Our era is characterized by massive movements of human populations due to wars, climate change, extreme poverty etc. These movements impose the need of an education which will introduce the intercultural aspect in the multicultural societies. Even the most heavily protected countries that construct fences and walls, will not be able in the near future to escape the immigrant flows, unless the causes of the migration were confronted and resolved. The modern societies find themselves in front of a big challenge: transform the multicultural society into an intercultural and democratic one.
Intercultural Education is a response to the challenge to provide quality education for all. It is framed within a Human Rights perspective as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948): Education shall be directed to the full development of human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial and religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.1
In a world experiencing rapid change, and where cultural, political, economic and social upheaval challenges traditional ways of life, education has a major role to play in promoting social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. Through programmes that encourage dialogue between students of different cultures, beliefs and religions, education can make an important and meaningful contribution to sustainable and tolerant societies.
The distinct aims of Intercultural Education can be summarized under the headings of ‘the four pillars of education’ as identified by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century21. According to the conclusions of the Commission, education should be broadly based on the pillars of:
1. Learning to know, by “combining sufficiently broad general knowledge with the opportunity to work in-depth on a small number of projects. The Commission further states that “a general education brings a person into contact with other languages and areas of knowledge, and… makes communication possible”; these results of a general education represent some of the fundamental skills to be transmitted through intercultural education. 2. Learning to do, in order to “acquire not only an occupational skill but also, more broadly, the competence to deal with many situations and to work in teams.” In the national and international context, learning to do also includes the acquisition of necessary competencies that enable the individual to find a place in society.
3. Learning to live together, by “developing an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence – carrying out joint projects and learning to manage conflicts – in a spirit of respect for the values of pluralism, mutual understanding… peace” and cultural diversity. In short, the learner needs to acquire knowledge, skills and values that contribute to a spirit of solidarity and co-operation among diverse individuals and groups in society.
4. Learning to be, “so as to better develop one’s personality and be able to act with ever greater autonomy, judgement and personal responsibility. In that respect, education must not disregard any aspect of a person’s potential…” such as his or her cultural potential, and it must be based on the right to difference. These values strengthen a sense of identity and personal meaning for the learner, as well as benefi ting their cognitive capacity.
The course is structured on these 4 different modules:
$1· Learning to know
$1· Learning to do
$1· Learning to live together
$1· Learning to be,
This course employs a variety of teaching-learning approaches and methods. There is a mix of workshops, with presentations and lectures, self and team reflection, pair work, small group activities, peer teaching sessions, simulations and role playing sessions, problem solving activities and case studies. Partly web based training and video will be employed to enrich the learning experience and efficiency. The field work will also influence the overall outcome of the course
The participants will receive suggestions for reading material in order to prepare for the course well in advance. Visiting the webpage www.aeiforum.eu where much of relevant information is available is highly recommended.
The participants will be asked to fill in a special questionnaire about their training needs before the course. They will also be asked to prepare a presentation about their school’s daily operation and their country.
By the end of the course participants are asked to reflect on their learning experience and report accordingly. They will also be asked to fill in an evaluation questionnaire about the fulfillment or not of their expectations. At the website www.aeiforum.eu, the participants will have the opportunity to submit their ideas, share their experience and suggest new ideas.
The course is organised by Aeiforuman NGO, specialized in school improvements. The trainers have a broad experience in teaching and learning methods, quality management and change management.
EDUCATIONAL SECTOR OF THE PARTICIPANTS