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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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Multicultural education and intercultural education: Is there a difference Gunilla Holm and Harriet Zilliacus 11


11 Multicultural education and intercultural education: Is there a difference Gunilla Holm and Harriet Zilliacus Introduction Multicultural and intercultural education has been much discussed and re- searched for quite some time. Multicultural education and intercultural educa- tion are often used as synonyms (Nieto, 2006; Hill, 2007), while others indicate that there is a difference between the two. In the multicultural and intercultural literature it is often unclear what the concepts mean and whether they are refer- ring to the same or different things. Often the difference in use seems mostly geographical. In Europe the preferred term is intercultural education while espe- cially the United States but also the rest of North America, Australia and Asia use the term multicultural education (Hill, 2007; Leeman & Reid, 2006). How- ever, in Europe there are differences between countries as well. For example, in Sweden and the Netherlands intercultural education is used while in Great Brit- ain and Finland multicultural education is the commonly used term. Interest- ingly multicultural and intercultural education are often used as if the terms are universally understood and referring to only one type of education. As can be seen in Sleeter and Grant (2003) multicultural education can take many different directions. Likewise intercultural education is sometimes mostly focused on in- tercultural relations but at other times more structural issues are part of the fo- cus. We first discuss the origins and developments of the two approaches in Europe and the U.S. We then analyze the two in relation to each...

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