Working with refugees and third-country nationals, I have found myself often asking the question:
How can I promote and celebrate cultural diversity in the classroom? What tools could I use to
promote inclusive classroom and support diversity?
Luckily, my questions were answered when I finished with Intercultural Learning course, I tool via
Erasmus+ KA1 mobility in Bologna that I and my college and visited ELA Erasmus Learning Academy this November.
From the start, we were well received and I had the opportunity to work with teachers and professionals from different backgrounds, who all work with culturally diverse students.
What is actually Intercultural learning?
Intercultural learning is hard to put into the definition, but some keywords to describe it are always
respect, share and celebrate. Learning about intercultural learning, for me, it is very similar to the integration, I see it as a two or three-way process that is taking place between teacher, students and the local environment (school, neighbourhood…).
Intercultural learning refers to the acquisition of knowledge and skills that support the ability of
learners to both understand the culture and interact with people from cultures different from their
own. As students, we were challenged to think and dissect topics that would help us in our further work to better understand intercultural learning.
While learning about the cultural dimensions of learning we were addressing the challenges of multiculturalism thru social relationships in the classroom. Further on, we were exploring students’ identities by creating a personal identity collage, an exercise that can be used in every classroom to give students the freedom to express what their identities and feelings are. Another round of group activities we were engaged in was based on the concept of membership and empathy. We also touched upon the subject of Storytelling, one of my favourite parts of the training.
The importance of stories and storytelling in the multicultural environment is extremely encouraged, as a tool for the audience to better understand the individuality in culture as well as for the storyteller, in order to better understand and better express themselves. We engaged in watching a TED talk by famous writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie by name: the danger of Single Story.
The course was widely useful for me as I am already using some tools that it gave me, such as storytelling, exploring its own identity and promoting empathy in the multicultural classroom. Overall, it inspired me to dive deeper into Storytelling, a tool I will be regularly using in every class that I work with.
This project is funded by Erasmsu+ funds.
Jelena Posavec Smilović
Jelena Posavec Smilović