School of Education News

Vialogues showcases Li-Ching Ho’s research examining ‘Social Harmony and Diversity’

August 21, 2018

The research of UW-Madison’s Li-Ching Ho that examines “Social Harmony and Diversity” was in a recent Vialogues video.

Li-Ching is an associate professor with the School of Education's Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Vialogues is a community of learners that center discussion through video. The video showcasing Li-Ching examines a study that she authored and that appeared in the Teachers College Record titled, “Social Harmony and Diversity: The Affordances and Constraints of Harmony as an Educational Goal.”

View the Li-Ching Ho video hereThe paper's abstract notes that there is a “pressing need to consider how citizens should live together, especially in societies that are increasingly ethnically and politically diverse. Even though multicultural education is constructed very differently and serves very different purposes in different national contexts, relatively little attention has been paid to how education systems of countries such as China, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates give greater emphasis to the concepts of harmony and social cohesion.”

The abstract concludes: “By illustrating some of the affordances and constraints of incorporating harmony as an educational goal, this study offers multicultural education scholars and teacher educators an opportunity to better understand some of the ways in which multicultural education is conceptualized in East Asian countries with strong Confucian traditions. The findings from this study suggest that a focus on harmony as an educational goal may help facilitate a move away from programs that emphasize the development of individual students’ social and political competencies towards programs and policies designed to promote communal trust and social cohesion. Finally, this study illustrates some of the challenges teachers face when balancing the goals of building trust and harmony within society and interrogating entrenched interests, institutional inequality, and unequal power relations.”

To learn much more, check out the Vialogues video with Li-Ching explaining this work.

• Li-Ching also recently published an op-ed on this topic for Channel NewsAsia. Read the full opinion piece online, headlined "Maintaining racial harmony requires us to have a frank discussion about differences."

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