Exploring the narrative of a Finnish early childhood education teacher on her professional intercultural learning

Exploring the narrative of a Finnish early childhood education teacher on her professional intercultural learning

Author(s): Katri Jokikokkoa (katri.jokikokko@oulu.fi) & Hannele Karikoskib

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Education Research; Vol 5(1), p. 92-114.

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Abstract: Cultural diversity has been increasing in Finnish day care centres, implying the need for early childhood education teachers to learn how to meaningfully work with children and parents from different cultural backgrounds. This article focuses on describing the intercultural learning process as narrated by a Finnish early childhood education teacher, Tanja, who has worked for more than twenty years in a multicultural day care context. Tanja’s narrative focuses on her intercultural professional learning experiences that take place in the workplace. Early childhood education teachers’ intercultural learning processes have not been studied or theorized extensively. Therefore, there is a great need to research and discuss this topic, especially in the Finnish context. In Tanja’s case it seems that through her work experiences she has learnt to appreciate diversity more, has become more confident and has gained many practical competences for encountering diversity in a positive way. However, it seems that as there has not been an opportunity to reflect her experiences formally, she lacks the conceptual tools and ability to critically analyse various practices and values of the day care centre.

Author-Supplied Keywords: early childhood education teacher, intercultural learning, narrative research, professional learning

ISSN: 2323-7414

ISSN-L: 2323-7414 online

Author Affiliation: a, bUniversity of Oulu, Finland