ERIC Number: EJ721735
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Dec-1
Reference Count: 22
Critical, Multicultural Education for Remembering and Reconciliation: A Discussion of an Interdisciplinary Social Science Course for International Students in Finland
Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education, v35 n4 p479-494 Dec 2005
In the autumn of 2004, an interdisciplinary social science course entitled "Remembering, Forgetting and Forgiveness: Justice and Reconciliation from the National to the International" was offered to undergraduate students at the University of Tampere, Finland. The course had 49 students from 10 different countries on three continents. A large portion of the students were on international exchange through the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS) programme. The objective of the course was to explore the role of social memory and justice in the process of reconciliation on many different levels. Learning activities aimed to initiate discussions on cross-cultural understandings of how to overcome violations and forgive or forget. Among the cases explored were child abuse, the massacres in Kosovo, the South African truth commissions and the Finnish civil war. A variety of teaching methods were utilised in the course. Cooperative learning methods were emphasised. Students engaged in group work activities and discussions and listened to a wide range of guest lecturers from diverse disciplines. The evaluation of students was based on individual learning portfolios constructed by students. This paper focuses on how a multicultural education was constructed through the pedagogy of the course, along with discussions with students who assessed their own learning process and perspectives. The theme of the course was judged by students to be very interesting and important, but the role of creative learning methods was viewed as equally significant. Exchange students, in particular, appeared willing to take greater risks in learning during their year abroad. The development of new approaches to learning could thus be an important element of internationalising efforts by universities. Finally, sensitive issues, such as contested collective social memory and complex reconciliation efforts, are best approached through cooperative learning methods that emphasise dialogue.
Descriptors: Interdisciplinary Approach, Foreign Countries, Teaching Methods, Memory, Educational Change, Student Exchange Programs, War, Science Curriculum, Cooperative Learning, Multicultural Education
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland; Kosovo