CFP Critical Thinking in Multilingual/Intercultural Education

Call for chapters
Abstracts by 15th Dec. 2014
Demystifying Critical Thinking in Multilingual and Intercultural Education

Edited by Fred Dervin (University of Helsinki, Finland) & Julie Byrd Clark (Western University, Canada)
To be published by Info Age Publishing in 2016
BOOK SERIES: Contemporary Language Education

Following a very successful volume on reflexivity in multilingual and intercultural language education (Routledge, 2014), the editors of this new volume wish to tackle the burning issue of Critical Thinking (CT). CT is often said to be a key skill of 21st century education and is very much used as a mantra by educational institutions without always defining it. The literature contains hundreds of definitions of CT but there is no consensus on a single definition. Thus ‘my CT’ does not always correspond to ‘your CT’.

One of the most basic definitions of CT could be: “The ability to interpret, analyse and evaluate ideas and arguments” (Fisher, 2011). In a study on views held by academics about CT, T. Moore (2013) found six definitional strands: CT (i) as judgment; (ii) as skepticism; (iii) as a simple originality; (iv) as sensitive readings; (v) as rationality; (vi) as an activist engagement with knowledge; and (vii) as self-reflexivity. One thing is for sure: CT involves developing certain dispositions (probing), skills (cognitive and meta-cognitive) and habits of mind (Costa & Kallick, 2009). Some scholars are interested in the reasoning process behind CT, others the outcomes. Yet again there is no agreement in global scholarship and practice about its components or simply its definition.

Recently the idea of CT has been criticized for at least two reasons. First CT can feel too negative for some, leading to equating CT with mere adversely criticizing others. According to Fisher (2011) some scholars have thus proposed to call it ‘critico-creative thinking’ to insist on its positive, imaginative aspects. Second CT has often been criticized for being too Western, to contain too many Western norms. In their 2011 article entitled Critical thinking and Chinese university students: a review of the evidence, Jing Tian and Graham David Low discuss the apparent lack of Chinese students’ CT skills. They question the usual argument that Chinese culture does not allow ‘criticality’ and show that the students’ previous learning experiences have an influence on their level of CT. CT is often used as a way of comparing educational ‘cultures’ – some have more of it than others – thus leading to unfair ethnocentric and homogenizing judgments (Holliday, 2010).

How do we then define this contested disposition, skill and habit of mind in order to make it useful? Is it possible? Can we work from definitions of CT that avoid creating hierarchies between learners and their ‘cultures’? Whose conceptions of critical thinking could we use to do so? Can we once and for all avoid falling into the trap of giving the privilege of CT to the ‘Western world’? In other words can CT be demystified?

This volume concentrates on the context of multilingual and intercultural education. Potential authors are welcome to consider the following questions:
–       What constitutes a critical thinker in multilingual and intercultural education in the 2010s? What dispositions, skills and habits of mind are needed? (Students, teachers, teacher educators and researchers)
–       How can CT contribute to renewing multilingual and intercultural education? What alternative models of CT can be used to enrich multilingual and intercultural education?
–       Can CT be taught and learnt? If so, how and in what ways and under what kinds of conditions?
–       If CT exists then what is uncritical thinking in multilingual and intercultural education?
–       Can digital technologies help to promote CT in multilingual and intercultural education?
–       The issue of assessing CT is problematic. Yet can CT be assessed summatively or formatively in multilingual and intercultural education?

Interested authors please send a 300-word abstract to the editors Fred Dervin & Julie Byrd Clark by 15th Dec. 2014. Full chapters should be ready by 1st Sept. 2015.

Fred Dervin Researcher Profile

Fred DervinFred Dervin is Professor of Multicultural Education at the University of Helsinki (Finland). Dervin also holds several professorships in Canada, Luxembourg and Malaysia. In May 2014 he was appointed Distinguished Professor at Baoji University of Arts and Sciences (China). Dervin has been visiting professor in Australia, Canada, China, Estonia, France, Hong Kong, and Portugal.

Prof. Dervin specializes in intercultural education, the sociology of multiculturalism and student and academic mobility. He defines his work as transdisciplinary, critical and reflexive. Inspired by E. Said (1993), he believes that “(…) giving up to specialization is, I have always felt, laziness, so you end up doing what others tell you, because that is your speciality after all.” His current definition of his approach to the ‘intercultural’ reads as follows: it is about giving the power to the powerless – ourselves included – to become aware of, recognize, push through and present/defend one’s diverse diversities, and those of our interlocutors”.

Dervin has widely published in international journals on identity, the ‘intercultural’ and mobility/migration in English, Finnish and French. He has published over 20 books: Politics of Interculturality (co-edited with Anne Lavanchy and Anahy Gajardo, Newcastle: CSP, 2011), Impostures Interculturelles (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2012) and Linguistics for Intercultural Education (co-edited with Tony Liddicoat, New York: Benjamins, 2013). The following volumes are forthcoming: Researching Identity and Interculturality (with Karen Risager, Routledge, 2014), Chinese Students and Scholars in the Global Community: Challenges of Integration (special issue of Frontiers in Education, 2014), Cultural Essentialism in intercultural Relations (with Regis Machart, Palgrave, 2014). Fred Dervin is the series editor of Education beyond borders (Peter Lang)Nordic Studies on Diversity in Education (with Kulbrandstad and Ragnarsdóttir; CSP), Post-intercultural communication and education (CSP) and Palgrave Studies on Chinese Education in a Global Perspective (Palgrave with Xiangyun Du). He is the Editor-in-Chief of The International Journal of Education For Diversities. His website:

CFP Intercultural Competence in Communication and Education (Malaysia)

Call For Papers
(Deadline for submissions: 31st December 2014)

International Conference on
Intercultural Competence in Communication and Education (ICCEd-2015)
8-9 April 2015

Presented by the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication,
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
In cooperation with the Department of Teacher Education, University of Helsinki, Finland and the Helsinki School of Interculturality

Plenary speakers:
*Adrian Holliday, Professor
University of Canterbury Christ Church, United Kingdom
*Fred Dervin, Professor
University of Helsinki, Finland
*Ingrid Piller, Professor
Macquarie University, Australia
*Ezhar Tamam, Professor
Universiti Putra Malaysia

About the Conference
Contradictorily the concept of intercultural competence is both polysemic and empty at the same time. Researchers, practitioners but also decision makers use it almost mechanically without always worrying about its meaning(s), the ideologies it represents, the impact(s) it has on those who are embedded in its discussions and the injustice it can (too easily) lead to such as neo-racism. A few ‘usual suspects’ – mostly derived from English-speaking researchers/practitioners who enjoy prestige thanks to the symbolic violence of English as a World Language and/or prestigious supranational support – whose work is systematically (and uncritically) mentioned have often managed volens nolens to keep mainstream global understandings of intercultural competence simplified, fuzzy, idealistic and/or unrealistic. For example the ‘faulty’ keywords of culture, tolerance and respect are still present in discussions of intercultural competence.

This call for papers is interested in new, critical and original discussions and approaches to intercultural competence that go beyond these problematic ‘macdonaldised’ models and ‘reinventing the wheel’ perspectives. The conference is interdisciplinary and covers the ‘broad’ fields of communication and education.

The organisers are looking for contributions which are questioning the most ‘influential’ models of intercultural competence and/or who have attempted (un)successfully to develop new understandings and models of intercultural competence. The organisers wish to promote the idea that failure is also inherent to intercultural competence. The question of assessment can be touched upon but the idea that intercultural competence can be summatively assessed should be abandoned. The organisers consider intercultural competence to be synonymous with multicultural competence, cross-cultural competence, global competence, etc. as these labels are also unstable and have many different meanings.

The organisers are especially interested in fresh perspectives from all parts of the world. Historical/diachronic papers ‘denouncing’ reinventing the wheel approaches as well as alternative methods and approaches are very welcome (e.g. use of bodily experiences).

The following themes (among others) can be dealt with:
–  What’s wrong with current approaches? What mistakes have been made in the past and today – especially from researchers’ perspectives?
–  What are the myths around the concept of intercultural competence?
–  Is the idea of intercultural competence a thing of the past? How does it compare to intracultural competence (if such a thing exists)?
–  Can the idea of intercultural competence be really useful for conflictual situations? How can we explain conflicts – which are necessary – beyond the usual suspect of cultural difference?
–   What can we do with old and tired concepts such as identity, culture and community when we talk about intercultural competence?
– How is Intercultural competence understood/taken into consideration in the context of Arabic/English/French/Mandarin… as a lingua franca?
– How do students and e.g. mobile students understand intercultural competence? What seems to influence them?
– How is the ‘teaching’ of intercultural competence implemented in second/foreign language classrooms? Does it echo the teaching of intercultural competence in communication/ management and vice versa?
–  (How) can we move from an individualistic approach to intercultural competence to interactive and co-constructivist ones?
– With increasing use of digital technologies, how does intercultural competence fare?
–  Can neurosciences contribute to renewing the idea of intercultural competence? What about art, music, etc.?

Proposal submission
We invite scholars and professionals to submit proposals (in English) before 31st December 2014. Abstracts should be submitted by email.
Please embed your abstract in the body of your message – no attachment!

Paper and colloquia proposals are invited.
1 Individual paper proposals (200-300 words; duration: 30 minutes including a twenty-minute presentation, with an additional ten minutes for discussion).
2 Colloquia proposals (200 words for the colloquium concept and 200-300 words on each paper, duration: 3h, max. 5 participants – conveners and discussant included)

Please note that only one paper per person can be submitted.
Abstracts will be reviewed by the scientific committee for originality, significance, clarity and academic rigour. Decisions about the submitted papers: 15 January 2015

International publications will report on the conference in 2016-2017 (information forthcoming).

Registrations fees:
Early bird (by 31 January 2015):
•    Local presenters/participants: RM400
•    Local students: RM250
•    International presenters/ participants: US175
•    International students: US145

Registration (1 February- 1 April 2015):
•    Local presenters/ participants RM500
•    Local Students: RM350
•    International presenters/participants US220
•    International students: US190

•    Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia
•    University of Helsinki, Finland
•    Helsinki School of Interculturality, Finland

Scientific Chairs and Chairs of the Organizing Committee:
•    Chairperson: Dr. Régis Machart, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
•    Deputy Chairperson, Head of the Scientific Committee: Prof. Fred Dervin, University of Helsinki, Finland

International Scientific Committee:
•    Andreotti Vanessa, University of British Columbia, Canada
•    Baker Will, University of Southampton, UK
•    Barbot Marie-José, University of Lille, France
•    Brunila Kristiina, University of Helsinki, Finland
•    Byrd Clark Julie, University of Western, Canada
•    C. K. Raju, Albukhari International University, Malaysia
•    Du Xiangyun, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
•    Holmes Prue, Durham University, UK
•    Kaur Jagdish, University Malaya, Malaysia
•    Kyeyune Robinah, Makerere University, Uganda
•    Phipps Alison, University of Glasgow, UK
•    Risager Karen, University of Roskilde, Denmark
•    Skyrme Gillian, Massey University, New Zealand
•    Trémion Virginie, Catholic University of Paris, France
•    Tushar Chauduri, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
•    Wolf Alain, University of East Anglia, UK
•    Zotzmann Karin, University of Southampton, U