07 SES 04, Intercultural Perspectives
The paper focuses on a comparative study carried out by a network of scholars and researchers who are active in the field of intercultural education in several European countries: Marco Catarci and Massimiliano Fiorucci (“Roma Tre” University, Italy), Martine A. Preteceille (Université Paris VIII, France), Jagdish Gundara (University of London, United Kingdom), Otto Filtzinger andGiovanni Cicero Catanese (Institut für Interkulturelle Pädagogik im Elementarbereich e.V. – IPE, Mainz, Germany); Teresa Pozo Llorente (Universidad de Granada), Jordi Vallespir Soler (Universitat de les Illes Balears) and Lidia Cabrera Pérez (Universidad de La Laguna) (Spain); Martha Montero-Sieburth and Hana Alhadi (Universiteit van Amsterdam; Netherlands); George Markou (University of Athens, Greece); France Guadalupe (Uppsala Universitet, Sweeden).
The main aim of the research is to provide a comparative analysis of intercultural theories and practices developed in the European context in several old immigration countries (France, United Kingdom, Germany), new immigration countries (Italy, Spain and Greece) and the countries of Northern Europe (Netherlands and Sweden), which have developed specific features of intercultural approaches to their education systems. This analysis has been carried out by using the following joint research questions adopted by the researchers in the different countries:
RQ1. What are the main features of the presence of immigrants and/or groups with different cultural backgrounds in the country?
RQ2. What are the main features of the presence of immigrant students and/or students with a different cultural background in the school?
RQ3. What are the most important issues raised by scientific research into the presence of immigrant students and/or students with a different cultural background in the school?
RQ4. What are the most relevant educational practices and strategies which have been adopted to address these problems in the school?
RQ5. Describe one example of best practice in the school with reference to its educational context.
RQ6. Inconclusion, what are the major strengths and weaknesses of the intercultural education approach adopted in the country?
The theoretical framework for the study is provided by the main literature on ‘interculturalism’ in the European context. In particular, Jagdish Gundara remarks on the difference between 'multiculturalism' and 'interculturalism', arguing that the term ‘multicultural’ is better used as a descriptive term, while the term ‘intercultural’ is a more appropriate term for discussing programmes, policies and practices (Gundara, 2003: 5). In the same way, according to Cristine Allemann-Ghionda, in ‘multicultural education’, the prefix ‘multi’ describes the multiplicity of different cultures which live in the same territory or are taught in the same institution, while in intercultural education the prefix ‘inter’ underlines the interactive aspect (Allemann-Ghionda, 2009: 135).
The study also refers to previous comparative research, which described a wide variety of approaches carried out in schools to ensure both equal opportunities and high-quality education for all students. These include language support devices (including continuous language support and development of curricula for language acquisition, etc.), teaching and learning environments (with initiatives such as teacher training for diversity, personalised support and learning pathways, etc.) and parental and community involvement (providing adequate information through various communication channels and establishing partnerships between schools and parents) (Eurydice, 2004).
Allemann-Ghionda C. (2009). From intercultural education ro the inclusion of diversity: Theories and policies in Europe. In Banks J. A. (Ed.). The Routledge International Companion to Multicultural Education. London, New York: Routledge (pp. 134-145). Banks J. A. (2008). Diversity and Citizenship Education in Global Times. In Arthur J., Davies I. and Hahn C. (Eds.). The Sage Handbook of Education for Citizenship and Democracy. Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage (pp. 57-70) Beacco J.C., Byram M., Cavalli M. et alii (2010). Guide for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education. Council of Europe: Strasbourg Eurydice (2004). Integrating Immigrant Children into Schools in Europe. Brussels. Eurydice (2009). Integrating Immigrant Children into Schools in Europe. Measures to foster: Communication with immigrant families; Heritage language teaching for immigrant children. Brussels. Grant C. A. and Portera A. (2011). Intercultural and Multicultural Education. Enhancing Global Interconnectedness. New York and London: Routledge. Gundara J. (2003). Intercultural education. World on the brink?. London: Institute of education, University of London. Heckmann F. (2008). Education and migration. Strategies for integrating migrant children in European schools and societies. A synthesis of research findings for policy-makers. Bamberg Hyunjoon Park, Gary Sandefur (2010). Educational Gaps Between Immigrant and Native Students in Europe: The Role of Grade. In J. Dronkers (ed). Quality and Inequality of Education. Cross-National Perspectives, Springer: Dordrecht /Heidelberg/ London/ New York, pp. 113-136. Leeman Y. (2002). Multiculturalism, Intercultural Communication and Education. In Koppen J. K., I. Lunt, C. Wulf (eds.). Education in Europe. Cultures, Values, Institutions in Transition. Münster, New York: Waxmann (pp. 40-53) Lynch J. (1986), Multicultural Education in Western Europe. In Banks J. A. and Lynch J.. Multicultural education in western societies. Eastbourne: Holt, Rinehart and Winston (pp.125-152).
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