Disorienting Dilemmas - the Significance of Resistance and Disturbance in an Intercultural Program within Kindergarten Teacher Education

Integr Psychol Behav Sci. 2018 Sep;52(3):377-387. doi: 10.1007/s12124-018-9433-y.


As the Norwegian society, and thereby the kindergartens, have become more multicultural, the need for cultivating teachers capable of operating in an ever diversified and global world is highlighted as an important educational strategy within teacher education. The purpose of the specific intercultural program in kindergarten teacher education discussed in this article refers to competences needed as a professional teacher in a multicultural kindergarten. Teachers often have various assumptions and beliefs taken for granted. Therefore, reflexivity appears in intercultural education as a crucial asset. However, the article argues that the notion of self-contemplation and self-reflection that can give the subject freedom as a thinking being needs to be challenged. Questioning beliefs and assumptions includes an examination of one's emotional experiences, values and perspectives. This examination can threaten one's core beliefs and create powerful feelings such as anger, shame or resentment. Introducing the concept of disorienting dilemmas, the article problematizes the rationalist intellectual orientation in teacher education and discusses the need to focus on intercultural experiences as sensuous, intellectual and affective. The article illustrates some disorienting dilemmas with narratives from students who have attended the program. Finally, the article considers the conditions and pedagogical means that might support a more holistic approach to learning in intercultural experiences.

Keywords: China; Disorienting dilemma; Intercultural education program; Kindergarten teacher education; Norway; Professional development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Competency*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Curriculum* / standards
  • Humans
  • Norway
  • Professional Competence*
  • School Teachers* / psychology
  • School Teachers* / standards
  • Schools* / standards
  • Teacher Training* / methods
  • Teacher Training* / standards