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Reflections on Cultural Diversity Among Australian Higher Education Students

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This article analyses some of the educational experiences of a group of higher degree students from Adelaide University who reflect the cultural diversity to be found in contemporary multicultural Australia. Znaniecki (1930) contended that social conditions had changed to the extent that creative individuals were more important than uniformity of personal type and that the ultimate end of education as a social and cultural activity was self-education.

The approach adopted for data collection was the memoir methodology developed by Znaniecki. Memoir materials were collected from thirty-six higher degree students who came from both English speaking background (ESB) and non-English speaking background (NESB). The researchers divided the factors of influences into those related to ‘Guided’ and those that were ‘Self-generated’. The in-depth analysis enabled the significance of educational and cultural influences to be identified against the background of the writers’ social and cultural milieu.

Memoir analysis highlighted the extent to which Znaniecki’s concept of ‘Self-education’ had played an important role in the lives of all the participants as a creative and transforming process in the development of their personal cultural systems.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Adelaide

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • Educational Practice and Theory is a bi-annual, independent, refereed journal which, since its launch in 1978, has become an important independent forum for original ideas in education. It publishes innovative and original research in the area. Its focus is both applied and theoretical and it seeks articles from a diverse range of themes and countries.

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