Education for diversity 3/4: Becoming aware of diversity in education!

While all the other students in Finland were getting ready for their winter holidays, we took an inside view into Education for Diversity. Stockholm University arranged an intensive course with the topic and had invited The University of Tokyo and Jyväskylä univeristy to participate. We were happy to have the unique opportunity to attend to this course together with students from Jyväskylä, Stockholm and Tokyo. The course took place from the 22th to 24th February 2017, but we had a chance to arrive a few days earlier, so altogether we spent a whole week in Stockholm.

The first two days we had time to get to know to the city of Stockholm and each other. There were altogether eleven students from Jyväskylä: two Finnish students and nine international students from the Department of Education. The atmosphere was excited and multicultural. We had a lot of good discussions even before the actual seminar had even started. We also got to know the Swedish history in the Wasa museum. As a Finnish student’s point of view it was really nice to get to know to the international students because in Finland we study quite separately.

The remaining three days we had the pleasure to study at the Stockholm University with the students from both Stockholm University and the University of Tokyo. During the seminar we got insights into hot topics from the field Education for Diversity. Professors and teachers from all the participating universities presented us about their international Master programmes and gave short lectures on their current research. The competences in 21st century was on the lips of many professors!

Not only the professors but also the students gave presentations on their thesis work or other experiences concerning diversity. In addition to that, we had great conversations inspired by the presented issues and we shared the practices and perspectives from different countries. The seminar ended with school visits to some primary schools in Stockholm.

In our opinion, especially after this course, we state that discussion is an intensive, effective, attractive and rich learning method which we would love to use more in Finland too. Instead of telling us how many hours we must work for this course or how many books we must read to gain the ects we were told to “be active, participate and network as much as you can”. What a perfect piece of advice - concentrate on learning not gaining the credit points! You can spend weeks reading books in the library and learn about the topic of education for diversity or you can spend few days in an international atmosphere discussing with people from different cultures and learn even more effectively. We should have these both learning methods available!

We were also happy to notice that it was easy to integrate the contents of this course into our own life. We both gained new and interesting perspectives into our own current research work and studies. Many of the students and professors were studying quite similar phenomena but from very different points of view. We both think that brought a big amount of inspiration to our work as well. It was great to discuss with the professors from many different countries. The course also provided us some professional role models and guidelines for the future. Listening to both the professors and other students telling about their research topics we could find both topics that we are excited about and want to learn more and topics we were not as interested in.

And of course, as a final statement, diversity in education is present everyday and everywhere and we all should be aware of it. We dare say we are now aware of it, are you?


Ilona Peltola

Elsa Lallukka