Developing Teacher Capacity for Transformative Intercultural Learning: The Importance of Transcultural Dispositions of Thinking
Speaker: Dr. Niranjan Casinader
Institution: Monash University, Australia
Globally, recent events and patterns of international relations have reinvigorated images of and attitudes towards specific groups that are deemed to be 'different', accentuating a shift in many societies to a more overt form of 'Othering', despite the increasing cultural diversity of many communities – and therefore educational spaces - around the world. Such trends have emphasised even more forcefully the increased importance of schools as a space for developing intercultural understandings. It is in schools that the ability to relate to and live with different life perspectives becomes more 'real' for students, as many experience incidences of racism and other forms of cultural conflict. However, recent research has also suggested that intercultural understanding is limited as a concept for the modern age, and that education should be focusing more on the development of transcultural understandings amongst young people (Casinader, 2014; Casinader & Walsh, under review). More significantly, however, drawing upon the context of current research into the cultural capacity and attitudes of schools and teachers (Walton et al, 2014; Casinader under development), this presentation argues that the background attitudes of teacher educators cannot be ignored in the growth of these student understandings. It posits that, in line with recent research (Casinader, 2014), the inculcation of transcultural modes of thinking and pedagogical approaches within teachers is essential for modelling for students an educational environment in which cultural difference is accepted as part of the norm. Only then will school programs in intercultural learning have the potential to effect more considered and long term attitudinal change.