On the 15th of February, several teachers from different pre-university institutions participated in the regular meeting of the Paideia Educational Debate Club at PRO DIDACTICA, where they discussed current policies and current practices of developing intercultural competence. As a facilitator, Mrs. Viorica Goraş-Postică organized the meeting in the key to the ERRE design and learning framework, proposing specific tasks to capitalize the participants’ potential and provoking the exchange of advanced national and international intercultural education (EIC) experiences. The full presentation of the action can be accessed HERE.
Starting from the fact that cultural diversity has become an inevitable reality and is no longer a contemporary cliché (Cf. Anca Nedelcu), teachers have identified that the EIC definitely has more advantages than disadvantages. Also, when asked how much do they feel represented by the EIC or if they find themselves in the given field, the vast majority responded very much. After analyzing recent educational policy papers from the EIC perspective, practitioners have expressed their views on their relevance in the contexts in which they work, highlighting some of the issues they face, alongside students and parents, but also sharing specific ways to solve them. The practical work aimed at collecting and debating suggestions from practitioners for the curricular development of the EIC, both with reference to the initial and continuing training of teachers. Thus, among the recommendations proposed by the participants of the teams of authors, who will develop the pre-university national curriculum in 2019, were: the diversification of EIC educational offers; inclusion of valuable texts in the lists of recommended texts, including non-literary texts, border – essay, reportage, case studies – with intercultural themes, for example: I am Malala … “,” In the last bench “etc .; the initiation of digital libraries with documentary or artistic films for the EIC education, teaching portfolios, guides, teaching and collections of didactic and auxiliar projects; the inclusion of several hours of oral communication; more suggestions for organizing and diversifying outdoor lessons, for a non-formal intercultural education; to recommend more hours in the form of reading and discussion workshops; to develop updated information media on the EIC theme; to include EIC thematic content, starting from the ABC, accompanied by interactive educational media, DVDs, educational softwares.
The recommendations for the university managers and professors to optimize the EIC of the students, future teachers, were the following: teaching a special course, even if optional, about Intercultural Education, “it may as well replace a unnecessary or misuderstood discipline by many students, like economy, political science, not at all adapted to the specifics of the faculty “; more practical EIC hours, for the didactics applied to socio-humanistic disciplines; providing practical tools for the evaluation of intercultural competences; inviting teachers from other countries with specific courses in the given subject; expanding educational partnerships between schools and universities, for common problem identification and EIC solutions; to organize with future educators the EIC days in the university, in which more visits to the schools from teachers and students will take place; to carry out pedagogical practices, but also winter and summer schools with the students, outside the country; to initiate, also may be done by the students, festivals of ethnic communities in different localities, etc.
Further, the needs and aspirations of practitioners and schools will be exploited by us in the framework of the project Promoting and developing intercultural education in the initial training of teachers, supported by the Pestalozzi Foundation from Switzerland and implemented during 2018-2020 years.
Univ. Prof. Viorica Goraș-Postică