Teaching Methods and Intercultural Education Research Proposal

Pages: 10 (3039 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 60  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching


This work seeks to examine how intercultural approaches to teaching and learning might serve to contribute to New Learning for the 21st century in primary schools in Australia. Additionally this study intends to examine the role of education in improving relations between people across diversity and to improve equality, justice and freedom. This work will also give consideration to how intercultural education might be used and will examine possible links between intercultural education and other school-based approaches.

Multicultural -- term used to describe the cultural diversity nature of human society and which refers to the "elements of ethnic or national culture, but also includes linguistic, religious and socio-economic diversity.

Intercultural -- a dynamic concept…refers to evolving relations between cultural groups…has been defined as 'the existence and equitable interaction of diverse cultures and the possibility of shared cultural expressions through dialogue and mutual respect."


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The primary aim of this study is to identify specific instructional techniques that are effective for the intercultural classroom. Intercultural instruction is a concept that speaks of the relations of cultural groups and how those relations evolve over time and in this specific study this is specific to the diverse cultures and their interaction in the classroom and instructional environment and specifically in regards to cultural expressions that are shared in the atmosphere of mutual respect and through the means of dialogue.


Research Proposal on Teaching Methods & Intercultural Education This Work Assignment

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) published its 'Guidelines on Intercultural Education' in 2006 for the stated purpose of contributing to the understanding of the issues of intercultural education. According to UNESCO "cultural vitality is closely linked to the social and economic status of minority communities. This is because the cultural features of different communities, such as practices, beliefs of life styles are 'valued' and hierarchized. And while some prevail, others are marginalized." (UNESCO, 2006) UNESCO additionally relates that education systems must be "responsive to the specific educational needs of all minorities, including migrants and indigenous peoples. Among the issues to be considered is how to foster the cultural, social and economic vitality of such communities through effective and adequate educational programs that are based on the cultural perspectives and orientations of the learners, while at the same time providing for the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable them to fully participate in the larger society." (UNESCO, 2006) UNESCO additionally states that education systems "need to take into account the multicultural character of society, and aim at actively contributing to peaceful coexistence and positive interaction between different cultural groups." (2006) There have been two traditional approaches according to UNESCO:

(1) multicultural; and (2) intercultural education. (2006)

Intercultural education is stated to have the aim of going "beyond passive coexistence, to achieve a developing and sustainable way of living together in multicultural societies through the creation of understanding of, respect for and dialogue between the different cultural groups." (UNESCO, 2006)


The significance of this study is the knowledge that will be added to the already existing knowledge base in this area of study and the information that will be gained in this study in terms of its application in the educational setting.


The methodology of this study will be one of a qualitative or interpretive in nature and will be conducted through an extensive review of literature in the area of intercultural studies and specifically as related to education and classroom instruction methods. Lather (1992) states that modern science began "as an anti-authoritarian democratic impulse. But the emancipatory potential of science as a way of knowing that could free humanity…was rather quickly reduced to its method. In the social sciences "a method...is supposedly a transhistorical, culture-free, disinterested, replicable, testable, empirical substantiation of theory…" (Lather, 1992) Science is however, "in crisis in both the natural and the human sciences." (Lather, 1992)

Lather states that the time has come for "the confrontation of the lust for absolutes, for certainty in our ways of knowing." (Lather, 1992) This results in the present being a time that is "exciting…in which to do social inquiry." (Lather, 1992) Lather relates that presently research is "at a meta level…moving out of the cultural values spawned by the Age of Reason, the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries and the Enlightenment and its material base, the industrial Revolution." (Lather, 1992) Lather additionally relates that educational research has "since its inception…been defined largely as a species of educational psychology…in turn…influenced largely by behaviorism." (Lather, 1992)

Wagner (1993) states that the best starting place for discovering truth and in assessing educational research and its usefulness is that of 'ignorance' in contrast to the popular belief which regards research as the "pursuit of truth." (Wagner, 1993) Wagner holds that when a research project is judged "solely on the apparent truthfulness of its parts…" the general purpose of the research is neglected. That general purpose is stated by Wagner to be the generation of "new knowledge about education and schooling. To understand when research is likely to achieve this purpose, educational researchers must begin with ignorance, not truth." (Wagner, 1993) Furthermore the research to be conducted in the proposed study is cooperative in nature and the research methods and techniques in the following section will clarify this further.

Research Methods & Techniques

The method of research utilized in this study is one that was developed by Schmidt (1998a) referred to as the ABC's of Cultural Understanding and Communication model. This model is based upon the belief that for intercultural learning to take place that individuals must become aware of the concepts which they hold and this is both those held concerning self and others with different cultural backgrounds. The five steps in the process of research utilizing this model are stated to include those as follows:

1. Autobiography -- Each participant is asked to write an autobiography that is inclusive of key events in that individual's life including those involving the individual's education, family, religious tradition, recreation, etc. This serves the purpose of assisting students in awareness-building relating to the personal beliefs and attitudes that formulate the traditions and values of an individual's culture.

2. Biography -- Following the conduction of several audio-taped, in-depth interviews which may be either unstructured or semi-structured the students constructs a biography of key events in the life of the person who is interviewed. This lends to the discovery of knowledge in relation to cultural sensitivity needs of students.

3. Cross-cultural analysis and appreciation of differences -- The students study the autobiographies and biographies that have resulted from the first two steps and a list of similarities and differences is compiled.

4. Cultural self-analyses of differences -- the participants in this study examine the chart that has been developed in step three of this study and this chart is utilized in writing an analysis of cultural differences.

5. The final step in this process of research is one involving the teacher utilizing the information gained in this study for development of plans for creating a connection between the classroom and the home of students in regards to the students reading, writing, listening and speaking development. (Finkbeiner and Koplin, 2002)

Literature Review

The work of Finkbeiner and Koplin (2002) entitled: "A Cooperative Approach for Facilitating Intercultural Education" states that today's classrooms are "multicultural, multinational, and multilingual" which presents challenges of a new nature for educators in teaching students of varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds." Finkbeiner and Koplin states that construct 'intercultural learning' contains three key components and state them as follows:

(1) Inter-means that it happens between at least two things whether they be objects, individuals or groups;

(2) Cultural -- more difficult to define however, Finkbeiner and Koplin relate that there are metaphors given to describe this and those will be reviewed in the following section of this work; and (3) Learning -- ideally may be viewed as a process that is active and autonomous and in which meaning is constructed by individuals by relating new information to prior knowledge in a continuing top-down and bottom-up process. (Finkbeiner and Koplin, 2002)

The metaphors used in describing culture by Finkbeiner and Koplin includes that which states that only "…one-seventh of an iceberg is visible, while the rest is under water. Culture, like an iceberg, consists of the observable and the nonobservable (Weaver, 1993, p. 160). Differences in cultural communication can be observed in different situations, such as greeting routines and styles. Possibilities range from shaking hands to embracing and kissing, nodding the head, or not touching at all. However, the major part of culture is the nonobservable. It includes dimensions such as values, attitudes, and concepts. For example, family bonds are formed on the basis of one's perceptions and feelings -- things beyond what one can see and observe." (Finkbeiner and Koplin, 2002) Finkbeiner and Koplin relate that in order that the individual's cultural development be best understood it is necessary to consider personal development. The model developed by Finkbeiner and Koplin is work that draws upon the work… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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