Formación para la ciudadanía intercultural en educación infantil. ¿Qué sucedeen las universidades valencianas? (Training for intercultural citizenship in early childhood education. What is happening in the Valencian universities?)

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Profesorado. Revista de Curriculum y Formación del Profesorado , Volume Volume 20, Issue Issue 2, p.328-348 (2016)



The study looks at the extent and the manner, in which the concept of interculturality, promoted by educational legislation in Valencia, is reflected in graduate level early childhood teacher training programs at universities in the region. It does so through a curriculum analysis that pays special attention to music courses offered in early childhood education degree programmes. The author finds that the examined programs and specific music courses entail certain elements of a multicultural education model and develops targeted recommendations for improvement that will allow future educators to lay the foundation for interculturality in the Valencian society at an early stage.


Research Context

The study looks at the extent and the manner, in which the concept of interculturality is reflected in graduate level early childhood teacher training programs at universities in Valencia. It is driven by a concern that a significant percentage of the students in early childhood education centers in Valencia are from foreign origin and have the right to quality education imparted by professional educators with capacities to foster an intercultural educational process in a pluricultural context as noted in relevant regional legislation. Given the recognized potential of music education to contribute to fostering intercultural competencies and to intercultural education, the study pays specific attention to pedagogical courses related to music education in the examined programs.

Theoretical Approach

Theoretically, the study distinguishes between the concepts of pluriculturality, multiculturality and interculturality and uses this theoretical distinction as a basis for the empirical evaluation of the examined teacher training programs and the courses related to music education within them. Specifically, the author defines pluriculturality as the simultaneous presence on the same territory of different cultural groups that can (but may not) involve interaction between and among them. Multiculturality is defined as the coexistence of people with different cultural characteristics on a given territory based on a recognition of and respect for the differences of other. Unlike multiculturality, interacturality is defined as a type of coexistence that involves mutually-enriching interaction among people with different cultural characteristics. It understands culture as dynamic and constantly changing and cultural differences as potentially enriching elements in the construction of a shared culture. Given this distinction, different educational models can be identified and the author examines the pedagogical programs in Valencian universities and the music courses within them against this theoretical framework.

Research Methodology

The study is based on a two-stage qualitative assessment focused on curriculum analysis. First, the author looks at the overall early childhood teacher training programs of three universities in Valencia as a basis for the identification of subjects, through which the topic of pluriculturality is treated and integrated in the educational program. Second, the syllabuses of courses related to music education are examined and analysed in more depth with view of identifying the specific educational model in relation to pluriculturality they promote. Based on the analysis a set of recommendations for improvement are developed.


The general analysis of the examined early childhood teacher training programs finds that while the question of diversity among the student body is recognized in all the programs, cultural diversity per se is generally treated in the framework of courses focused toteaching students with special learning needs. With respect to courses related to music education more concretely, while some references to cultural diversity were found in the examined syllabuses, they were few and focused on highlighting differences in musical traditions among different cultures, in line with the concept of multiculturality, rather than commonalities and possibilities for intercultural exchange and interaction through the medium of music and dance education in line with the concept of interculturality. With view of the above, the author develops a range of targeted suggestions for integrating the concept of interculturality in the examined early childhood music education courses through a focus on improvisation, joint creation, a search for shared traditions and values among different cultural traditions, enhanced inter-personal communication through the language of music and attention to the realities of the classrooms. She also recommends the development of specialized courses that enable future educators to get acquainted with the concepts of pluriculturality, multiculturality and interculturality and to acquire the pedagogical basis for putting the concept of intercultural education in practice.