What is intercultural education?
At its core, intercultural education has two focal points:
It is education which respects, celebrates and recognises the normality of diversity in all areas of human life. It sensitises the learner to the idea that humans have naturally developed a range of different ways of life, customs and worldviews, and that this breadth of human life enriches all of us.
It is education which promotes equality and human rights, challenges unfair discrimination, and promotes the values upon which equality is built.
Intercultural education is a synthesis of the learning from multicultural and anti-racist education approaches that were commonly used internationally from the 1960s to the 1990s. Ireland has long had an experience of ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity. This can be seen, for example, in the way in which bilingualism in Irish and English has played a part in Irish life as well as in the long-standing presence of the Traveller* community and of minority religious groups. In recent years this diversity has increased through immigration. Different words like ‘multicultural’ and ‘intercultural’ have been used to describe the changes that have been happening in Irish society. Both these terms describe a situation where there is more than one culture in a country. While the term ‘multiculturalism’ is sometimes used to describe a society in which different cultures live side by side without much interaction, the term ‘interculturalism’ expresses a belief that we all become personally enriched by coming in contact with and experiencing other cultures, and that people of different cultures can and should be able to engage with each other and learn from each other. […]
http://www.ncca.ie/uploadedfi les/publications/Intercultural.pdf.Access Aug., 2010.
* Irish Travellers (Irish: Lucht siúil) are a traditionally nomadic people of Irish origin with their own language and traditions, living predominantly in Ireland and Great Britain but also in the United States of America.
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