Difference and Diversity as a Resource for Learning

By Ksenija Napan and Helene Connor.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 9, 2014 $US5.00

This article explores how difference and diversity are valued and recognized as resources for learning within a multicultural classroom while teaching a course on transcultural social practice within the Master of Social Practice programme at Unitec Institute of Technology, Aotearoa/New Zealand. The course is taught as an elective and attracts practitioners from a range of professional and cultural backgrounds, affinities, personalities, and motivations for enrolling. The differences and diversity within the class are utilised as a main asset of the course content and process. Students are invited to collaborate and co-create the course by utilising their unique abilities, sharing their experiences, knowledge, cultural insights, and perspectives in order to develop transcultural approaches to social practice. The course focuses on an exploration of the concepts of transcultural social practice, multiplicities of cultural identities, and development of cultural awareness and respectfulness within the bicultural context of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Tensions between Aotearoa/New Zealand’s commitment to biculturalism and students’ assumptions about multiculturalism are examined, presented, and opened for discussion within a framework that posits an exploration of the meaning of transcultural practice.

Keywords: Transcultural, Diversity, Co-creating with Students

The International Journal of Diversity in Education, Volume 13, Issue 3, May 2014, pp.79-89. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 9, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 368.396KB)).

Dr. Ksenija Napan

Associate Professor, Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Department of Social Practice, Unitec, New Zealand, Auckland, NZ, New Zealand

Ksenija Napan is originally from Croatia, lives and works in Aotearoa/New Zealand and is an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Practice, Unitec Institute of Technology. She is interested in effective application of inquiry learning methods and co-creation of teaching/learning contexts conducive to discovery, reciprocity and mutual learning. She invented two very different inquiry based teaching/learning methods and currently applies Academic Co-creative Inquiry in her undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. She is researching this method with a group of academics and is keen to involve international scholars in its further development.

Dr. Helene Connor

Programme Leader, Masters of Social Practice, Department of Social Practice, Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand

Helene Connor is of Maori (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Ruanui), Irish and English descent. She is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader in the Department of Social Practice, Unitec Institute of Technology, Aotearoa/New Zealand