Pedagogical Possibilities in Culturally Diverse Educational Contexts

Theory and Practice of Inclusive Education in the Netherlands

In: Moving towards Inclusive Education


There is an ongoing debate in Dutch society about the purpose of education regarding the multicultural community. Indeed, all schools have to educate their students within a racial, religious and ethnically and culturally diverse world. The question is whether schools actually aim to educate their students for a diverse global world. The answer to this question can partly be found in teachers’ views of the possibilities for educating the select group of students attending their schools so that they can live together in diversity, and in the pedagogical practices they use to reach this aim. This chapter presents a selection of our research projects, both quantitative and qualitative, on the pedagogical views and practices of teachers in Dutch schools regarding social and cultural diversity in their schools and classrooms and on their engagement with teaching for inclusivity. The focus is on teachers’ efforts within the possibilities available to address social and cultural diversity. Teachers have different pedagogical goals regarding living together in diversity. They use different approaches such as learning about diversity and learning for diversity. The use of these approaches is related to teachers’ pedagogical aims regarding issues of living in diversity and commonality. The pedagogical approaches are based on the possibilities teachers see and the constraints they are confronted with in their classrooms while using various strategies. Two areas of our research are presented. The first is concerned with teachers’ use of whole class conversations, dialogues and discussions in reaction to cultural diversity-related incidents and tensions in their classes and in society. The second area of research covers joint learning activities when diverse cultural groups attending different schools are brought together for short periods. In the concluding remarks we explore the research results in the context of international research on education and diversity.

Moving towards Inclusive Education

Diverse National Engagements with Paradoxes of Policy and Practice