MERN Forum Presentation id=332
MERN Forum # 20
Session: 4C
Author: Karen Magro
Affiliation: University of Winnipeg
Title : Integrating social justice issues into the curriculum: Working toward intercultural competence
Description : This session will present the results of a two year SSHRC-CURA funded qualitative study involving over 100 adult learners, teachers, and service providers in immigration and settlement services.

I will identify critical issues that face learners, educators, and service providers who participate and work in the growing field of adult education. The research paradigm is reflexive, action-oriented, and integrates multiple perspectives and methods. This research shows that despite significant improvements to adult education and immigration and settlement programs, systemic barriers continue to exist and interfere with individuals’ ability to realize their educational and career goals. Survival in a new culture often takes precedence over educational and career goals.

Despite the barriers, many of the participants in this study are, in Paulo Freire’s words, “an agent of change.” I will highlight particular initiatives that teachers in Manitoba have taken to build a curriculum around issues of social justice, peace education through story telling, and intercultural awareness. Courses such as World Issues, Language Arts, and Psychology are particularly important in helping students develop an awareness of local and global issues. My presentation will also highlight the promise of transformative learning in education through experiential teaching and learning strategies, cultural studies, and cross-curricular course design. Finally, the results of this research stresses the importance of intercultural competence among all citizens, co-operation among government, non-governmental agencies, educators, administrators, and community service providers. Recommendations and policy suggestions will be included.

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