With the help of interviews and workshops, Laura Miettinen reviewed what music teacher educators at Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki and the Israeli Levinsky College of Education thought of interculturality and intercultural competence, i.e. attitudes, skills and knowledge that teachers need when facing cultural diversity in their work. The dissertation aims to increase understanding of how cultural diversity is - and could be - approached in music teacher education and how the change towards making music teacher education programmes more interculturally competent could be initiated.
"The goal of the research has been to build networks between music teacher educators and researchers. These networks will make it easier to pass on expertise and collectively produced new findings of what interculturally aware music education and music teacher education could entail even across national and institutional borders", Miettinen explains.
The research project has already opened up dialogues and new platforms where people can share their experiences of facing cultural diversity and interculturality in music teacher education.
Miettinen finds that self-reflection and collective discussions play a key role when developing music teachers' intercultural competence. Music teacher education programmes should strengthen the ability to engage in critical self-reflection and offer educators opportunities to discuss issues and experiences of intercultural music teaching together with their colleagues and students. According to Miettinen, intercultural competence in music teacher programmes should be examined from a more holistic and critical perspective.
"It is increasingly more important to be engaged in the issues of interculturality and cultural diversity and the development of related skills in developing music teacher educators' and future music teachers' professional development, their programmes or even whole institutions amidst the challenges of an ever-changing global cultural climate," Miettinen concludes.
Miettinen's dissertation is part of the "Global Visions Through Mobilizing Networks" research project, and its results have been reported in two articles published in academic peer-reviewed journals and in three peer-reviewed book chapters.