Interrogating the promise of a whole-school approach to intercultural education: An Australian investigation

Sarah OHI, Joanne O’MARA, Ruth ARBER, Catherine HARTUNG, Gary SHAW, Christine Margaret HALSE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Intercultural education (ICE) is a priority for schools and schooling systems worldwide. While extensive policy and academic literature exists that describes how ICE should be done in schools, relatively little has been published about the pragmatics of implementing and enacting ICE, despite evidence that principals, teachers and schools feel ill equipped to teach and engage in ICE. This article investigates how schools implementing ICE are confronted with distinctive challenges. Engaging methodological tools of social constructivism (Denzin and Lincoln, 2005) and an analytical lens supported by social cultural theories of identity and representation (Hall, 1997; Gee, 2004), we argue that the everyday experiences and practices of teachers need be explored, but also interrogated and understood otherwise (Lather, 1991). We draw on qualitative data from a large-scale study conducted in schools in Victoria, Australia. We present three vignettes that elucidate how ICE was enacted at the principal, curriculum and teacher levels. Each vignette is based upon a key challenge confronted by schools and illustrates the processes different schools used to tackle these issues and to embed ICE into the daily schooling practice. Copyright © 2018 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-247
JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal
Issue number2
Early online dateOct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019



Ohi, S., O’Mara, J., Arber, R., Hartung, C., Shaw, G., & Halse, C. (2019). Interrogating the promise of a whole-school approach to intercultural education: An Australian investigation. European Educational Research Journal, 18(2), 234-247. doi: 10.1177/1474904118796908


  • Intercultural
  • Intercultural education
  • Multiculturalism
  • Schooling
  • Teachers
  • Professional knowledge
  • Racism