How to educate "good" citizens? - a case study on "Intercultural Learning" in Austria
(University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna)
Paper short abstract:
This paper focuses on findings from the project Music without Borders in Vienna. Its central research question addresses pupils' narratives of (musical) identities, which revealed changing and fluctuating characteristics according to different situations and contexts during this project.
Paper long abstract:
The growing presence of heterogeneous populations requires a rethinking of compulsory education, especially for 'pupils with migrant background'. Since the 1990s, the Austrian Ministry for Education has tried to implement 'Intercultural Learning' as a teaching principle in general school education. The aim is to prepare pupils with migrant background to 'better integrate' into Austrian society. Core component is the transmission of values, e.g. that one has to speak 'good' German, blend optically (e.g. not using a headscarf), and show a 'good' democratic attitude. The research project Music without Borders was conducted in schools with high percentages of 'migrant pupils' in Vienna, embedded in said system of values. Based on ethnography and qualitative research data, it addressed pupils' shifting (musical) identities. Identifications uttered by the children fluctuated between values, dependent on different situations, and on who they were talking to. Which conditions are "good" for pupils to disclose their own (musical) identities in school? Which abilities or skills do teachers understand as "useful", and for whom? Can the concept of "Intercultural Learning" -after almost 30 years of operation with disastrous results- still be applied when intending inclusion? The problems observed in the context of contemporary Austrian compulsory education shed much light on the difficulties among (young) adults and their attitudes towards immigrants or towards the host society, respectively. School education is a core condition, either 'good' or not, of inclusion.
From good immigrants to good citizens: mapping the space of conditional inclusion