Malta - 16th - 18th September 2010

The term “Intercultural Education” has frequently appeared in academic papers on education and contemporary society. Educational policies and regulations, and the communications media have also started to this type of terminology. Its rapid spread and use, however, have had one negative effect, confusion: it seems to be treated as a magic word, the very use of which has the effect of invoking modernity. However, what is being discussed are other kinds of measures and concepts which have also been known by other names such as : compensatory education, special programs, education for indigenous peoples, education for immigrants,  and events to celebrate cultural differences, just to name a few

This Conference aims to explore Intercultural Education theory and practice starting from the following assumptions:

• Intercultural Education is not just about cultural differences, but about all of our characteristics as individuals and as members of groups, going beyond religious or ethnic customs, because although we are diverse, we share a common humanity.

• Acknowledging Diversity must be the basis of Education, not the exception. By acknowledging diversity we can avoid a homogenizing approach as well as hypertrophying differences and forming special groups according to social categories that are established “a priori” (nationality, age, language, religion, social class, gender, etc.).

• Everyone, teachers and students, is involved, as active agents, in teaching/learning processes.

• We all have an obligation to contribute to the process of making  teaching and learning significant for the lives of the people involved in them.

• Evaluation is part of learning and the process as a whole, and teaching in particular, should be evaluated, not just the students.

• The practice of Education depends on each context and as such, there are no universal recipes because Education involves a process of daily, contextualized change.

• Education cannot contribute to legitimizing social inequality but, on the contrary, must contribute to unmasking the mechanisms, such as racism and xenophobia, sexism and classism, which perpetuate social inequality.

• Thinking that we are all equal and acting as if this were so does not make us all equal; rather, the disadvantages and the privileges continue to determine the process, and remain unmasked.

• It is necessary to constantly experiment, reflect on, and imagine Education, using whatever useful resources we have at hand to change the traditional educational approach that fails more and more students (and teachers) every day, not only immigrants and indigenous people.

• Diversity of individuals, groups, skills, and points of view enriches education itself, cooperation, and professional collaboration, because it allows us to think up more varied and/or alternative solutions.

• Education is a political issue: The Intercultural approach leads to transforming school and society towards equity and social justice, by means of the democratization of structures and processes and the development of a critical and global citizenship.

 

Antoine Gambin