ERG SES G 07, Innovative Intercultural Learning in Education
Our study has its origin in a project whose objective was to develop materials for the development of intercultural competences of the students in the Euroregion Galicia-Northern Portugal through the techniques of cooperative learning. However, in the observation phase it was detected that the real use of cooperative learning is, both in Galicia and in the North of Portugal, very scarce in the classrooms of the last high school years (students from 15 to 18 years old), since the innovation culture is not present in the levels in which the priority is to prepare students for the college entrance exams.
In that way another project was born, aimed at trying to find a way to develop the intercultural competences of the students, through the subject of History, which would serve for the most innovative teachers as well as for the most "traditional" ones in terms of their didactic methodology. To this end, emotional education was used: an intervention programme was designed which seeks to develop intercultural competences, fundamentally from fostering empathy with cultural difference.
This intervention programme consists of a series of activities focused on immigration as a central theme, using materials that mainly come from the media, social networks and literary texts, and which tries to provoke emotional reactions in the students, channeling them towards an improvement of the cognitive aspect -comprehension of cultural diversity and contemporary migrations- and behavioural -solidarity with socially vulnerable people due to the interaction between cultural diversity and socioeconomic inequality- of intercultural competences.
The questions to which our research responds are:
-To what extent can an intervention programme based on emotional education develop the intercultural competencies of secondary school students?
- Are there significant differences in the evolution of students in terms of the development of intercultural competences depending on the type of teaching strategies -active or transmissive- used to implement the same intervention programme based on emotional education?
-If the type of didactic strategies were not revealed as the most relevant variable, what other variables are significant for the development of the intercultural competences of the students?
The general objectives are:
1.To study the development of the intercultural competences of the students through the implementation of an intervention programme based on emotional education.
1.1. Develop students' understanding of the phenomenon of migration.
1.2. Develop the intercultural sensitivity of students.
1.3.Develop students’ empathy towards culturally different social groups.
1.4. Develop mechanisms for analysis and response to stereotypes about immigration.
1.5. To develop the value of solidarity towards socially vulnerable groups based on the power relations of the main society in regard to culturally different people.
2.Document and describe the most important elements and variables in the development of intercultural competences of secondary school students.
3. Identify, describe and analyze the relationship between the development of intercultural competences and the processes of identification of students with people and social groups of cultures different from the majority in their context.
The theoretical framework is based on critical pedagogy, antiracist theory and postcolonial theory, and the basic concepts are: education for a democratic citizenship, intercultural education, interculturality, multiculturalism, transculturality, didactic history and intercultural education, intercultural competence, cultural diversity, inequality and migration, social identity, racism and racialism, social stereotyping, theory of representations, emotional education, empathy and the relationship between attitudes and behaviours.
It is an evaluative investigation, designed according to the CIPP model (Stufflebeam). In the process phase - in which a quasi-experimental method is applied with pre-test and post-test and control groups - an intervention programme is implemented, consisting of a series of activities that, based on migration as the main theme, address sub-themes such as cultural diversity and intercultural relations, the relationship between cultural diversity and socioeconomic inequality, multiple identities in global society, citizenship and borders, ethnocentrism, stereotypes about immigration or racism. For each level (first year of baccalaureate: 17 years of age, and fourth year of compulsory secondary education, 16 years), there are several experimental groups: in the middle, teachers work with cooperative learning or with learning by projects, and in the other half the teachers work with transmissive techniques. In the data analysis phase, the results of the experimental groups will be compared with the control groups that use their same methodology, to check if the programme improves intercultural competences, and the results of the experimental groups that work with active techniques with those of the experimental groups that work with transmissive techniques. In total, there are 200 participants. The diagnostic phase includes the following instruments: non-participant observation in secondary classrooms, with the aim of collecting the narratives of students and teachers on cultural diversity and its social implications; interviews (semi-structured) with teachers from the community who had participated in previous programmes of development of intercultural competences; intercultural sensitivity scale (Likert type) for students; questionnaire (closed) of intercultural competences, for the students; questionnaire (open) of intercultural competences, for the students; debate about press news about immigration and an individual literary exercise about "foreigners". In the product phase, all these instruments will be repeated to verify whether intercultural competences have improved. To track the evolution of the programme, researchers will use a field diary during the process phase to collect the narratives of students and teachers and they will also collect the students’ productions which are most directly related to migrations and cultural diversity as a theme . In addition, in this same phase there will be a focus group with the teachers. In the product phase, students and teachers will complete a questionnaire to express their opinion about the programme.
It is too early to talk about conclusions because fieldwork is still in process. The forecast is to perform the posttest tests in the month of June, with which we could have the conclusions for the date of the congress. But both pretest tests and students' narratives and productions make it possible to affirm that, although attitudes toward cultural diversity are, in general, positive, there is a certain tendency to identify immigrants with exclusively non-European people and to sustain a simplifying discourse about their motivations for migration, along with some attitudes closer to assimilationism than towards interculturalism. On the other hand, the teachers themselves do not show that they have reviewed the content – tending to ethnocentrism - of the subject from an intercultural perspective, and tend to identify intercultural education only by learning the language of the host country. The narratives of the students do not show, in addition, important differences depending on the methodology used in class, so the second hypothesis could be confirmed. At the same time, regardless of the methodology used, getting excited to the student (who is outraged, surprised, disturbed ...) seems a way to, at least, motivate and encourage empathy with the Other, and from there to make the phenomenon of immigration more interesting.
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