Doctoral dissertation: discussions and critical self-reflection are the key when educating interculturally competent music teachers

Laura Miettinen haluaa luoda verkostoja musiikinopettajankouluttajien ja tutkijoiden välille.

In the future, music teacher programmes should be more committed to interculturality and take cultural diversity into account from a more holistic perspective. This is one of the findings from Laura Miettinen’s doctoral dissertation titled Visions through mobilizing networks: Co-developing intercultural music teacher education in Finland and Israel, which will be examined at Uniarts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy on 7 November.  

In her dissertation, Miettinen analysed how competent a Finnish music teacher education programme and an Israeli music teacher education programme are in taking interculturality and cultural diversity into account. With the help of interviews and workshops, she reviewed what music teacher educators at Uniarts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy and the Israeli Levinsky College of Education thought of interculturality and intercultural competence, i.e. attitudes, skills and knowledge that teachers need when facing cultural diversity in their work. The dissertation aims to increase understanding of how cultural diversity is – and could be – approached in music teacher education and how the change towards making music teacher education programmes more interculturally competent could be initiated.

“The goal of the research has been to build networks between music teacher educators and researchers. These networks will make it easier to pass on expertise and collectively produced new findings of what interculturally aware music education and music teacher education could entail even across national and institutional borders,” Miettinen explains.

The research project has already opened up dialogues and new platforms where people can share their experiences of facing cultural diversity and interculturality in music teacher education.

Focus on discussions, a comprehensive review of cultural competence and self-reflection

Miettinen finds that self-reflection and collective discussions play a key role when developing music teachers’ intercultural competence. Music teacher education programmes should strengthen the ability to engage in critical self-reflection and offer educators opportunities to discuss issues and experiences of intercultural music teaching together with their colleagues and students. According to Miettinen, intercultural competence in music teacher programmes should be examined from a more holistic and critical perspective. When we want to support and develop music teacher educators’ and future music teachers’ professional development, their programmes or even whole institutions amidst the challenges of an ever-changing global cultural climate, it is increasingly more important to be engaged in the issues of interculturality and cultural diversity and the development of related skills.  

Miettinen’s dissertation is part of the “Global Visions Through Mobilizing Networks” research project, and its results have been reported in two articles published in academic peer-reviewed journals and in three peer-reviewed book chapters.

Public defence of Laura Miettinen’s doctoral dissertation

7 November 2020 at 16:00, Helsinki Music Centre, Camerata Hall

Title of the dissertation: Visions through mobilizing networks: Co-developing intercultural music teacher education in Finland and Israel

Opponent: Professor Lori-Anne Dolloff, University of Toronto, Canada
Chair: Professor Heidi Westerlund
The public examination will be held in English.


Laura Miettinen

30 years of doctors of music from the Sibelius Academy

In 2020, it will be 30 years since the first Doctors of Music graduated from the Sibelius Academy. So far, over 200 graduates have completed a doctorate in music. The internationally esteemed and groundbreaking doctoral programmes offered by the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy train professionals for demanding expert positions in the arts, research and educational sector. This event is a part of the anniversary celebrations.