07 SES 06 A, Internationalisation in Higher Education
The multiculturality of the Norwegian society represents both great opportunities and challenges in order to learn how to live together. The need to share a common value platform and fair practices has to be combined with the legitimate recognition of difference understood both as cultural differences and the uniqueness of the individual. We argue that this tension should be included in the teaching of future teachers at preschool and at compulsory school level through the use of intercultural value dilemmas. However, the tension cannot be solved and answered once and for all. On the contrary, it obliges teachers, students and pupils to explore how to combine seemingly opposing values and daily life practices in particular dilemmas.
The research project focuses on the learning process of university teachers using the VaKE didactical approach in their teaching of intercultural value dilemmas. VaKE as an open teaching aims to develop the moral development of the participants and is based on dialog opportunities, opposing arguments and values, role-taking and critical thinking ((Patry 2007; Patry, Weyringer & Weinberger 2007; Weyringer, Patry, & Weinberger 2012). The project’s main objective is to discuss a possible VaKE contribution in value education within complex intercultural settings in the Norwegian context. Grounded on critical action research, and focus group the project is designed as a self-study where six teachers with mixed intercultural knowledge discuss their own experiences with VaKE trying to promote higher education for more social justice avoiding the pitfalls of assimilation and communitarianism. The project is a result of collaboration between the University of Salzburg in Austria, NLA University College, and the Sogn & Fjordane University College in Norway.
1) How can the VaKE program help university teachers to develop the students’ moral knowledge about intercultural value conflicts?
2) What challenges and opportunities do Norwegian university teachers experience when using VaKE in intercultural educational settings?
The project’s original contribution will be twofold. Firstly, research tends often to concentrate on international frameworks for multicultural education, and on kindergarten and school practices (Banks 2009). This project will provide knowledge about the university sector that is also confronted with challenging issues of justice in democratic education (Biesta 2011). Secondly, so far the research on the VaKE teaching program has not included a broad focus on the multicultural society. Our project is thus an interesting opportunity for discussing a possible VaKE contribution in value education within complex intercultural settings in the Norwegian context.
This paper as a theoretical and empirical inquiry seeks therefore to explore nontraditional approaches to moral and democratic education within multicultural societies. The presentation will mainly discuss the project’s main rational and present some preliminary results after one focus-group session.
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