Learning from Differences

Towards Professionalism via an International Course


  • Virginija Bortkeviciene Vytautas Magnus University
  • Hermina Gunnthorsdottir University of Akureyri
  • Karin Hjaelmeskog Uppsala University
  • Ilze Ivanova University of Latvia
  • Katriina Maaranen University of Helsinki
  • Brit Steinsvik Oslo Metropolitan University




professionalism, professional teacher, reflective professionals, teacher education


This paper presents a case study of an intensive international course aimed at pre-service teachers and having a focus on inclusion. The course was funded by Nordplus. Twenty-three students from six Baltic and Nordic countries were interviewed during and after the course on their views on professionalism and their future work as teachers. The results show that the students’ understanding of professionalism was multifaceted, and they had gained several experiences of professionalism during the course. One of the main results of this study is, in our opinion, the co-operation and the opportunities the intensive course afforded the students in developing skills to work together with different people, to appreciate difference and to learn from others. In other words, to become more open-minded. This allows us to conclude that students can be trained to consider the importance and understanding of knowledge and its use for now and in the future. Thus, providing such short-term international opportunities is an important part of studying and becoming a teacher or social pedagogue for the globalized future.



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How to Cite

Bortkeviciene, V., Gunnthorsdottir, H., Hjaelmeskog, K., Ivanova, I., Maaranen, K., & Steinsvik, B. (2018). Learning from Differences: Towards Professionalism via an International Course. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 2(4), 21–36. https://doi.org/10.7577/njcie.2731