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Dialogs on Diversity and Global Education

Edited By Mirja-Tytti Talib, Jyrki Loima, Heini Paavola and Sanna Patrikainen

Intercultural and ethical issues are part of our daily lives. They share characteristics that make them particularly sensitive and sometimes volatile. The challenges that increasing diversity brings into education and schools in general are many as can be seen in this volume, for instance, in the Scandinavian countries, Estonia, United States, Canada, Japan and China. There are conflicting interpretations of multiculturalism and interculturalism. Culture plays a key role in different interpretations: North America is more tuned into hybrid aspects of students’ identities, while in many European countries ethnicity still dominates the discussion. Good teachers make a difference. They have an understanding of the socio-political context of education as well as intercultural competence. The essays in this book portray multicultural, intercultural, and global as well as theoretical and practical approaches to diversity and education.

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Dialogs on diversity and global education 7

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7 Dialogs on diversity and global education Introduction What is diversity? How should diversity be addressed in a global world and how is it affecting education? The challenges that increasing diversity brings into the realm of global education and schools are many, as can be seen in this volume, for instance, in the Scandinavian countries, Estonia, United States, Canada, Ja- pan and China. There are conflicting interpretations of culture, multiculturalism or interculturalism in the following chapters. Most of the interpretation must be understood as territorial and also fairly ethno-nationalistic. We are trying to un- derstand the differences by reflecting upon the complexity of diversity via global, cultural and individual circles. Global diversity can be understood as the existence of unions, states, people, nations, myths and beliefs. In cultural sense, diversity has the same global dimensions but they are often separated from relig- ion, cultural traditions—or the lack of those—habits, customs, invisible behav- ioural and social borders, and also local majority vs. minority positions. Individual diversity is present everywhere, but at times may also be a source of confusion and unanswered questions such as ’who am I’ or ‘where do I belong’. However, even if identities are dialogically constructed and there are more repertoires available, Appiah (1994) reminds us that we simply cannot make up any identity we choose. We create our identities from a tool kit of op- tions made available by our culture and society. We can and do make choices, but we do not determine the...

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