A Pedagogical Stance on Internationalising Education An empirical study of Swedish nurse education from the perspectives of students and teachers

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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The development of higher education in the Western countries involves ideas of internationalisation, included in curricular objectives. Policy-makers stipulate internationalisation ideologies, from a politico-economic perspective, where ideas about flows of various cultural elements are incorporated in visionary idealistic terms. Nevertheless teachers and students and others concerned with higher education, experience the nature and meaning of "internationalising higher education" and "an internationalised teaching and learning" as vague, ambiguous and difficult to transfer into educational practice. This thesis investigates the phenomenon of internationalisation through an empirical approach, focusing on the experiences of teachers and students.

The aim was to describe teachers´ and students´ experiences of internationalisation related to their educational context, as well as their experiences of aspects of internationalisation in a wider sense. Precise predefinitions were avoided due to an explorative research approach. An empirical investigation comprising four studies was conducted, involving interviews with students (studies I and II) and teachers (study IV) and a survey study involving teachers (study III) all participating in the basic program in the Swedish nurse education within higher education. A phenomenographic approach was used in the data collections and analyses.

The main results of the empirical study show that students hold qualitatively different understandings of internationalisation, also, the ways they structure their thinking about the phenomenon varies (studies I and II). The results show, that teachers understanding of internationalising higher education and their approach to an internationalised teaching and learning did not represent a shared culture and there was no shared curriculum including a distinct understanding of internationalisation (studies III and IV). Some students and teachers related personal growth to the learning of intercultural content.

Internationalisation of higher education has primarily been related to a broader post-industrial worldwide policy development, and to processes of techno-structural political and economical worldwide forces, and forces of internationalisation ideologies in terms of intentions and objectives. The presence of a pedagogical and didactical perspective on the issue, "internationalisation of higher education", is clearly insufficient represented as a basis for understanding and concretising curricular objectives of internationalisation. Drawing from the thesis results, arguments are put forward emphasising a need to change/turn the focus towards how we deal with internationalisation of higher education. It is asserted that from a pedagogical and didactical stance there is a need for a development of a curriculum theory including internationalisation. The overall conclusion is that it will be a great challenge for policymakers as well as teachers, to address internationalisation of the Swedish nursing education within higher education from a pedagogical and didactical stance, when aiming at supporting students in their development of international competencies and capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Health Sciences
  • Svensson, Lennart, Supervisor
Award date2005 Sept 23
ISBN (Print)91-628-6593-5
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2005-09-23
Time: 10:00
Place: Eden´s Auditorium, Paradisgatan 2, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Dahlin, Bo
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Karlstad University


The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Nursing (Closed 2012) (013065000), Education (012013003)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Educational Sciences
  • Health Sciences

Free keywords

  • Higher Education
  • Phenomenography
  • Internationalisation
  • Understanding
  • Globalisation
  • Curricular Objectives
  • Curriculum Theory Pedagogical/Didactical Awareness Teaching and Learning
  • Conceptualisation
  • The Swedish Nurse Education
  • Context
  • Experience
  • Meaning
  • Pedagogik
  • Personal Growth
  • Pedagogy and didactics
  • didaktikSoTL


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