Intercultural Education

Published by Taylor & Francis

Online ISSN: 1469-8439


Print ISSN: 1467-5986


The relationship between personality and well-being during societal change
  • Article

July 2005


179 Reads


Horia Pitariu
This study investigates the relationships between the Big Five personality dimensions and well-being outcomes during the societal transition in Romania. The California Psychological Inventory, the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire, and well-being measures were administered to 290 Romanian engineers. The Big Five personality dimensions were derived by means of factor analysis with the personality questionnaires. The results confirmed that job satisfaction was negatively related to neuroticism and was positively related to conscientiousness, and that depression and somatic complaints were negatively related to extraversion and were positively related to neuroticism. Unexpectedly, job satisfaction was positively related to openness to experience, and depression and somatic complaints were negatively related to openness to experience and were positively related to agreeableness. We concluded that most of the relationships between personality and well-being outcomes found in Western countries were confirmed in an East-European country and that differences in the relationships can be explained by cultural–societal factors.

Estonian teachers in the late 1990s: Their willingness and preparedness for work in a multicultural classroom

April 2000


62 Reads

Intercultural education is a multidimensional process. Until now, the notion has been understood in Estonia as a process of integrating non-Estonian children, usually of Russian origin, into Estonian society and providing them with the education necessary for success in Estonian society. Actually, this interpretation is just a part of intercultural education. Another issue in intercultural education, and obviously an even more essential issue, is educating all children to be prepared for life in a pluralistic society containing many cultures, peoples, religions and views. This includes teaching people to be tolerant towards cultures that are different from their own. Considering the fact that Estonia is endeavoring to become a member of the European Union, this is one of the most pressing questions in Estonia's contemporary educational policies. This paper is about recent processes in Estonian education, with a special emphasis on training teachers for work in multicultural classrooms. It offers a survey of recent research on the content and prospects of intercultural education in Estonia. The results of three research projects are also presented: (1) the prospects of education in foreign languages in Estonia, as seen by non-Estonian students, parents and teachers; (2) the willingness and readiness of students in teacher training to work in multicultural classrooms; (3) experiences from a course called Intercultural Education at Tartu University, and the opinions and attitudes of the students taking the course. Paljukultuuriline haridus on mitmemootmeline protsess. Eestis oleme me tanaseni moistnud selle all mitteeestlaste, eelkoige vene opilaste integreerimist Eesti uhiskonda ja neile toimetulekuhariduse andmist. Tegelikult on see mitmekultuurilise hariduse uks osa. Teine ja olulisemgi, on koigi opilaste kasvatamine ja ettevalmistamine elamaks kultuuriliselt, rahvuseliselt, religiooniliselt jne. pluralistlikus uhiskonnas. See on tolerantsuse kasvatamine teiste kultuuride suhtes. Euroopa Liitu kaasamisprotsessi taustal on see uks aktuaalsemaid kusimusi Eesti hariduspoliitikas. Kaesolevas artiklis vaadeldakse protsesse, mis on toimunud viimastel aastatel Eesti hariduses rohuasetusega opetajate ettevalmistamisele tootamaks paljukultuurilises klassiruumis. Kokku on voetud paari viimase aasta uurimuste tulemused mitmekultuurilise hariduse sisu ja perspektiivide kohta Eestis. Autorid tutvustavad peamiselt kolme uurimisprojekti tulemusi: (1) muukeelse hariduse tulevikuperspektiivid vahemustest opilaste, lastevanemate ja opetajate hinnanguil; (2) tulevaste opetajate ootused ja valmisolek tootamaks multikultuurilises klassiruumis; (3) Mitmekultuurilise hariduse kursuse opetamise kogemus ning Tartu Ulikooli uliopilaste hinnangud ja suhtumine antud temaatikasse.

Trajectories of adjustment of international students: U‐curve, learning curve, or Third Space 1
  • Article
  • Full-text available

March 2006


271 Reads

International students may need to adapt their approaches to learning and their views of themselves as learners in their new situation. The research reported on in this paper concerns a pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course for international students entering Higher Education in the UK—mostly Masters students entering a Business School—having a focus on assisting change rather than addressing deficit. Theories of cultural adaptation—U-curve and learning curve—are discussed in the light of theories of place and space taken from phenomenological geography, and of identity and `third space' taken from cultural studies. The seminar—as this is understood in UK Higher Education—is described as an existential space, and reflective accounts of international students are analysed to see how these narratives both record and create their varying feelings of identifying with the epistemological requirements of seminars. The conclusions drawn are that interventions should be designed to encourage reflective learning, should accept that hybridity rather than complete acculturation is the most likely result, and that synergy—combining elements of different epistemologies—could become a target for all universities.

Reformulation as a strategy for managing 'understanding uncertainty' in office hour interactions between international teaching assistants and American college students

June 2008


103 Reads

This article provides a discourse analysis of problematic communication in office hour interactions between international teaching assistants and American college students. The goal of the article is to explicate what is termed here as 'understanding uncertainty', something which has received little attention in existing studies. The data under consideration consist of a number of dyadic interactions that naturally occurred during office hours. The data analyses revealed that the type of understanding uncertainty as defined here was displayed and managed in six types of reformulations. The findings suggest that reformulation may be used as an interactive strategy to achieve mutual understanding across linguistic and sociocultural boundaries in educational contexts.

Integrating ICT and multicultural aspects within a classroom: the SAIL project

October 2005


36 Reads

The implementation of technology in the primary school sector during the last few years has resulted in issues being raised relating to teachers' knowledge of technology and their propensities for incorporating ICT into an already packed curriculum. Teachers in Malta were faced with challenges to their various teaching professional knowledge and to their prior and developing understanding of the conceptual and procedural aspects of technology. SAIL provided opportunities for teachers to develop their understandings of minorities in Europe within a community of teachers, while at the same time promoting technology both as a process and a product.

Intercultural Education in Europe: Epistemological and Semantic Aspects

December 2008


611 Reads

This article analyses the role of educational opportunity in a time of globalisation, a new economy and life in a multicultural society, and gives an epistemological and semantic account of the concept 'intercultural education', distinguishing it from multicultural and transcultural education. Starting with a historic overview of various conceptualisations of meetings/clashes among people with different linguistic, religious, cultural or ethnic features, distinctive theoretical elaborations are reviewed, above all in a European context and in the educational field. After outlining the development of intercultural education (main contents, methods and objectives, as well as limits), this article supports the thesis that education, in an intercultural sense, is currently the most appropriate answer to globalisation and interdependence.

Siege Cultures and the Mythology of Nationhood: The implications for the maturation of education systems

April 2001


224 Reads

This paper examines the notion of a siege culture in which a self-defined minority community comes to perceive itself as being under threat from the dominant group within the society in which it is located and, as a response, has developed a conservative ideology based upon a mythologised collectivity. Siege cultures will tend to manifest themselves in ethnocentric terms and may frequently incorporate anachronistic perspectives on social divisions. Siege cultures may therefore be said to be in a state of continual production and reproduction-indeed, of re-invention-and require the support of educational institutions organised along separatist lines. Inevitably, this will have ramifications for national education systems, which may need to respond to the pressures resulting from resistance from such cultures to the hegemony of the dominant group. Except where the central state is strong and is able to subordinate the demands of minority communities through the process of de-legitimisation or through expulsion, there will be a tendency towards unresolved tensions, conflicts and contradictions. A possible explanatory framework for this phenomenon may be derived from the metaphor of social maturation in which societies fail to change sufficiently to meet the demands of legitimate constituencies and thus inhibit the development of a properly functioning social system. This may suggest a paradigm drawn from modernist, positivistic or even Marxist traditions, and that while current trends, as viewed cross-nationally, seem to point to the rise of “ethnicism”, we should be alerted to the dangers of separatist schooling which reinforces the ethnocentrism of some minority communities.

Religious control of schooling in England: diversity and division

August 2008


37 Reads

Britain is a multicultural, multifaith and multiracial society overlaid by white institutional racism. The race riots in the northern cities of England in 2001 and in 2005 signal that social and ethnic divisions are prominent. This article considers the state schooling in England and the role which state-funded faith schools play in government policy to promote diversity in education. It is suggested that the divisive nature of education in Britain is borne of religious beliefs and the relationship of the State to the established Church. Given the decline in the church-going population, it might be anticipated that the interest in state-funded religious education would decline. However, recent government policy has been designed to promote their increase and the number of faith schools has grown. The article is written from the perspective of a liberal theory of education: that all children should have the opportunity to grow into autonomous thinking adults and to which religious proselytizing is a barrier. It is argued that, in the interests of social cohesion, instead of providing a diversity of schools, state education should provide inclusive schools which provide for the diversity of society within it. This is not a balanced review of the advantages and disadvantages of faith schools, which has already been undertaken (Jackson 2003. British Journal of Religious Education 25, no. 2: 89-102; Cush, D. 2003. Religious Education (PCfRE) 25, no. 2: 10-15). Rather, it is intended to contribute to and to strengthen the critical opposition to what is currently a powerful movement at both state and community levels.

Greenland: Education and society between tradition and innovation

November 2000


53 Reads

In this article I discuss the history, the demographics, and the educational landscape of Greenland. During the past hundred years the Greenlandic educational system has gone through multiple changes. The most significant are discussed here. The main developments have always dealt with the schism that exists between European (Danish) culture and the indigenous (Inuit) culture. More and more a balance is being reached between the two, as it is in the educational realm, but with an emphasis on the indigenous culture and traditions.

Cutting edge practices to teach multicultural competencies in counseling, psychology, and education: teaching abroad or on campus?

May 2014


62 Reads

This manuscript provides the results of a comparative study conducted in the USA with counseling, psychology, and education graduate students in which multicultural competencies were taught using the traditional on-campus and international study abroad course formats. Data were collected via the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale, a 45-item self-report of openness towards diverse clients, along with qualitative analysis of two permanent products: cultural activity paper (framed as analysis of cultural interactions) and Reaction Journal (an open-ended reflection on the content of class lectures, readings, presentations, and discussions). A total of 29 graduate students from diverse backgrounds were sampled through two semesters. The results revealed that compared to peers taught via the traditional on-campus format, students enrolled in the international study abroad course reported more willingness to learn and interact with diverse populations. Further, these students evidenced more growth relative to empathy towards diverse clientele, insight into cultural viewpoints, as well as a deeper understanding of their own cultural biases. The manuscript provides the study results; a brief overview of how the international study abroad and the on-campus courses were taught and organized, along with the pros and cons of each course format. It also offers a list of recommendations for the professions of counseling, psychology, and education in terms of the cutting edge practices relative to implementation, instruction, and delivery of multicultural competencies.

Everybody has a story: storytelling as a community building exploration of equity and access

April 2014


151 Reads

Utilizing the voices of students in an undergraduate teacher preparation program, this article describes the use of a collaborative storytelling experience. Situated within the context of cooperative base groups, this collaborative storytelling has been designed to help pre-service teachers examine their own experiences in school in an effort to broaden their perspectives and begin to understand the classroom as a complex social and cultural system. The storytelling serves as a foundation for learning the knowledge and skills and acquiring the dispositions necessary to utilize cooperative learning as a core pedagogical orientation.

Cooperative learning in a Hong Kong primary school: perceptions, problems and accommodation

June 2014


256 Reads

Some educators may see cooperative learning as a Western pedagogy that is difficult to use in Eastern countries with a Confucian Heritage, while others argue that the philosophy of Confucius parallels the elements of cooperative learning. This article reports the key findings of a 2-year longitudinal study that investigated the perceptions of cooperative learning and pupils’ problems with cooperative learning in a Hong Kong primary school. A school-based staff development programme was conducted to help teachers prepare students for using cooperative learning in their classes. Pupils were interviewed at various stages of the study, and classroom observations were conducted to see how they worked in cooperative groups in the core subjects. The results showed that pupils’ perceptions of cooperative learning were generally positive though they encountered some problems in working together. The results are discussed with reference to the influence of Confucian heritage culture on pupils’ perceptions of CL, and recommendations are made for accommodating cooperative learning accordingly.

Acculturation and school success: A study among minority youth in the Netherlands

March 2002


612 Reads

In this study, we examine the school performance and school adjustment of youth from three different minority groups: Turkish and Moroccan labor migrants, and Christian-Turkish refugees. We compare these groups with their native Dutch peers in secondary school settings. The aim of the study was to test cultural explanations of ethnic differences in success and well-being in school. Acculturation attitudes were a central focus in the study and were viewed as a possible explanatory ground for ethnic diversity in educational profiles. With regard to school adjustment, our findings suggest highly selective acculturation effects for specific ethnic groups in specific contexts (home vs. school). We found that acculturation effects are highly context-dependent.

‘They drag my marks down!’ – challenges faced by lecturers in the allocation of marks for multicultural group projects

June 2014


246 Reads

Our university hosts a diverse student cohort and, in certain discipline areas, international students and domestic students whose first language is not English outnumber their English-speaking peers. On the whole, group projects with these cohorts are challenging, and in particular, the allocation of marks is fraught with difficulty. Awarding the same mark to all group members is often viewed as unfair, and resented by those who feel either disadvantaged or exploited by group members they view as less able or less willing to share the workload. However, the allocation of individual marks to group members is equally difficult and elicits the same cries of injustice. In this study, 165 first-year university students were surveyed before and after the completion of assessed group projects in their different discipline areas. The findings reveal that students wanted some say into how marks were allocated and that students’ attitudes towards the allocation of group marks differed, depending on whether they were first- or second-language speakers of English. In this article, we explore the reasons for these differences and discuss the future of this vexed assessment model.

This is American get Punished': Unpacking Narratives of Southeast Asian Refugees

March 2005


215 Reads

This paper explores acculturative experiences and perceptions of Southeast Asian refugees residing in the Midwestern US through analysis of oral history narratives of Southeast Asian refugees representing the countries and/or cultures of Burma, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. Through this paper, I seek to add to the sparse research base on Southeast Asians residing in the US, to shed light on the experiences of young refugees' attempts to negotiate identities in the host society, and to inform educators and others who work with refugee populations.

A Comparative Study of Conflicts Experienced Between Immigrant Parents in Canada and in Israel and Professionals in Educational Institutions about Appropriate Responses to Children's Misbehavior

December 2003


87 Reads

One of the barriers which immigrant parents may encounter in the process of acculturation into their new country is differing expectations about ways in which teachers and other professionals involved in the educational system should relate to their children's misbehavior. To examine the potential sources of conflicts relating to disciplinary measures, a comparative study utilizing a qualitative methodology was conducted with 65 immigrant parents from Latin America in Canada and with 103 immigrant parents from the Former Soviet Union in Israel. The findings indicate that, in the two samples, participants experienced differences between their expectations about the way in which teachers should handle student misbehavior and the actual behavior of the teachers. The differences which the immigrant parents indicated could be characterized primarily as culturally based disagreements about (a) the types of misbehaviors which justify intervention by teachers, (b) the kind of disciplinary measures which should be used, (c) the factors that should be considered when deciding about disciplinary actions, and (d) the lack of sensitivity to the impact of immigration related difficulties on the behavior of children. The immigrants' current expectations of teachers' behavior was based on their experiences in their country of origin, and these were often in contradiction with the common approach in Canada and Israel. Ways of developing reciprocal channels of communication between professionals in schools and kindergartens and immigrant parents are suggested in order to overcome barriers and bridge gaps in communication.

Figure 1. 
Figure 1. Illustration from Vietnamese textbooks (Tran Thi Van Anh, 2002): girls do housework; boys do important things (the father is teaching his sons about the power of sibling cooperation) 
Figure 2. 
Figure 2. The dimensions of group learning 
Culturally appropriate pedagogy: The case of group learning in a Confucian Heritage Culture context

March 2006


1,331 Reads

Cultural heritage preservation has become a much-debated topic in recent decades. This paper contributes to the call for educational approaches that take a society’s cultural diversity into account. It also attempts to draw attention to non-Western societies, where educational theories and practices from elsewhere (the West) have been imported and applied without proper consideration for the host culture’s heritage. To illustrate the intricacy of developing such a culturally appropriate pedagogy, a case study of using group learning strategies in a Confucian Heritage Cultural context is introduced, which closely examines both educational and cultural issues. The results of this examination reveal a complex web of cultural conflicts and mismatches that are likely to happen when a Western educational methodology is applied in another context without rigorous adaptation to improve compatibility with the host culture.

Some issues for cooperative learning and intercultural education: reflections on aspects of the recent work of Jagdish Gundara

June 2014


265 Reads

This paper connects the two fields of cooperative learning and intercultural education, focusing on the argument that cooperative learning strategies need to be equipped with intercultural understandings. There is a consideration of assumptions that effective cooperative pedagogical strategies require an engagement with challenging issues related to learners and to the structure of curricular content. The two key points raised here are that: (a) issues of competitiveness amongst learners and students must be dealt with directly rather than treating them from the sidelines or by ignoring them; and (b) for learning to take place in a truly cooperative manner, there must be an emphasis on an intercultural focus within the curriculum where the content of knowledge within the curriculum needs to be non-centric. This paper examines the view that cooperative learning strategies are effective when the curricular knowledge taught in the school is drawn from all groups, whether such groups have dominant, subordinate or minority status.

How the Group Investigation model and the Six-Mirror model changed teachers’ roles and teachers’ and students’ attitudes towards diversity

June 2014


97 Reads

This paper is based on research that demonstrates the positive effects of the cooperative learning model Group Investigation (GI) and the Six-Mirror model on teacher effectiveness in organizing and scaffolding CL activities, and changing students’ and teachers’ views of diversity. We explain how the connection between the two models leads to specific changes in the teachers’ role and approach to implementing GI, which in turn lead to significant changes in students’ and teachers’ attitudes and points of view about cooperative learning and diversity, as revealed in teacher interviews.

Leaving Home Behind: Learning to Negotiate Borderlands in the Classroom

September 2004


24 Reads

Multicultural, feminist and postmodern theorists generally concur that knowledge is socially constructed and that education becomes more effective and democratic when curriculum and instruction are modified to reflect this fact. Much of the knowledge students encounter within schools, however, is presented as though it were discovered, objective and universal. This paper asserts the need to engage students in critically interrogating the knowledge that they encounter within the classroom in order to acquaint them with the unsettling prospect that all knowledge is partial and contingent. It also, however, identifies powerful institutional and psychological forces mitigating against this project and posits a form of resistance quite unlike that typically encountered in critical theory--a resistance borne not out of the perceived irrelevance of school knowledge but out of students' emotional and intellectual investment in the knowledge traditions in which they are situated. "Caring" and "distancing" are presented as two pedagogical strategies for overcoming this resistance.

Student Perceptions of Diversity on a College Campus: Scratching the Surface to Find More

January 2006


274 Reads

American universities have made efforts in the past to create a more diverse student population, and this diversity has been linked to strategic benefits for both students and society. However, little research has examined students' perspectives on these issues. In an attempt to address this issue, this paper reports an exploratory research using focus groups to examine students' thoughts about diversity and its place on an American college campus. Student from communications classes at a large Southeastern university were invited to take part in the focus group sessions. The focus group data were transcribed and analyzed thematically, meaning each transcript was compared with the others on a continuous basis. The data suggest that college students, no matter what their background, generally view diversity as something positive. Furthermore, this research suggests that more than 40 years after the beginning of Affirmative Action initiatives in the US, the diversity discussion is still ongoing. The college students who participated in these focus groups agreed that discussions of the topic are necessary even if they do not lead to change. They believed as long as the topic was spoken about some good would come of it. Thus, this research represents an exploratory examination of what students think about diversity initiatives at one institution. It gives voice to an important perspective on diversity--the student voice. And it also demonstrates an area rich for future research--student perspectives regarding diversity, multicultural education, inclusiveness and globalization.

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