Vol. 10 no. 1 / June 2016 / Special issue on Cultural Encounters in Multi-cultured Societies: Towards multicultural education?

Special Issue Articles

Cross-Cultural Encounters in Giving Compliments and Making Requests through Literary Texts: Pedagogical Ramifications

Maya Khemlani David, Francisco Perlas Dumanig, Kuang Ching Hei, Singhanat Nomnian

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It can be argued that literature represents social reality. The symbiotic relationship between literary works and authentic interactions opens the door to cross-cultural communication. Therefore, reading various literary texts will help readers enrich their cultural knowledge and understand other cultures. A range of literary texts from Malaysia and The Philippines were selected to exemplify this connection between talk in these literary texts and the understanding of a range of speech acts across cultures. The speech acts include requests and compliments performed within two Southeast Asian cultures: Malaysia and The Philippines. Examples of the various forms of each of these speech acts were examined and analyzed. Such practices are culturally bound and should provide readers with a wide, rich and interesting cultural experience.

Preparing for a Future of Diversity – A Conceptual Framework for Planning and Evaluating Multicultural Education at Colleges

Rita Sever

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Higher Education institutions in the Western world need to prepare for a future in which cultural diversity is not a transient phase but a constant reality. They should, therefore, consider introducing Multicultural Education (ME) into their institution, and further develop it. As ME is a widely used yet hazy concept that covers a vast variety of approaches, strategies and programmes, the paper attempts to unveil the complexity of ME’s broad conceptual basis. It addresses the ambiguity of the term “multiculturalism”, differentiates between five diversity- managing strategies, analyses a variety of definitions and goals attributed to ME and presents an integrated typology of ME programs. On this basis, it offers colleges a three-tier tool for benchmarking, introducing and designing ME. The tool consists of a diagnostic questionnaire, a table of design choices and an organisational guide for introducing and developing ME as first and second order changes in the college. With the multilayer conceptual framework constructed in it, the paper aims to achieve two purposes. The first is to supply a backbone for informed decisions that colleges have to make while designing their educational policy and practice in culturally diverse contexts. The second purpose is to offer a new research platform for future evaluations of ME as a complex system.

Between Bubbles and Enclaves: Discussing a new working term to interculturalism and meaning via a case study of Israeli women in Brussels

Efrat Tzadik

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Changing one’s place of residency creates new challenges, such as how to preserve social, cultural, ethnic or national identities and how to create a comfortable living environment in the new country; creating a new ‘home.’ In this article I explore ways in which migrant women transform a new place into a space, into a new home. More specifically, this article answers the question of the mechanisms used by Israeli women who immigrated to Belgium in order to create a setting wherein they feel a sense of comfort and belonging. I call this mechanism ‘social bubbles’, a term taken from Cohen (1992) in his work about types of tourists. Cohen named it ‘environmental bubbles’. My aim is to develop the use of the term for general migration.

Looking at a religious group is often discussed in terms of ‘enclaves’ (Sivan, 1991; Valins, 2003). Enclaves are social forms where people live completely within the boundaries of the group. Individuals are not obliged to remain in the community (in the enclaves) but there is social pressure to do so. I compare the term ‘enclave’ with ‘social bubble’ and explain that the use of the term is more flexible, dynamic and leads to a new perspective on the whole phenomenon of integration of social groups: religious, ethnic, national and for different migration purposes; asylum seekers, expatriates, refugees and others.

Although the concept of bubbles could describe social groups, such as Jewish people in Brussels, Belgium, this article focuses mainly on Israelis who immigrated to Brussels.

Promoting Multiculturalism through a Decolonising Process

Ruwaida Abu Rass

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The term multiculturalism is defined, and the emergence of policies of multiculturalism in countries of immigrants and Native communities, such as the U.S., Australia and Canada is discussed. This paper discusses the historical obstacles in terms of colonialism and neoliberalism that challenge the fostering of multicultural education in contemporary societies. To empower the Aboriginal people and to achieve real multicultural education, there is a need for carrying out a decolonising process, adopting critical pedagogy and developing global education.

Other Articles

Working with children? Transforming tiredness into Deleuzian exhaustion

Daniela Mercieca, Duncan P. Mercieca

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Educational contexts are often built on assumptions that are considered common and good by the majority of persons working within these contexts. Policy and specialisation, originally means to operationalising these assumptions, have become ends and reference points in themselves. The encounter with children is becoming less and less the centre of education endeavour. This often brings about the experience of tiredness as endless effort is placed by different educational professionals in trying to contain the different forces at play within particular scenarios. Following Deleuze, we suggest exhaustion, which he distinguishes from tiredness. Exhaustion comes about from having endless possibilities. This however involves the violent encounter of non-sense which shakes sense assumptions. We argue that engaging with children is this violent encounter which is essential for the professional in education.

Creative Giftedness and Dyslexia

Victor Martinelli, Doriella Camilleri

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Empirical studies of the relationships between dyslexia and creativity are inconsistent. While some anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a positive association between the two, some research suggests that such associations emerge in adulthood rather than in childhood or adolescence, usually as the result of adverse life experiences. The aim of this study was to examine whether adolescents with dyslexia possess superior creativity, measured through a standardised test battery, the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT), in comparison to age peers. Participants were additionally assessed on a modified version of the Wisconsin Association Talent and Gifted Guide (WATG). The participants in this study were students diagnosed with dyslexia (N=38) and asymptomatic students (N=38) aged 13 years four months (average). The members of the group with dyslexia had been previously diagnosed and identified as students with additional educational needs. The participants in the research group were matched with asymptomatic (students without dyslexia) participants for age, socio-economic status, ability and type of school attended. Although there were apparent indications that the adolescents with dyslexia rated themselves as less creative than their asymptomatic counterparts, they performed better on most subscales of the TTCT. However, in this study, despite the slightly higher scores of students with dyslexia, the differences regarding creativity were not statistically significant. Within the limitations of the study, no support was found for the hypothesis that adolescents with dyslexia are highly creative or even perceived themselves to be so.

Parental engagement during the ‘Ċaqlaq!’2 campaign: A summative analytic report of a non-formal adult educational initiative

Maria Brown

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This paper synthesises parents’ and guardians’ engagement with a non-formal educational initiative sponsored by Fundación Mapfre that took place between October 2014 and February 2015. Parents, guardians and carers of students’ recruited from a sample of state and Catholic Church primary schools in Malta engaged with graphical representations related to select health and fitness issues prioritised at the time by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (2014) to trigger collaborative and interactive activities and discussions. These activities fed into a critical engagement with the codifications, i.e. decodification (Kirkwood and Kirkwood, 2011; Freire, 2005). Participants presented main themes / issues emerging from the workshop activities. In this manner, workshops yielded to participants’ grassroots, in-depth, critical and inquisitive ownership of and engagement with health and fitness concerns. The main findings of the study show that, during the workshop, participants manifested a successful thematic, self-critical and reflective engagement with the select health and fitness concerns; they also linked the workshop discussion to their family and community contexts, as well as to broader socio-economic, cultural and global dynamics – with special reference to water supply; availability of public and recreational spaces; work-life balance; globalisation and technology. Thus, the workshop pedagogy provided democratic, dialogical and reflexive engagement; enhanced social capital and a grassroots’ approach to knowledge and education. Recommendations stemming from these research findings include the possibility of parent and child workshops; holding a series of workshops and forming a core-group of family members who have a more active role in future ‘Ċaqlaq!’ and other health and fitness campaigns.

Parental Identity, Lifelong Learning and School

Maria Mendel

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This text presents the thoughts derived from empirical, qualitative research carried out in a small group of parents of school-age children. Although the research terrain was Poland, the problems here considered revolve around the broad issue of parental identity, especially in a context of the concept of Lifelong Learning. Conclusions are built upon an exploratory description of parental identity, which gives support to the assumption that it is the identity of a lifelong learner, shaped more or less independently of the LLL’s political context, largely dominated by economic interests. In the light of this, the following intriguing question needs to be answered: what is the significance of this context for the parents—school relationship? By becoming part of a new educational order under the banner of LLL, this relationship may be molded into a better shape. Final reflections refer to the research results, including the multi-dimensional structure – a hologram parental identity, which, together with a set of more detailed categories, made it possible to formulate prospective proposals focusing on the concept of the school as a chora (khôra, Derrida, 1993), a place craving for new meanings. Located in the perspective of spatialised thought, they direct our attention to the methods of critical analysis regarding the space of school – parents relationships, a space of formative importance in parental self-creation. Solutions built on such methods fall outside the traditional binarism that favours the ossification of order based on teacher’s authority, and allow for the creation of new ways of representations, new school policies, etc.


A reflection on the Learning Outcomes Framework Project

Michelle Attard Tonna, Gaetano Bugeja

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There is no abstract available for this article.