NAFOL profile: Ingvil Bjordal

Multicultural education in the intersection between policy and practice – policy guidelines and teachers’ experiences

Ingvil BjordalThe background for this project is based on an interest in my own professional practice, working as a teacher. My experiences from working in a school environment characterized by cultural, linguistic and religious diversity has provoked  an interest in me  for the political approach to diversity in the education system, and especially how the chosen policy enables and restricts pedagogical practices. The aim of the project is to see how today’s political conceptualization of multicultural education is implemented in the pedagogical working conditions for teachers and school leaders in the Norwegian elementary school. The preliminary research questions are: What characterizes today’s educational policy regarding cultural and linguistic diversity in Norwegian elementary schools, and how is the chosen policy expressed and experienced at different levels? The objective is to highlight issues in the intersection between policy and practice, and questions related to educational management will be of importance. What are the implications of a decentralized policy model? Is it a problem that issues regarding cultural and linguistic diversity in the education system are delegated to the lowest level within the education system, to teachers and school leaders, or does this policy model imply more room for local management in relation to local needs? The main focus is related to aspects of responsibility and pedagogical conditions for working in schools characterized by cultural and linguistic diversity.

The project is related to challenges in the practical school life. It is therefore very useful for me to participate in a research school like NAFOL, which has the field of practice as its main focus.