in this call, the door is open to scholars working on, e.g., multiculturality, transculturality, decoloniality, and globality in education. 

Prof. Dr. Fred Dervin
Prof. Dr. Agostino Portera
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • interculturality
  • global education
  • teaching–learning
  • critical thinking
  • decolonizing
  • teacher education and training
  • higher education

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Analysis of the Perceptions Shared by Young People about the Relevance and Versatility of Religion in Culturally Diverse Contexts
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(10), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12100667 - 30 Sep 2022
Viewed by 574
Abstract
This paper analyses the relevance of religion for adolescents in the realm of peer relationships, both within and outside of educational institutions. The sample consisted of 385 young individuals attending different Secondary Education institutions located in a Spanish province characterized by its cultural [...] Read more.
This paper analyses the relevance of religion for adolescents in the realm of peer relationships, both within and outside of educational institutions. The sample consisted of 385 young individuals attending different Secondary Education institutions located in a Spanish province characterized by its cultural diversity. The tool used to collect the information was the REDCo questionnaire. The results of the data analysis indicate that young people confer a certain relevance to religion on an internal and personal level, and that they attribute a historical value to it as a discipline. They also relate the versatility of religion to changing processes regarding beliefs and belonging to a religious community. Therefore, dialogue becomes the key tool for social cohesion in multicultural societies beyond mere tolerance, creating spaces for mutual transformation and generating a symmetrical relationship between the “Self” and the “Other”. Full article
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Article
Dealing with Moments of Crisis Interculturally in Educational Virtual Exchanges: A Sino–Finnish Case Study
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(9), 602; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12090602 - 05 Sep 2022
Viewed by 737
Abstract
Being able to deal with “moments of crisis” is crucial in intercultural communication. Using identities as an analytical lens, this paper examines different types of “moments of crisis” identified in educational virtual exchanges between Chinese and Finnish university students. The study shows that [...] Read more.
Being able to deal with “moments of crisis” is crucial in intercultural communication. Using identities as an analytical lens, this paper examines different types of “moments of crisis” identified in educational virtual exchanges between Chinese and Finnish university students. The study shows that the participants use soothing and code-switching as strategies in these moments of crisis to “do” interculturality, i.e., to achieve interactional arrangements (e.g., moving the discussion forward) and self-other alignments (e.g., saving face). Focusing on soothing as a positive strategy and code-switching as an avoidance strategy in dealing with “moments of crisis”, we also scrutinize the emergence of the identities of mediator, fence-sitter, and facilitator in the students’ behaviors. Finally, students’ working experience, language use, and physical surroundings are identified as having a potential influence on their use of soothing and code-switching during the online intercultural interactions. Recommendations for preparing students for international virtual exchanges conclude the paper. Full article
Article
Overcoming Essentialism? Students’ Reflections on Learning Intercultural Communication Online
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(9), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12090579 - 24 Aug 2022
Viewed by 944
Abstract
The fields of intercultural communication (IC) and intercultural education are in flux and the paradigmatic shift is away from essentialist approaches on culture and interculturality towards seeing IC and interculturality as flexible, fluid, contradictory, political, and ideological constructs. This study presents a virtual [...] Read more.
The fields of intercultural communication (IC) and intercultural education are in flux and the paradigmatic shift is away from essentialist approaches on culture and interculturality towards seeing IC and interculturality as flexible, fluid, contradictory, political, and ideological constructs. This study presents a virtual exchange project, a joint introductory course on IC between a Finnish university and a French university. One of the objectives of the course was to provide students with a more critical, non-essentialist perspective on interculturality. This study presents an analysis of 32 students’ texts (learning logs) that are processed qualitatively using content analysis to find answers to questions of (1) how students make sense of their experience of learning IC through multilingual online interactions, and (2) how different approaches on culture and interculturality are reflected in students’ leaning logs. The learning logs are written by participants during their six-week learning experience. The findings indicate that students gained confidence in interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and using multiple languages. How students reacted to and reflected on the more critical perspective on interculturality varied greatly, with many learning logs seeming to juggle between different approaches. The online environment was considered a major source of concern prior and at the beginning of the course, but as the course progressed it did not represent a barrier within the documented experiences. Our analysis aims to help teachers of IC to better address the needs of different learners. We also discuss the challenges and possibilities of a multilingual intercultural virtual exchange with a view to creating safe and motivating spaces for teaching and learning about interculturality. Full article
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Article
Insights into Teachers’ Intercultural and Global Competence within Multicultural Educational Settings
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(8), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12080502 - 22 Jul 2022
Viewed by 750
Abstract
As multicultural classrooms appear to be the norm nowadays, giving rise to new, more particular and targeted needs which must be accommodated, teachers now need to reflect on and adjust the strategies and practices they apply in order to meet the specific learning [...] Read more.
As multicultural classrooms appear to be the norm nowadays, giving rise to new, more particular and targeted needs which must be accommodated, teachers now need to reflect on and adjust the strategies and practices they apply in order to meet the specific learning needs of their intercultural classrooms. For this reason, teachers’ education should be re-examined, evaluated, and enriched. In this light, this original study uses a case study to explores the language views and attitudes of graduates of a Hellenic Open University Master’s international programme entitled “Language Education for Refugees and Migrants” (L.R.M.). The aim is to explore teachers’ level of intercultural competence and readiness as well as their global competences as future teachers in multilingual and multicultural settings after completing the programme. To do this, the study attempts to evaluate the programme through the lens of the personal experiences of the graduates in terms of successes, weaknesses, and strengths. To conduct the research, both quantitative and qualitative methods were applied in the form of a close-ended questionnaire and a semi-structured interview conducted in two different formats. The results indicate that the majority of the participants were confident enough to manage the challenges arising in multicultural settings after completing the program, as they felt they had developed appropriate Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes; however, a few among them still felt uncertain in doing this. In addition, a number of different approaches and methods were found to be appropriate as used for teachers’ training, while the importance of teachers’ intercultural training was highlighted. Full article
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Article
Teachers’ Global Perceptions and Views, Practices and Needs in Multicultural Settings
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(4), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12040280 - 13 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1078
Abstract
Multiculturalism and globalization are common traits of western societies, and affect the way people interact and communicate. In such a context, this study comes to investigate teachers’ perceptions, practices and needs towards global and intercultural competences. This study was designed and implemented in [...] Read more.
Multiculturalism and globalization are common traits of western societies, and affect the way people interact and communicate. In such a context, this study comes to investigate teachers’ perceptions, practices and needs towards global and intercultural competences. This study was designed and implemented in order to shed light on major issues which are associated with the context of global competences as an umbrella term, which arose during the researchers’ participation at an Erasmus plus European project. The research took place at the region of Attica and thirteen teachers (N = 13) of reception classes—Zones of Educational Priority (ZEP)—participated in the interview. A qualitative case study followed, focusing on a specific geographic region, and the semi-structured interview tool was used. The findings of the research indicate that educators do not feel certain about the differences between global and intercultural competences. However, they consider that these competences are of great importance and they recognize the contribution of schools to their development. Regarding their practices, they mostly refer to the dialogue and discussion techniques, the role playing, and the project-based teaching. Finally, participants consider that they are not sufficiently prepared to teach global and intercultural competences. Thus, participation in relevant training programs is important. Full article
Article
Developing Intercultural Mindedness through an Experiential Learning Activity—A Case Study from Singapore
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12030212 - 16 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2209
Abstract
Recent incidents of alleged racism worldwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic have challenged us to ponder on the meaning and importance of intercultural education. However, it can be difficult to understand the ways in which intercultural discourse can be beneficial for learning, as well [...] Read more.
Recent incidents of alleged racism worldwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic have challenged us to ponder on the meaning and importance of intercultural education. However, it can be difficult to understand the ways in which intercultural discourse can be beneficial for learning, as well as prepare young people to act against racism and inequalities to work towards a more sustainable future. This study presents analysis of learning materials from a case study conducted in one secondary school in Singapore. The objective of the activity is for students to engage in intercultural learning by participating in walking trails with different themes in a few neighborhoods, to learn more about the history of and life in multiracial Singapore. Researchers followed and observed the two-day event and collected data from the students. Specifically, written reflections from a trail named Many Races—One Nation were collected from the students, as well as their reflective posters at the end of the event. The content analysis of these artefacts concentrates on the meanings and ideologies underlying intercultural learning through an examination of the learning materials and the students’ responses. Furthermore, this study introduces an intercultural mindedness framework that transcends the conflict avoidance approach for deeper learning. Full article
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