Migrant pupils and equal opportunities? how does norwegian teacher education qualify to teaching in multicultural schools?
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If the prognosis of the future demographic situation in Norway is right, the percentage of immigrants will more than double the next 50 years, and become somewhere between 21 and 31 %. Today migrant pupils seem to be underachievers compared with majority pupils according to Pisa results. To avoid this situation, and with even more migrant pupils included, the education of teachers of central importance. In this study I analyse and sum up challenges the Norwegian teacher education has to face, in order to give future teachers adequate competence for filling their tasks in a the multicultural society. The results points in the following direction: The first challenge is to develop a policy that is consistent from the ministerial level to the Framework Plan for teacher education to secure that the content of the local curricula for institutions with teacher education are in the accordance with policy documents and that all this is in harmony with the plan for elementary education, Knowledge Promotion. In my document analyse I have registered great inconsistencies between the levels, because of either too great openness to different interpretations, neglect of prescriptions or lack of direct communication between the levels of authorities. The second challenge is to analyse the practice of the teacher education in order to enhance the language education for teacher students including knowledge about decisive factors in the process of learning a second language, and characteristics of the migrant pupils’ cultural and linguistic background and life situation. Student teachers have to become able to support the pupils’ self-security and subject area learning by relating to the children where they are culturally, including religion and values. According to the research work both language knowledge, cultural knowledge and ways of adapting it in elementary school ought to be included in every subject in teacher education. Last, but not least is the teacher educations’ obligation to coordinate the theoretical education and practice experiences. According to practice plans and the interviews with professors and students, it seems as if student practice in multicultural schools has almost been absent. This lack of experience has negative consequences for the future teachers’ capability to communicate also with migrant parents which is important for all parts, teachers, pupils, parents and families. Probably many of the challenges mentioned are similar in other countries with increasing immigration. If Norway is going to be the “most inclusive society in the world” like the Minister for Labour and Social Inclusion Ministry expressed, it needs to take these issues very seriously.
Master's thesis in Migration and intercultural relations