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Multi- and Intercultural Craft

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Tarja Kröger

on 12 July 2012

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Transcript of Multi- and Intercultural Craft

Topics of
lectures and assignments The project Reflective essays Topic 1:
Multi- and interculturalism:
concepts and sensitivity Topic 3:
Cultural signs and meanings
of minorities and subcultures The assignment:
How do the various stages of the developmental model of intercultural sensitivity (Bennett) can be seen in the attitudes to different kind of clothing? Give an example. The assignment guided to acquaint with teaching and learning materials of multicultural education and to develop ideas how to incorporate multi- and interculturalism into craft education. Reflection on a cognitive level is not enough; the emotional level, too, should be taken into account (Alasuutari & Jokikokko 2010, p. 30).
-> It's not enough that students are aware of intercultural issues, but education has to help them translate their knowledge into action. In the project, students (Finnish and exchange students) were supposed to meet refugees from Burma and organize a craft workshop for people who are just beginning to learn Finnish and don’t know much about the Finnish culture.

The craft workshop included two sessions:
- the first meeting (two hours)
- the second meeting (four hours) The students were asked to write reflective essays about a course and a project.
In the analysis of essays, their significant learning experiences that appeared in the data, were examined.

The significant learning experiences were connected to:
- social events,
- changed attitudes and
- increased knowledge. Other people were involved in many of the experiences being referred to, and that these individuals played an important role in the stories. A significant individual is described as an emphatic person or an equal interlocutor.

"It was an awesome experience when an old Burmese woman taught me her own crochet model. It was a good experience for me because I understood what it is like to learn something new without the same language. On the other hand the experience of teaching and that someone really appreciates and wants to learn from your traditions, was a rewarding experience for the Burmese woman and the whole group." Many described that learning experiences were also connected to changed attitudes that includes e.g. and appreciation of diversity.

"My multicultural sensitivity and understanding has grown during this project. It is always interesting for me to learn things about other cultures, but this experience was so much better, because this time I had a chance to meet people from other culture and it helped me to look deeper in cultures than just on the cover, like through pictures. I saw how they move, act, look, speak and work. It made me more sensitive in understanding that the things that are so common for me are something very unusual to others." Some of the described learning experiences were connected to knowledge. The students valued the information they learned e.g. from the Burmese culture.

"The most rewarding thing was to see that the Burmese people have a lot of craft know-how, and we can learn from them." The Multi- and Intercultural Craft course was aimed at crafts science students who will become teachers.
10 Finnish students and 4 exchange students
(2 from Latvia and 2 from Spain) registered for this course. The second meeting:
The dialogue continued after a week in the same small groups as in the first meeting.
All groups had a common theme “Let’s take part in the world’s biggest blanket –project”. “The world’s biggest blanket” project was a national craft project that people could take part in. Small blankets (parts of the world’s biggest blanket) were donated to charities after “The world’s biggest blanket” event in Helsinki. The participants learned to make and crocheted together patches for the blanket in the workshops. While learning and making they shared experiences, recognised similarities and differences, and came to understand each other. The completed blanket was put on display and also photos were taken of it and sent to the participants of the workshop. The students attached some manifestos to the blanket that was on display. The course followed a blended learning methodology, which combines attended learning and on-line learning.
On-line activities took place in a learning environments Moodle and face-to-face activities took place in classrooms.

The course was divided into the following sections:
1 Orientation to the course (in Moodle)
2 Lectures/readings with assignments (in Moodle)
3 Project (face-to-face sessions)
4 Reflective essay Craft as an Instructional tool
for Multi- and intercultural Education:
A Case Study in Textile Teacher Education
in the University of Eastern Finland Topic 2:
Characteristics of Finnish
and other craft cultures Topic 4:
Representations of cultures Multi-
culturalism Inter-
culturalism Intra-
culturalism Trans-
culturalism Ac-
culturation Intercultural sensitivity;
Bennett's model Topic 5:
Practices of
multi- and intercultural
pedagogy Craft as a tool in
multi- and intercultural
education Multiculturalism in the Curriculum Acculturation attitudes of teachers (Soilamo) Dimensions of Multicultural Education (Banks) Learning and teaching
materials After the workshop, volunteering students gathered together and stitched the patches together. The blanket was named “Diversity is richness”. Most of the described learning experiences were connected to the social events in the workshop, e.g. an experience of a positive atmosphere in a group or an experience of craft as a tool for communication.

"It was great to see that the second meeting with refugees was more informal and we clearly managed to gain trust of the foreigners. We even managed to found a common humour, although a common language was weak." The assignment:

Find or take a picture of a typical craft of your own culture.

Use e.g. your own picture files or newspapers, magazines, internet, ads, travel brochures, books, et cetera.

Write supporting arguments to your picture choice. Comment somebody else's picture choice and arguments. The assignment:
Find a picture about a cultural sign of a minority group. A cultural sign can be e.g. burka, niqab, hijab, gipsy clothing et cetera. Use e.g. newspapers, magazines, internet, literature et cetera.

Students found information about different dress codes and also some interesting discussions and comments, which revealed the various meanings clothes are loaded with. In the assignment students had to find a picture about the culture with which they were going to co-operate in the project, i.e. the Burmese culture,
and write down a short interpretation:
- what do you think the picture is saying about the culture,
- how does it 'say' it,
- what kind of an image is it creating about the culture,
- does the picture reinforce or subvert the stereotype?
Students were also asked to comment somebody else's picture and interpretation. The main aim of this topic
was to make visible how we see
the craft of our own and other cultures and how identities are shaped by
personal histories
national contexts and
transnational contexts. The main aim of this topic
was to get students to
acquire information
about the minority cultures
that are living in our society. The main aim of this topic was to discuss how other cultures are represented in media. by increasing knowledge and understanding
- of culture based crafts
- of differences and otherness
- of diversity Conclusions:
Craft can work as an educational tool for intercultural education.
Students took steps towards culturally sensitive teacherness... Thank you for your attention! by developing positive attitudes:
- to meet people from different cultures that have not the same language
- to settle in another position by practising social skills:
- by communicating with people from other cultures through crafts
- not being afraid about making mistakes because you can learn from them Five groups:
- 2 Finnish students
- 1 exchange student
- 5 refugees The first meeting:
The participants (the Finnish students, the exchange students and the refugees) brought (craft) artefacts with them to show to each other.
-> inspiration for conversations
-> "boundary objects" served as a means of undestanding each other http://www.kaspaikka.fi/koti/savonlinna/monikulttuurisuuspeitto/index.html tarja.kroger@uef.fi Secondly, it was possible to obtain experiences about blended learning.

Students' significant learning experiences were mostly connected to face-to-face sessions in the project but they also appreciated the flexible way to study virtually in Moodle.

Next, it would be interesting to develop an international joint online course (lectures with assignments).
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