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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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Teachers’ intercultural competence and education for global responsibility Rauni Räsänen 29

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29 Teachers’ intercultural competence and education for global responsibility Rauni Räsänen Introduction Diversity and change are often said to describe present-day societies. In addi- tion, these societies have become more and more interrelated and affected by global transformations. To further complicate things, many present trends, both local and global, seem paradoxical, and the discourses and actions contradic- tory. On the one hand, we experience the unifying effects of globalisation, but at the same time diversity and the value of local cultures are emphasised. Post- modern times are described as constituting an era that celebrates diversity and a variety of identities. Even so, free markets and neoliberalism seem to be the driving forces in many discussions and decisions, and transnational mass cul- tures overrun minority cultures and ways of life. The same paradoxes can be seen in values and ethics. Equality, human rights and peace are recognised as central values and aims in international rela- tions and social policies (including education), yet at the same time social ineq- uity within nations has increased rather than decreased, and conflicts and hu- man rights violations at both local and global levels persist. This makes it chal- lenging to navigate amidst of the changes, and to negotiate value bases and ethical principles. It is particularly challenging for the teacher, who is not only responsible for his/her own choices but is in a position to prepare new genera- tions and the excepted transformations there in future society. (Räsänen, 2007a, p. 18...

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