Edited By Mirja-Tytti Talib, Jyrki Loima, Heini Paavola and Sanna Patrikainen
Finnish and Japanese pre-service teachers’ preparedness for diversity Mirja Talib and Sari Hosoya 85
85 Finnish and Japanese pre-service teachers’ preparedness for diversity Mirja-Tytti Talib and Sari Hosoya Introduction In the PISA international academic achievement surveys Finnish students per- formed very well in the years 2000, 2003, and 2006. Japanese students likewise performed well, although they were somewhat lower than the Finns. In both countries education is valued as an avenue for attaining social status and among the young teaching is still considered a desirable profession. Owing to increas- ing cultural diversity, most of us face intercultural challenges every day. For a long time Japan and Finland have each been fairly homogeneous and mono- cultural societies. Now Finland has accepted a small number of immigrants (2.2 percent of the population in 2006), while the percentage of foreign residents in Japan is even less (1.7 percent in 2008). In order to work effectively in a diverse society, teachers need intercultural competence. Therefore, when discussing ex- cellence in education, we cannot ignore the cultural values of a given society that affect teachers’ values and teaching attitudes. This study investigates pre- service teachers’ preparedness to teach in a diverse classroom. We focus on the attitudes, intercultural sensibility and values of teachers. Historical overview, emigration and immigration Japan Due to its insular geographic location, Japan has remained homogeneous for a long period of time. Japan closed its doors to foreign countries from 1630s to 1867 during the Edo period in order to prohibit Christianity and to control trad- ing. When the modern Meiji period started in 1868, Japan...
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