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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 teaching in Manitoba (Canada), Norway and Iceland Kristín Aðalsteinsdóttir, Guðmundur Engilbertsson andRagnheiður Gunnbjörnsdóttir 135

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135 Multicultural teaching in Manitoba (Canada), Norway and Iceland Kristín Aðalsteinsdóttir, Guðmundur Engilbertsson and Ragnheiður Gunnbjörnsdóttir Introduction Multiculturalism is an ideology that ascribes special value to communities com- prising people of varied nationalities, cultural backgrounds and religious lean- ings. The challenges of facing a multicultural society are familiar in Canada but relatively new to Scandinavia. The question thus arises. How do multicultural societies deal with challenges posed by their diversity? More particularly, what are the multicultural teaching practices by which these societies seek to incorpo- rate students into a unified yet diverse community which encourages the preser- vation of ethnic, cultural and religious values? The object of the present re- search, conducted in Manitoba (Canada), Norway and Iceland, was to examine selected teachers’ preparation for teaching culturally diverse learners, their abil- ity to meet the individual needs of students, and their perceptions of how their culturally diverse learners adapt to a new cultural community. The results show that the attitudes of teachers toward their students in the Manitoba schools differ markedly from those of their colleagues in Norway and Iceland. The background of the project Multiculturalism—multicultural teaching The aim of this research was to collect information about how teachers in the Canadian province of Manitoba, Norway, and Iceland become qualified and prepared to teach culturally diverse learners, how they meet the learners’ indi- vidual needs, as well as the teachers’ perceptions of how their culturally diverse learners adapt to a new cultural...

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