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Intercultural curriculum of military schools


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Kozina, Andrija. (2018). Intercultural curriculum of military schools. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Pedagogy.
(PDS Pedagogija) [mentor Previšić, Vlatko].

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Croatian Armed Forces members encounter interculturalism on a daily basis as soldiers, NCOs and officers in NATO and EU multinational headquarters, either as members of peace support operations, peacekeeping operations or UN organizations. Intercultural education should be dedicated to the entire society and not only to smaller or detached groups in order to be efficient. Intercultural education has a dynamic approach to identity and culture. It is in constant interaction, re-examining its procedures which it develops and adjusts to the newly emerging situation. Intercultural education and training have taken over the role of mutual recognition of, familiarization with and understanding of different cultures. It is directed at developing experience that a person acquires among various nations and different cultures. The paper states that the development of an intercultural curriculum of military schools is imperative for military education which is specific in itself, especially intercultural military education. Its development will ensure a more quality work with members of other military organizations in multinational headquarters and with other partners, such as the police, governmental and non-governmental organizations and the UN. In our opinion, intercultural education cannot be studied separately or within certain projects or subjects. It is important to include intercultural perspective in all disciplines, all military school subjects and in all planned activities. In the Introduction, the author introduces a motivation for dealing with the topic, shortly introduces the need for intercultural education in the Croatian Armed Forces and need to define the role of military schools for development of intercultural competencies. Further is given a review of previous research that has opened up the possibility of intercultural education of today’s leaders who must develop intercultural competencies so that they can lead their subordinates well and safely reach final desirable state of any military operation. The need for continuous education and training of soldiers and officers has been emphasized in order to create an understanding between the country’s and domestic culture in the field of military operations (Obilisteanu, 2011), citing the general pedagogical determinants of the intercultural curriculum for the military school. In the first chapter titled Interculturalism in Contemporary Upbringing and Education, the differences of interculturalism, the distinctiveness of interculturalism and intercultural dialogue, interculturalism and multiculturalism, the types of multicultural structures, intercultural relations, the importance of intercultural education and the necessary knowledge of interculturalism are defined and displayed. Continuing, various conceptual definitions of interculturalism as a dynamic correlation between cultures (Perotti, 1995; Previšić, 1999), the interconnection of different cultures (Jojić, Matasović, 2002) the understanding and compassion of others (Cantle, 2013) are described. The transition to interculturalism as a new social phenomenon from melting pot and multiculturalism is presented (Meer, Modood 2013; Wilson, 2013). The basic tasks of intercultural education and education focused on the fundamental areas of culture and intercultural relations, understanding their own and other cultures, diversity of the world, plural communities, identity development, cultural sensitivity and multilingual competence, understanding of the consequences of discrimination, development of non-stereotype thinking, anti-prejudicial attitudes, tolerance and solidarity and the training of young people for a critical approach to global culture (Bedeković, Zrilić, 2014). The second chapter titled The Curriculum Theoretical Approach to Upbringing and Education theoretically elaborates the concepts of types, kinds, and structures of the curriculum. Curriculum definitions can be categorized in a number of ways - from very specific and prescriptive to very broad and general (Poljak, 1984, Jackson 1992, Anić, 1999, Matijević, 2002, Previšić 2007, Jukić, 2010, Null, 2011). The offered definitions do not exclude each other but emphasize different elements of the curriculum. The division of the curriculum was carried out according to official curriculum levels, levels of the institution, teacher levels, levels of educational realization, national curriculum, school curriculum, curriculum, student curriculum and special curriculum (Miljak, 1996, Strugar, 2012). The main purpose of curriculum development is to define the best solution that will enable trainees to achieve certain learning outcomes. The second chapter ends with the definition of a hidden curriculum that occurs in classrooms, teacher halls, lecture halls and places out of the educational system. These are the values, attitudes, norms, beliefs taught by teachers in school because of the way they work, due to the hierarchical division of work between teachers and students, the alienated character of attendance and fragmentation in work. (Bowles, Gints, 1976, McCutcheon, 1982, Apple, 1990, Marsh, 1994, Bašić, 2000, Pastuović, 2010, Giroux, 2011). In the third chapter, Military Schools in the Structure of Education a brief history of military education from ancient Egypt until the beginning of the Homeland Defense War in 1991 has been presented. Major stages in the development of the military education system of the Homeland War, the post-war period, the period of functional restructuring, the unique higher education military establishment, the transformation into a higher education and scientific research institution, and the implementation of actions and procedures for the entry of the Croatian Defense Academy into the academic community are clearly defined. The basic differences between military education, military professional education and training are listed. A model for the development of the leader in Croatian Armed Forces has been developed, consisting of four domains: operational, professional, institutional and self-development and four basic pillars: the training, military education, professional military education and experience that support these domains. Military schools operating within the Croatian Defense Academy (NCO School, Basic Officers’ School, Advanced Officers’ School, Integrated Service Command School and War College) are presented. The fourth chapter of the theoretical part entitled Culture of Military Schools, discusses culture as a lifestyle of synthetic definition of culture as a collective programming of the mind (Hofstede, 1998), dialectical relation between artificial and natural (Eagleton, 2000), culture as a specific territory of different communities Mesić, 2006), trees where roots are the basic habit, solid values and appearance are the outer parts of the tree (Biloslavo 2007) and culture as production (Cifrić, 2009). Culture is defined through a military organization, where culture is a system of shared beliefs, values, customs and behaviors, something that is taught, something in common within all members of a certain society, something changeable, something arbitrary, and something that is considered common (Counterinsurgency Field Manual, 2006). At birth, people do not have any knowledge of culture as it’s learned, transcended through generations, symbolic, dynamic and ethnocentric (Supek, 1989; Schein, 2010; Connerly, Pedersen, 2005; McDaniel, Samovar, 2015). Most military schools have clearly defined values that are respected by all school attendants such as loyalty, duty, selflessness, honor, integrity, and personal courage. The culture of the military school affects relationships, expectations, and behaviors among teachers, administrative staff, participants and the environment. In the chapter Intercultural Relations in the Military Environment, the intercultural relations that are important in the implementation of peace-support operations are defined and presented. There are three key features that enable learning and adaptation to unknown cultures: knowledge, skills, and attributes. These can be influenced by education, training, and development of experiences (Torgersen, 2008). Military education is in itself specific and especially intercultural military education. It enables officers not only for quality work with members of other military organizations in multinational headquarters but also for working with other partners such as police forces, NGOs and government organizations, as well as working with the UN. In the sixth chapter of the theoretical part, titled Key Competency of Officers, the relationship between the key competencies of officers, military competences, key competencies of the military leader, and intercultural competence of the officers are shown. Three areas of competence can be identified: as efficiency, as success and ability (Schultheiss, Brunstein, 2005). Military competencies are presented as meta-competition that is essential for every officer, namely: identity, mental adaptability, cross-cultural intelligence, interpersonal maturity, world warrior and expertise. Each officer is at the same time a leader so key competencies of a military leader are needed: to be the leader, to spread the influence outside the command chain, to lead by example, to be communicative, to create a positive atmosphere, to be prepared for the task and to enable the development of the subordinates and to be able to use the obtained results (Mayer, 1992; Wong, 2003; Gay, 2008). There are four components of intercultural competence: motivation, knowledge, skills, and character (Samovar, Porter, Mc Daniel, 2013). The author starts from the fact that officers cannot suddenly acquire all the necessary intercultural competences, but will by gradual education and participation in the implementation of various types of military operations (war or non-war) gradually develop them. The subject of the research of the doctoral dissertation is to examine the knowledge, attitudes, and opinions of military personnel on interculturalism as a contemporary social phenomenon at the Croatian Defense Academy “Dr. Franjo Tuđman”, the only higher education institution of the Croatian Armed Forces. The purpose of the research was to examine attitudes of military school attendants to the characteristic values of European democracy, members of national and ethnic groups, and the level of intercultural competence of military teachers. Analyzing curricula will try to determine how intercultural competencies are developed. The aim of the research is to establish the correlation between teaching curricula and the quality of teaching at the Croatian Defense Academy with the level of acceptance of interculturalism among military school attendants, respectively how the so far developed curricula and programs develop the intercultural competencies of the participants. The level of social closeness and distance of military school attendants towards members of certain national and ethnic groups, attitudes (prejudices) of attendees by sex and the intercultural competence of military teachers will be established. Considering the aims of the research, the following hypotheses have been set: H1: There is no correlation between the teaching implementation and the level of acceptance of interculturalism among military school attendants. H2: Military schools attendees show closer relations between members of individual national and ethnic groups, while others point to greater social distances. H3: Teaching curricula and military school programs are not linked to encouraging positive attitudes towards interculturalism. H4: Intercultural competences of teachers and affirmative attitudes towards the participation of the members of the Croatian Armed Forces in peace support operations are good predictors of positive attitudes on interculturalism. The objectives of the research are, first of all, to examine attitudes of military school attendants (N = 187) according to the characteristic values of European democracy, members of national and ethnic groups and the level of intercultural competence of military teachers (N = 60). The measuring instrument is constructed from highly reliable and verified questionnaires, Interculturalism Research in Military Schools (tailored to the needs of the Hofstede research model of national culture analysis, adapted to the questionnaire used in the framework of the School curriculum project and the features of Croatian National Culture at the Department of Pedagogy at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, University of Zagreb, 1993), Multicultural Competencies Survey (Vassallo, 2012) and Sociodemographic characteristics of respondents constructed for the purpose of this research. The basic descriptive statistics (central tendency measures, variance measures, distribution specificity: asymmetry, flattening) was used for processing data within the differential design of the parametric tests: ANOVA (Scheffé’s post hoc test), one-sample t-test, robust tests - Brown-Forsythe test, Welche test, Kolmogorov-Smirnov test (for testing distribution normality) and Levene test (homogeneity of variance). The data were processed using the SPSS statistical program. Empirical research identified low social distances, as well as the existence of certain prejudices against particular national and ethnic groups. Training did not appear to be a variable that affects the differences in attitudes of research participants. Analyzing curricula, it has been shown that some teaching subjects partly support intercultural education. By analyzing curricula, a curriculum has been identified within individual subjects, which partly include intercultural contents. Therefore, intercultural competences of military school attendants are at questionable level. We suggest introducing intercultural content to the curriculum, and as a significant predictor, the participation of teachers in peace support operations is emphasized, emphasizing the importance of the action dimension of attitudes. After an insight into the results of the research, we are of the opinion that the intercultural curriculum of military schools should be a mixed type of curriculum opening greater opportunities for teachers. The conducted research has confirmed that the level of the acquired officer training did not prove to be a discriminating estimate of the knowledge of history, customs and postulates and religious customs as parts of the intercultural domain. However, in the above-mentioned sub-classes (the level of the acquired officer training), statistically significant differences in the assessment of the level of language and art knowledge (only a few particles) have been confirmed as intercultural dimensions. That is why it is important to emphasize the elements of interculturality, including language, art, history, customs, and knowledge of the religious postulates and the customs of other cultures. It is emphasized that military education should build an officer who has a personal and cultural identity but also accepts a different cultural, social, moral and spiritual legacy. Although the social distance of the examinees is low, there are certain prejudices (social distances) towards members of certain national and ethnic groups and to particular religious communities. It is noticed that the participants of the research show prejudices (stereotypes) towards national and ethnic groups and that there are no major deviations in prejudices depending on the levels of the officer training. A special scientific contribution in this paper is in the empirical part of the research. Analyzing the data provided an insight into attitudes of military schools attendees about democratic values of society, prejudices of respondents to national and ethnic groups, prejudices of attendees by gender, accepted some elements of the culture of national and ethnic groups for social distance to national and ethnic groups. By analyzing the curricula of military schools, at three levels of education, it was found that it partially supports intercultural education.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: European Democratic Values, Intercultural Competencies, Intercultural Curriculum, Hidden Curriculum, Social Distance, Stereotypes, Military Culture, Military Education, Military Training, Military Schools
Subjects: Pedagogy
Departments: Department of Pedagogy
Supervisor: Previšić, Vlatko
Additional Information: PDS Pedagogija
Date Deposited: 14 May 2019 09:28
Last Modified: 14 May 2019 09:28

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