Leveraging Greek kindergarten students’ lifeworlds in cultivating intercultural learning



Modern kindergarten classes are highly diverse. This poses the challenge of the productive use of diversity namely the way students with different biographies (lifeworlds) can understand, learn from, and coexist with “others”. Familiarity with diverse biographies is important quality in the learning process as these capture aspects of student diversity that give individual meaning to self-existence. Moreover, biographical narratives in flexible intercultural communicative environments make possible to identify students’ starting points (pre-existing knowledge), learning readiness and cultural characteristics that compose identity. Thus, the negotiation of these points in the form of biographical reflections in a dialogical context can expand the understanding of the self, and the "other" as well as form a coherent view about modern world. The output of negotiating and communicating multiple biographical experiences, perspectives, and collaborative intelligence, is a newly generated intercultural learning. This article presents the role of preschool student biographies in cultivating intercultural learning. In this account, diversity is considered both as a learning resource and a learning opportunity.


Preschool Children’s Biographies, lifeworlds, diversity, intercultural dialogue, intercultural learning

Full Text:



Acevedo, M. V. (2016). Inviting young children to explore intercultural understandings through inquiry and play. Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Arizona, USA. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10150/565915.

Alexander, R. J. (2008). Essays on Pedagogy. London: Routledge.

Arvanitis, E. (2011). Curricula and reflective modernity: An intercultural approach. In K. Malafantis, M. Sakellariou & T. Bakas (Eds.), Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of the Pedagogical Society. Curricula and Textbooks: Greek Reality and International Experience. (Volume B') (pp. 539-551). Athens: Diadrasi. [In Greek].

Arvanitis, E. (2013). Civic pluralism, interculturality and transformative education: Revising the binary 'us' vs 'others'. In Yearbook of the Department of Early Childhood Studies - University of Ioannina, 6, (pp. 91-123). Ioannina: University of Ioannina. [In Greek].

Arvanitis, E. (2014). Rethinking intercultural learning spaces: The example of Greek Language schooling in Australia. Educational Journal of the University of Patras UNESCO Chair, 1(1), 60-68.

Arvanitis, E. (2015). Interculturalism and transformation in education: A reflective account in the context of new learning. In Th. Thanos (Ed.), Sociology of Education in Greece (pp. 502-507). Athens: Gutenberg. [In Greek].

Arvanitis, E. (2016). Interculturality and diversity in education: Towards a new professional learning. Contemporary Trends in Early Childhood Education. Athens: New Tech Pub (pp.9-28). [In Greek]. Ashworth, P. D. (2003). The phenomenology of the lifeworld and social psychology. Social Psychology Review, 5, 18-34.

Alheit, P. (1994). Taking the knocks: youth unemployment and biography - a qualitative analysis. London: Cassell Education.

Banks, J. A. (2004). An introduction to multicultural education. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Barrett, M. (2018). How schools can promote the intercultural competence of young people. European Psychologist, 23(1), 93-104.

Barrett, M., Byram, M., Ipgrave, J., & Seurrat, A. (2013). Images of others: An autobiography of intercultural encounters through visual media. Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe.

Beck, U. (2000) The cosmopolitan perspective: Sociology of the second age of modernity, British Journal of Sociology, 51(1), 79-106.

Bennett, M. J. (2004). Becoming interculturally competent. In J. S. Wurzel (Ed.), Toward multiculturalism: A reader in multicultural education (pp. 62-77). Newton, MA: Intercultural Resource Corporation.

Brooks, M. (2005). Drawing as a unique mental development tool for young children: Interpersonal and intrapersonal dialogues. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 6(1), 80-91.

Broome, B. J. (2013). Building cultures of peace: The role of intergroup dialogue. In J. G. Oetzel & S. Ting-Too-Mey (Eds.), Sage handbook of conflict communication: Integrating theory, research, and practice (pp.737-762). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bruner, J. (1997). A narrative model of self‐construction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 818, 145-161.

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Byram, M. (2003). On being ‘bicultural’ and ‘intercultural’. In G. Alred, M. Byram & M. Fleming (Eds.), Intercultural Experience and Education (pp. 50-66). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Byram, M. (2008). From foreign language education to education for intercultural citizenship: Essays and reflection. Philadelphia, PA: Multilingual Matter.

Byram, M., & Wagner, M. (2018). Making a difference: Language teaching for intercultural and international dialogue. Foreign Language Annals, 51(1), 140-151.

Byram, M., Gribkova, B., & Starkey, H. (2002). Developing the intercultural dimension in language teaching: A practical introduction for teachers. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

Caron, J. (2007). Différencier au quotidien: Cadre d’expérimentation avec points de repère et outils-support. Québec Montréal: Chenelière Éducation.

Chen, G. M., & Starosta, W. J. (2000). The development and validation of the intercultural sensitivity scale. Human Communication, 3, 1-15.

Cohen, L., & Manion, L. (2002). Educational research methodology. Athens: Metaichmio. [In Greek].

Crichton, J., & Scarino, A. (2007). How are we to understand the intercultural dimension? An examination of the intercultural dimension of internationalisation in the context of higher education in Australia. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 30(1), 4.1 - 4.21.

Cushner, K., & Brislin, R. W. (1997). Improving intercultural interactions: Models for cross-cultural training programs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Deardorff, D. K. (2006). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of Studies in International Education, 10, 241-266.

Delanoy, W. (2008). Dialogic communicative competence and language learning. In W. Delanoy & L. Volkmann (Eds.), Future perspectives for English language teaching (pp. 173-188). Heidelberg: Winter.

Dodge, J. (2005). Differentiation in action. New York: Scholastic.

Fivush, R., & Haden, C. A. (2003). Autobiographical memory and the construction of a narrative self: Developmental and cultural perspectives. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Ganesh, S., & Holmes, P. (2011). Positioning intercultural dialogue - Theories, pragmatics, and an agenda. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 4(2), 81-86.

Gay, G., & Kirkland, K. N. (2003). Developing cultural critical consciousness and self-reflection in preservice teacher education. Theory into Practice, 42(3), 181-187.

Gibbs, G. (2008). Analysing qualitative data. London, UK: Sage.

Gonçalves, S., & Carpenter, M.A. (2013). Diversity, Intercultural Encounters and Education. Routledge.

González, N., Moll, L. C., & Amanti, C. (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hanses, A. (2004). Biographie und soziale arbeit. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag.

Hoff, H. E. (2019). Fostering the “intercultural reader”? An empirical study of socio-cultural approaches to EFL literature. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 63(3), 443-464.

Ioannidou-Koutselini, M. (2020). Differentiation of teaching and learning: Difficulties and misunderstandings. Dialogues. Theory and Practice in Education Sciences, 6, 12-29. [In Greek].

Jaatinen, R. E. (2015). Promoting interculturalism in primary school children through the development of encountering skills: A case study in two Finnish schools. Education, 43(6), 731-742.

Kakabura, R. (2011). Life stories. The biographical approach to contemporary folklore research. Athens: Atrapos. [In Greek].

Kalantzis, Μ., & Cope, Β. (2013). New learning: Basic principles for Education Science. Athens: Kritiki Publications. [In Greek].

Kemple, M. K., Lee, I. R., & Harris, M. (2015). Young children’s curiosity about physical differences associated with race: Shared reading to encourage conversation. Early Childhood Education Journal, 44, 97-105.

Kress, G. (1997). Before writing: Rethinking the paths to literacy. London and New York: Routledge.

Kvale, S., & Brinkmann, S. (2009). Interviews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. Los Angeles, Calif.: Sage.

Larzén-Östermark, Ε. (2008). The Intercultural dimension in EFL-teaching: A study of conceptions among Finland-Swedish comprehensive schoolteachers. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 52(5), 527-547.

Littleton, K., & Mercer, N. (2013). Interthinking: Putting talk to work. London: Routledge.

Liu, S., Gallois, C., & Volcic, Z. (2018). Introduction to intercultural communication. Global cultures and contexts. Athens: Gutenberg. [In Greek].

Maine, F. (2013). How children talk together to make meaning from texts: A dialogic perspective on reading comprehension strategies. Literacy, 47(3), 150-156.

McCabe, A., Bliss, L., Barra, G., & Bennett, M.B. (2008). Comparison of personal versus fictional narratives of children with language impairment. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17, 194-206.

Nussbaum, Μ. (2002). Education for citizenship in an era of global connection. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 21, 289-303.

Piipponen, O., & Karlsson, L. (2019). Children encountering each other through storytelling: Promoting intercultural learning in schools. The Journal of Educational Research, 112(5), 590-603.

Pineau, G., & Le Grand, J. (2002). Les histoires de vie. Les histoires de vie. Paris: PUF.

Ponciano, L., & Shabazian, A. (2012). Interculturalism: Addressing diversity in early childhood. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 40(1), 23-29.

Riessman, C. K. (2008). Narrative methods for the Human Sciences. CA, USA: Sage Publications.

Shaules, J. (2019). Language, culture, and the embodied mind. A developmental model of linguaculture learning. Singapore: Springer.

Stan, M. M. (2015). Study on the structuring of self-image in early childhood. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 187, 619-624.

Swann, W. B., & Bosson, J. K. (2008). Identity negotiation: A theory of self and social interaction. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 448-471). The Guilford Press.

Tomlinson, C. A., & Imbeau, M. B. (2010). Leading and managing a differentiated classroom. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Tsiolis, G. (2006). Life stories and biographical narratives. The biographical approach to sociological qualitative research. Athens: Kritiki. [In Greek].

Tsiolis, G. (2014). Methods and techniques of analysis in qualitative social research. Athens: Kritiki. [In Greek].

Vertovec, S. (2012). Diversity and the social imaginary. European Journal of Sociology, 53(3), 287-312.

Vlachou, M. (2019). The perception of the “different self” through the individual narratives of preschool children. Theory and Research in Educational Sciences, 48, 7-26. [in Greek].

Vlachou, M. (2020a). Citizenship and social skills in preschool education. Thessaloniki: Graphima. [In Greek].

Vlachou, M. (2020b). The contribution of intercultural dialogue to the promotion of intercultural learning in preschool education. New Teacher, 19, 66-78. [In Greek].

Vrikki, M., Wheatley, L., Howe, C., Hennessy, S., & Mercer, N. (2019). Dialogic practices in primary school classrooms. Language and Education, 33(1), 85-100.

Wegerif, R. (2011). Towards a dialogic theory of how children learn to think. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 6(3), 179-190.

Yelland, N., Muspratt, S., Bartholomaeus, C., Karthikeyan, N., Chan, A. K. W., Leung, V. W. M., Lee, I-F., Soo, L. M. J., Lim, K. M., & Saltmarsh, S. (2021). Lifeworlds of nine- and ten-year-old children: Out-of-school activities in three global cities. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 19(3), 259-273.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26220/mje.3841

View Counter: Abstract | 0 | times, and PDF | 0 | times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Mediterranean Journal of Education | ISSN: 2732-6489 |  Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood EducationUniversity of Patras.

Pasithee | Library & Information Center | University of Patras