This study examined student teachers’ and teacher educators’ discourses about multiculturalism in an international English-medium teacher education programme in Finland. An analysis with discursive pragmatics of semi-structured interviews revealed four positioning strategies for initial responses to multiculturalism: stereotyping and othering, distancing oneself, verbalizing experiences, and downplaying multiculturalism. Although the same strategies were present to a large extent among both student teachers and teacher educators, these have different implications. The teacher educators’ lack of a shared critical understanding of interculturality created uncertainty when considering multicultural issues and can lead to a situation where the coherence between the objectives, implementation methods and assessment in the programme suffers. The student teachers had difficulties transferring their immediate experiences of multiculturalism into reflections of how these may contribute to their future work as teachers. Student teachers seemed dependent on teacher educators’ support in recognizing challenges with diversities as learning opportunities. Teacher educators should be provided with opportunities to compare and contest their conceptions of interculturality so that they would be able to guide student teachers in reflecting on theirs.
Fields of Science
- 516 Educational sciences