|A Sense of Belonging - Guidelines for Values for the Humanistic and International Dimension of Education (CIDREE - UNESCO, 1983, 31 p.)|
Educational establishments will find that the internationalisation of the curriculum provides a wide range of challenges and opportunities, some concerned with content and some with organisation. Regardless of a schools particular focus there are principles that are prerequisites for any school intent on developing an adequate international and intercultural dimension. Intercultural education should:
· recognise the interactions that take place between cultures
· recognise the value of different cultures in a way which does not hide relations of dominance but enhances the status of migrants cultures.
· be a principle which underpins all school activity
· challenge socially biased and ethnocentric assessment criteria
· introduce the intercultural approach in all areas of the organisation and life of the school
· develop mutual solidarity and acceptance in the living community of the school
· recognise and value the symbolic role of the presence of mother tongues in the school
· promote a pluralistic approach to the acquisition of knowledge
· recognise the potential of the arts to develop an appreciation of different cultures
· promote intercultural activity among pupils and recognise that it depends on the quality of co-operation in teaching teams and between indigenous and foreign teachers
· promote communications between the school the home, the social environment in which the children live and the whole community, both migrant and indigenous
· recognise that intercultural education provides a perspective which concerns both the countries of origin and the host countries and which calls for solidarity between countries with differing levels of resources
· develop teacher skills which allow these principles to become effective practices13
13 COUNCIL OF EUROPE Training Teachers in Intercultural Education Strasbourg 1986
The earlier children are helped to develop an awareness of the importance of this dimension and given opportunities to engage in and reflect on it the better. Education systems must provide a framework upon which young people can base critical thinking and-judgements and which will allow each individual to make sense of the complex and discontinuous change that characterises twentieth century society and which enables them to participate as active and responsible citizens in the personal, social and political dimensions of society.14
14 ROYAL NORWEGIAN MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, RESEARCH AND CHURCH AFFAIRS Plan for Promoting the International Dimension in Primary and Lower Secondary Education 1991
There is no more effective means of developing the necessary understandings than through the experience of this dimension in action.
It goes without saying there are bound to be difficulties experienced as young people and adults face the realities of the world. Progress towards a tolerant multi-cultural society presents challenges and raises controversial issues. It is important that these are addressed by all educational institutes and not ignored, devalued or regarded as too difficult. It is of course important that the context in which they are taught is suitable and this requires conscious consideration and planning. Coping with difficult and often controversial issues is best developed in a climate of critical enquiry. Both critical enquiry and critical thinking need to be understood in terms of issues and not in terms of crises and problems in need of solution. In the social sphere problems are often not amenable to solution only to careful consideration.
The complexities and problems of late twentieth century life we all face are enormous and education cannot be the only mechanism for addressing them. Progress towards a more balanced society will only occur if the important role education has to play is taken in conjunction with other aspects of social and economic policy. Nevertheless, at its heart the challenge in Europe is for many moral and educational rather than political.
Education at all stages must seek to promote the development of thinking, rounded and well-balanced human beings who have a respect for self and for others and an empathetic understanding of their own and other traditions and cultures.15
15 Education for Mutual Understanding Project Northern Ireland Curriculum Council 1991
The imperative is to provide young people with a sound foundation on which to base moral and ethical decisions and behaviours which respect the nature of the interdependent world in which we live, which respect the rights and dignity of others and thus incorporates implicitly an international perspective.
While it might be thought that some of the ideas involved might be more appropriate for older students it is the view of the writers of these guidelines that very young children have the capacity not only to cope with these ideas but to have developed understandings of their implications.