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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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Leaning for work: Student career aspirations in China and Norway Lihong Huang 189

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189 Leaning for work: student career aspirations in China and Norway Lihong Huang Introduction As the education systems throughout the world have become similar in terms of structure and schooling content, the educational institutions in different coun- tries around the globe serve the same public and private purpose of preparing young people for working in their adult lives. China and Norway are two com- pletely different countries in all social, cultural, economic, historical and politi- cal aspects but the young people in both countries all have to make a career de- cision when they are around 16 at the end of compulsory education, and many of they will have to make career decision again when they are about 19 at the end of secondary education. This article investigates how young people in these very different societies consider their future, how they choose their career paths, and whether the socio-economic contexts in which they live have an impact on their career choices. It compares two groups of students from China and Norway who were 18–20 in 2002, using survey data collected respectively from these two countries in the same year. In the following sections, the article first introduces some features of the socio-economic and cultural contexts of the education sys- tem in theses two countries concerning student career development. Second, it reviews theories and previous research on young people’s career aspiration fol- lowed by description of data and methods. Results and discussion of findings are provided at the end. The...

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