Developing intercultural capability in the context of social justice in teacher education in Australia and Finland: case studies

Year: 2019

Author: Lobytsyna, Maria, Moloney, Robyn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper aims to introduce for critical discussion a comparative study of teacher education in Australia and Finland, using case study institutions in both countries.

This particular paper presents both the educator’s and the teacher’s voices in the way in which foreign and second language education can enable development of different ‘dispositions’ when engaging with that which is other (Andreotti, Biesta & Ahenakew, 2015) or ‘imagine new possibilities for social justice’ (Lanas, 2018).

The focus of the 2017-2019 research was on the teacher education and professional training of teachers in both countries, in regard to their understanding and practice of intercultural capability in the curriculum with a specific focus on social justice.

This capability is not only a part of language learning, but also, in both countries, positioned as a curriculum ‘general capability’, a recognised educational goal and social responsibility of teachers. The study intends to create a cross-case dialogue to make practice in both places visible. It was found that in the Australian participants the intercultural capability in the context of social justice was conceptualised as a personal developmental process whereas in the Finnish context the main focus was on ability to articulate social and political issues.

This process has important implications for students’ ability to build relationships and understanding across cultural differences in a world shaped by global, political and socio-cultural factors.

The presentation will discuss the differences and commonalities in the two environments between teacher educator priorities, preservice teachers’ aspirations, teachers’ practice, and the social contexts which have shaped them.