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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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Global education in a multicultural school Hannele Cantell and Matti Cantell 51


51 Global education in a multicultural school Hannele Cantell and Matti Cantell Introduction Finland as a multicultural society It seems to be generally agreed that over the last several decades Finland has been transforming into an increasingly multicultural society. Generally this transformation has been related to demographic changes and the fact that Finland has turned into an immigration destination rather than a country of emi- gration. In debates related to the multi-ethnicisation of the Finnish society it is sometimes stated that there has been clan and tribal diversity within Finnish so- ciety for a long time (Huttunen, Löytty & Rastas, 2005, pp. 16–17). Also Finland’s linguistic and cultural diversity is often recalled (Leitzinger, 2008, pp. 297–310; Lepola, 2000, pp. 263–270). While these dominant remarks are appro- priate and necessary, they also reflect the homogenous nature of the dominant policy to build a culturally united Finnish nation-state during the twentieth cen- tury. It is often said that the background for Finnish nation building lies in the nineteenth-century’s romantic ideal of nationalism. Later on important instru- ments for unified national identity construction were the media and the educa- tional system. (Komulainen, 2001, pp. 40–43, 51; Oinonen, 2004.) The media and the school system are vital tools for building national identities even in the era of present information communication technology. National identities relate to a general understanding of us and them. Who are we and who are ‘they’? These questions are about belonging and about similarities and differences. From...

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