Beginnjahr 2015 Abschlussjahr 2016


durchführende Institutionen


Ländercode Australien, Ozeanien, Österreich, Australien Sprachcode Deutsch, Englisch
Schlagwörter DeutschMultikulturalismus
Schlagwörter Englischmulticulturalism


The presence of multiculturalism is not a recent phenomenon in Australia, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that were much diverse in culture and language shared this space for thousands of years. However, colonisation and colonial settlement created this nation state with mono-cultural identity, which was tied to ‘white Anglo-Saxon’ heritage and their language, English. Overt political measures were taken to maintain such ‘race’ ideologies with The White Australia Policy (1901). Later, due to much global criticism and pressure in the 1970s this policy was dismantled and multiculturalism was adopted and promoted by the socio-political institutions of Australia (Tavan, 2004; Stokes, 1997). Since then most socio-political institutions and especially educational settings have developed guidelines that support multiculturalism super imposed by nationalism. Consistently goals and guidelines have been developed especially for educational settings so that they engage in pedagogical practices that support intercultural understanding and more precisely eliminate racism and discrimination.


Austria, on the other hand does not share Australia’s history of colonisation, and yet, large movements of population due to varied reasons, presents complex realities for Austria. Such large movements of population across the world presents destabilising phenomena that are juxtaposed, such as globalism versus localism and nationalism versus multiculturalism (Hall, 1996). Hence, the development of policies and guidelines and especially educational guidelines has become vital to Austria as well.


This project aims to inquire how intercultural understanding is interpreted and supported by primary school teachers in Austria as well as in and Australia. It tries to uncover the theoretical and experiential underpinnings of such support of primary school teachers and whether there are differences and similarities between the two countries.


In the course of the activities, which will take place, this project will contribute towards identifying the foundations of current understandings and practices that impede effective intercultural education. Actually it will provide new knowledge and understanding of how fervent nationalism intrudes equitable intercultural understanding and thereby results in a subtle form of prejudice and discrimination. Thus, it will provide that critical information that can lead to further research on offering effective teacher training and professional development for practising teachers in both countries, and the international approach will provide unique multiple perspectives to this complex phenomenon.


This comparative pilot study will particularly bring about new ways of understanding the complex interceptions between nationalism and multiculturalism in globalised spaces. So it will outline the current gaps in effectively supporting intercultural understandings and provide recommendations for current and future teacher training leading to further long-term participatory action research projects with teachers and students. As a consequence it will provide baseline data that will lead to a larger collaborative research that brings multiple voices from school communities together in order to develop, trial and evaluate transformed curricular material that result in supporting respectful and equitable intercultural understanding between cultural groups in both countries.



Epistemologically, this pilot study will be conducted under critical cultural studies, as it aims to inquire the historical, ideological and socio-political origins of teachers’ attitudes and interpretations of pedagogical practices that promote inter-cultural understandings. It will use mixed methods (structured and semi-structured electronic questionnaires and open-ended face to face individual interviews) to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. The survey will take place nearly at the end of the Austrian school year and at the end of Australians first half of the current school year.

The researchers believe that the quantitative data will provide a general overview of teacher’s attitudes and interpretations of practices that support inter-cultural understandings and the qualitative data will further collect in depth, rich narratives that elucidate the discursive arbitrations of such knowledge.

The researchers would like to interpret on the one hand the dichotomous interactions between coloniser/colonised, whiteness/brownness, guest workers or refugees/residents and on the other hand to uncover the expected presence of ideological understandings that colonise teachers’ attitudes and understandings towards cultures.



Literature suggests that students’ understandings about who they are, especially in relation to their ‘race’, culture, ethnic and religious identity is much dependant on teachers’ attitudes towards those groups (Derman-Sparks & Ramsey, 2006; Kowalski, 2007; Epstein, 2009). Much research in Australia suggests that current multicultural pedagogical practices that teach about other cultural groups result in positioning the ‘white Anglo-Australian’ in the centre as the national subject, and ‘othering’ migrant and Aboriginal Australians against this centralised national subject (see Aveling, 2002, 2007; Allard & Santoro, 2004, 2006; Johnston, 2007; Leeman & Reid, 2006; Santoro, 2009). Recent research conducted within early childhood and primary school settings within Australia again conclusively suggests that such conceptions of Australia’s national identity based on ‘race’ ideologies still exist and the presence of racism is evident especially within educational settings (Hatoss, 2012; Srinivasan, 2014; Srinivasan & Cruz 2014). Many others believe that current pedagogical practices offered in schools do not enable students’ to effectively combat racism that exists within their schools and in the wider community (Dunn & Nelson, 2011; Singh, 2011; Walton et al, 2014). Thus, particular ways of understanding and practising one’s national identity and commitment to the nation present complexities that impede social cohesion and result in the continued presence of racism and discrimination in the Australian community.


Although Australia has a history of researching to identify and address ethnic and racial tensions, there is a paucity of such studies in Austria. Therefore, this study will begin such critical conversations within educational settings in Austria, leading to much needed research in this area. Recent research has also identified that current intercultural understandings within the Australian society need to be supported within school settings (Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2013). This international study can identify the gaps in teachers’ attitudes and knowledge that inhibit their effective engagement in pedagogical practices that develop intercultural understandings both in Australia and Austria.

Erhebungstechniken und Auswahlverfahren


This initial pilot study is intended to be conducted in 5 primary schools in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) metropolitan area, and 5 primary schools in Upper and Lower Austria. The researchers hope to recruit participants through random sampling using door knocking technique, and aim to circulate electronic surveys to 50-60 primary school teachers and administrators, about 5-6 participants from each school that has consented to participate. The Chief investigators are responsible for recruiting participants in their respective countries.


Publikationen (+ link zum OBV)
  • Allard, A., & Santoro, N. (2006). Troubling identities: teacher education students' constructions of class and ethnicity. Cambridge journal of education, 36(1), 115-129. Australian bureau of statistics. (2011). Australia's population by country of birth. from Commonwealth of Australia Aveling, N. (2007). Anti-racism in schools: a question of leadership? Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education, 28(1), 69-85. Derman-Sparks, L., Ramsey, P. G., & Edwards, J.O. (2006). What if all the kids are white? Anti-bias multicultural education with young children and families. New York: Teachers college press. Dunn, K., & Nelson, J. K. . (2011). Challenging the public denial of racism for a deeper multiculturalism. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 32(6), 587-602. Epstein, A.S. (2009). Me, you, us: social emotional learning in preschool. Michigan: High scope press. Hatoss, A. (2012). Where are you from? Identity construction and experiences of 'othering' in the narratives of Sudanese refugee background Australians. Discourse & Society, 23(1), 47-68. Johnston, R. (2007). Dominant discourses and teacher education: Current curriculum or curriculum remembered? Asia-Pacific journal of teacher education, 35(4), 351-365. Jusline, Österreich. (2014b, Dezember 1). § 4 SchOG (Schulorganisationsgesetz), Allgemeine Zugänglichkeit der Schulen - JUSLINE Österreich. Abgerufen am 14. Dezember 2014, von Kowalski, K. (2007). The development of social identity and intergroup attitudes in young children. In O. N. Saracho & B. Spodek (Eds.), Contemporary perspectives on social learning in early childhood education (pp. 49-82). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing. Leeman, Y., & Reid, C. (2006). Multi/intercultural education in Australia and the Netherlands. Compare, 36(1), 57-72. Mecheril, P. (2012). Institutionen an die Schülerschaft anpassen, nicht umgekehrt. Abgerufen 8. Dezember 2014, von Santoro, N. (2009). Teaching in culturally diverse contexts: what knowledge about 'self' and 'others' do teachers need? Journal of Education for Teaching 35(1), 33-45. Singh, S. (2011). Indian students in Melbourne: Challenges to multiculturalism. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 32(6), 673-689. Srinivasan, P., & Cruz, M. (2014). Children colouring: speaking 'colour difference' with diversity dolls. Pedagogy, culture and society. doi: 10.1080/14681366.2014.919343. Stokes, G. (1997). Introduction. In G. Stokes (Ed.), The politics of identity in Australia (pp. 1-22). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Tavan, G. (2004). The dismantling of the White Australia policy: elite conspiracy or will of the Australian people? Australian journal of political science, 39(1), 109-125. Walton, J., Priest, N., Kowal, E., White, F., Brickwood, K., Fox, B., & Paradies, Y. (2014). Talking culture? Egalitarianism, color-blindness and racism in Australian elementary schools. Teaching and teacher education, 39, 112-122.
Hauptkategorie(n)Soziales Umfeld (Gesellschaft, Kultur, Sprache und Religion)
Bildungspolitik und Bildungsverwaltung
Bildungsinhalt (Themenfeld)
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