Module 1

Introduction to Culture and Diversity for Prospective Mathematics and Science Teachers


This module is part of:
  • Personal dimension: values, attitudes and intercultural competences of prospective teachers;
  • Mathematics and Science Subject dimension: (inter)cultural perspectives on the subjects themselves;
  • Mathematics and Science Education dimension: pedagogical issues, in particular in respect to dealing with diversity in classrooms.
General overview and aim

In this module future teachers in initial teacher education are introduced to intercultural learning in Science and Mathematics. The intention is to make students familiar with the topic by giving them concrete examples and connect these examples to a broader theoretical background. They will learn important definitions related to intercultural learning in general and then will connect intercultural learning to science and mathematics education. At the end of this introductory module students will get an overview about the modules to follow.

The module was designed on the one hand so as to be relevant to day-to-day teaching. Therefore concrete situations were chosen to make students experience challenges in connection to cultural diversity. On the other hand we also provide the theoretical background to balance theory and practice and connect both aspects. The methods chosen prioritize students’ active learning.

Module 1 is an introductory module and therefore has crosslinks to other modules. These crosslinks are intended and a strength of the approach as they help to deepen the knowledge on a certain aspect and to shed light on it from different perspectives. They also serve the purpose that the individual modules also can be used as stand-alone modules. If several modules are used it is of course the decision of the user whether or not he uses them.

This in particular refers to task where students are asked to deal with a task in a different language so as to make them experience how students with migrant background feel. You will find such a task in module 1, where students are asked to deal with an mathematics task in French, in module 9, we use a video in Finnish to track ‘language difficulties’ in understanding science concepts, and to identify what can be understood (universal understandings in science) and what not (due to another language).

Relevant topics

In this introduction high emphasis is set on introducing the theoretical basis and connecting it to science and mathematics education. Students will learn about relevant definitions but also experience the cultural situatedness of science and mathematics. We will also point to the following exemplary challenges in connection to science and mathematics education

  • Different algorithms
  • Contexts which are difficult to understand
  • Different ways of solutions
  • Different syllabus
  • Language Difficulties.
Learning Outcomes

Students will acquire:


  • An awareness for the necessity of intercultural competences (Activity 1.1 and all other activities)
  • Knowledge on definitions in relation to intercultural learning (Intercultural competence, Intercultural communication, Culture and Cultural identity, Diversity (Activities 2.1 – 2.3)
  • Knowledge about the cultural situatedness of science and mathematics (Activity 3.1 and 3.2)
  • An awareness about how this cultural situatedness impacts on mathematics and science education (Activity 3.1 and 3.2)
  • Experience such challenges students from different cultural backgrounds might experience in science and mathematics teaching and reflect on ways to overcome them (Activity 3.3)
  • Knowledge about different syllabus in different countries and reflect on ways to overcome them (Activity 3.4)
Module (Teacher)

pdf    doc

Worksheets (Students)

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Lecture Presentation




Materials also available in other languages

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