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formazione insegnamento

Rivista quadrimestrale di ricerca, documentazione e critica Organo Ufficiale della SSIS del Veneto

Intercultural Values influencing Teaching and Learning A Case Study on Secondary Education

Umberto Margiotta Juliana Raffaghelli editors


formazione insegnamento

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Rivista quadrimestrale di ricerca, documentazione e critica Organo Ufficiale della SSIS del Veneto Anno VIII • Numero 03 • 2010

Direttore Responsabile

Umberto Margiotta Comitato Scientifico

J. Bruner, M. Altet, J.M. Barbier, G. Lopez Eire, G. Castillo, M. Di Cintio, M. Fabre, G. Petter, N. Gridellini Tomasini, M. Vicentini, P. Guidoni, G. Porcelli Comitato Editoriale

F. Bertan, E. Berti, G. Calvelli, A. M. Costantini, A. Guarnieri, E. Guidorizzi, F. Larocca, C. Majorana, F. Marcolungo, U. Margiotta, G. Michelon, F. Tessaro, R. Semeraro, L. Passuello, C.M. Coonan, P. Dongili Redazione

Caporedattore: E. Bastianon Redattori: L. Bertola, G. Fullin†, F. Minosso, A. Piva, R. Rigo, L. Passador Segreteria di redazione

J. Bovo Comitato dei referee

La Rivista “Formazione e Insegnamento” sottopone ogni saggio ricevuto alla valutazione di alcuni referee, che ignorano il nome dell’autore del testo. Il loro lavoro è fondamentale per assicurare la qualità e il rigore scientifico dei saggi pubblicati nella Rivista. I criteri di valutazione seguiti dal comitato dei referee sono riportati nelle prime pagine del presente numero della rivista Formazione&Insegnamento. Impostazione Copertina

G. Federle, E. Nardin Progetto Grafico

D. De Blasi per Pensa MultiMedia s.r.l. Autorizzazione del Tribunale di Venezia N° 1439 del 11-02-2003 ISSN 1973-4778

Editore

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Referees’ evaluation

The journal Formazione & Insegnamento started an evaluation system of the articles to be published in 2009, setting up a committee of referees. The Referees Committee’s objective is to examine publications and research that may have an academic and scientific value. In accordance with international guidelines, the journal adopted the following criteria: 1. Choice of referees: the choice is made by the Editor among university teachers and researchers of national and / or international level. The referees’ committee is updated annually. At least two members of the referees’ committee are chosen among university teachers and researchers belonging to universities or research centers abroad.

3. Evaluation methods: the Editor will collect the papers of the authors, ensuring that articles meet the technical requirements of the journal (requiring changes and / or additions in case these requirements have not been met). The Editor will, then, make the articles available to the referees using a reserved area within the website of the journal (http://www.univirtual.it/drupal/it/node/129, “reserved area for referees”). An e-mail from the journal’s administration will announce to referees the presence of the items in the reserved area, and which items should be assessed. Referees will read the assigned articles and provide their assessment through an evaluation grid, whose template is made available by the Editor within the restricted area. Referees will be able to fill out the template directly online within the reserved area (through the use of lime survey software) within the deadlines set by the Editor. The evaluation will remain anonymous and advice included in it may be communicated by the editorial board to the author of the paper. 4. Traceability of the assessment and electronic archive: the reserved area, within the journal website, is planned and organized in order to have traceability of electronic exchanges between Editor and referees. In addition, evaluated papers

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

2. Anonymity of the referees system (double-blind review): to preserve process integrity of peer review, the authors of the papers do not know the identity of referees. Referees, instead, will know the identity of the authors.

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and evaluation forms will be also included in an electronic archive within the restricted area. This it allows the Journal to maintain transparency in the procedures adopted, in case of assessments by external assessors and accredited institutions. The latter may require access to the private area to check the actual activation of the evaluation of the papers by the referees’ committee.

referees’ evaluation

5. Type of evaluation: referees will express their assessments only through the evaluation template, previously placed in the restricted online area by the Editor of the Journal. Foreign referees will use an English version of the template. The evaluation board consists of a quantitative part (giving a score from 1 to 5 to a series of statements that meet criterias of originality, accuracy, methodology, relevance to readers, and structure of content) and a qualitative part (discursive and analytical judgments about strengths and weaknesses of the paper). In a third part, referees will express approval about the publication of the article, or advice about a publication after revision. In the latter case, referees will be able to provide guidance or suggestions to the author, in order to improve the paper. The evaluation template is available to authors, in order to have transparency of evaluation criteria.

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6. Limitations of the evaluation: the referees’ power is advisory only: the editor may decide to publish the paper anyway, regardless of the assessment provided by referees (though still taking it into account). 7. Acknowledgements to referees: The list of referees who contributed to the journal is published in the last issue of each year (without specifying which issue of the journal and for what items) as acknowledgements for their cooperation, and as an instance of transparency policy about the procedures adopted (open peer review).


SUMMARY

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Introduction Umberto Margiotta, Juliana E. Raffaghelli

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The big picture: Meeting educational challenges in an increasing multicultural world Juliana E. Raffaghelli

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Intercultural values on School System. The italian case Rita Minello, Juliana E. Raffaghelli

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The process of acculturation and integration of second generation immigrants in the Italian school context Francesca Lazzari

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Reciprocity among teachers from different language and cultural backgrounds A pivotal strategy to develop an interculturally sensitive attitude in education professionals Cristina Richieri

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How develop intercultural curriculum in learning process. Some issues and considerations Umberto Margiotta

PART TWO A CASE STUDY

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Methodological aspects in Permit Project: the Italian experience Roberto Melchiori, Rita Minello, Juliana E. Raffaghelli

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Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class PERMIT case preliminar research findings Juliana E. Raffaghelli

SUMMARY

PART ONE THEORETICAL ISSUES

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SUMMARY

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The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach: learning from experience, experiencing to learn Rita Minello, Juliana E. Raffaghelli

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Intercultural learning on the Web: Steps to the “culture in-between” Juliana E. Raffaghelli

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CONCLUSIONS Towards intercultural learning PERMIT’s learned lessons and the future Umberto Margiotta, Juliana E. Raffaghelli


Umberto Margiotta, Juliana Raffaghelli

Introduction

Europe is now looking beyond, considering the integration of countries like Turkey, where interrogating the own cultural project and identities connected to religion, history, territory; new alleances, seems to be necessary; it could be affirmed that these new experiences of dialogue help Europe to explore an entirely new, integrated model of development, where social cohesion gives place to a more sustainable society. Connected to these reflections, the present study introduces perspectives about education as instrument of dialogue: the project PERMIT (Promote Education and Reciprocal Understanding through Multicultural Integrated Teaching) tried to become a playground where to experience the above sketched principles. Bringing together people from several cultural background, from Slovenia, Turkey and Italy, was a challenge from the beginning, where it was hypothesized that researchers, teachers, and students, had low levels of knowledge about each other’s culture; and where building together new practices of teaching and learning, was considered to be the key to achieve an intercultural competence required to be an active citizen in the planetary society (Byram, 2003). We wish to underline that we consider culture as living entity, continuously evolving, created on the bases of dialogue and interaction: the notion of culture as a forum (Bruner, 1988, 2003, p.152), and the notion of teaching and learning

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

The belief of Western world in the universality of the West’s values and political systems is naïve and continued insistence on democratization and such “universal” norms will only further antagonize other civilizations. The planetary society needs to reconsider its values, images, symbols, generating from one hand the instruments of tolerance, mutual understanding and dialogue; and from the other, recognizing the common, grounded values of human kind. The main hypothesis, where mainly European Union is investing through its well known policies and programmes, is that education is the key to intervene in conflicting societies within this complex landscape. Too much effort is to be done in the attempt of promoting dialogue among civilizations, preventing people to perceive otherness as a menace; but, at the same time, a long way has already been done in the last sixty years of European reconciliation, and in front of the last thirty years of massive immigration, where intercultural education has played a crucial role.

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Margiotta, Raffaghelli

practices as the main activities to rethink and rebuild cultures (Margiotta, 2007). Our effort will be entirely devoted to show how values, opinions and attitudes (representations of cultural identity) can be discovered and re-negotiated through new pedagogic practices (Minello, 2008; Raffaghelli & Richieri, 2010), contesting other famous approaches on cultures that aim at adopt classification criteria, with cultural features as a software of the mind1. When discussing cultural experience, we assume the need of paying attention to the multiplicity of accepted values and functions that an individual or social group has acquired through time. Yet an individual, who would like to retain his/her accepted values, is far from being static when performing activities aimed at preserving his/her values. The dynamics of his/her memory use is complemented by his/her will with which s/he strives to transform the world. In the process, s/he makes use of mediational means of higher mental functions related to cultural behaviour and practices (perception and active use of intercultural language communication, formation of active and empathic relations and positions between participants in the communicative situation, use of safeguards and incentives during participation in communication, etc.) and develops the mediational means as means of communication and behaviour related to the formation of cultural memory (Cole, 1996, p. 113). Cultural memory is developed through the elaboration of more complex »tools of remembering« that help create a new, deeper cultural experience, which serves as a basis for the further development of relations between individuals and groups. The study starts from some theoretical issues where intercultural approach to education is examined and discussed, towards rethinking curriculum in an intercultural perspective. In line with this, Chapter 2 (Juliana Raffaghelli) introduces a frame of discussion about the topics treated in every contribution. It describes the several positions

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We refer to the very well known approach of the anthropologist Geert Hofstede, who developed a classification of cultures. Dr. Hofstede conducted perhaps the most comprehensive study of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. From 1967 to 1973, while working at IBM as a consultant in human resources development, having to face several conflict in intercultural communication, he collected and analyzed data from over 100,000 individuals from forty countries. From those results, and later additions (19952005), Hofstede developed a model that identifies four primary dimensions to differentiate cultures: Power Distance, Individualism-Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance, MaculinityFeminility. He later added a fifth dimension, Long-term Outlook, when collaborating with a colleague from Hong Kong University, and in relation with Confucian cultures.As with any generalized study, the results may or may not be applicable to specific individuals or events. In addition, although the Hofstede’s results are categorized by country, often there is more than one cultural group within that country. In these cases there may be significant deviation from the study’s result. Hofstede’s approach insist on the importance of getting to know other culture dimensions as a “software of the mind”, to better understand other’s actions as coming from a different cultural matrix. He emphasize the idea of cultural values as something deepen root on behavior patterns of individuals, since they are not conscious. Our critic to this study is the inflexibility of culture to be modified, recreated, meanings renegotiated, leading to put “labels” to other cultures as rigid entities. Instead of that, awareness and metacognitive reflection on cultural values can lead individuals to adopt new patterns of communication and behaviour, recreating, through interaction, new culture.


Deepening on this perspective, Rita Minello and Juliana Raffaghelli’s third chapter has the objective of providing the reader with a framework for reflection on the perspectives of intercultural education in Italy. To tackle this issue, the authors introduce the recent changes in educational policies and recomendations, based on information provided by National Ministry, but also in the growing number of best practices coming out the intrinsic sensitivity of teachers in Italy. From Minello and Raffaghelli point’s of view, it seem that much of the directions of intercultural education in Italy are pushed by practitioners, and that a systematic approach is still an utopia. Even when the choices of institutes, have extolled the logic of “Autonomia” (Italian law that regulates the process of schooling system decentralization), and some regulations are present in the Italian field, much of practice is still a fact of willingness and interest. The authors claim for a more systematic approach to teachers’ education with regard to intercultural education and cultural studies addressing educational practices and research, as the key element for a strategic approach to the topic.

introduction

of research on intercultural education, as potential engine of social change aimed to introduce dialogue among civilizations, reduce conflict, and preventing the perception of otherness as a menace. The chapter takes the account of the latest developments on educational research as well as cultural studies, pointing the need to leave behind the idea of cultures classification for a new point of view — the one is introduced through the PERMIT case. It supports he position of culture as something dynamic, continuously evolving, and created on the bases of dialogue and interaction, building on the notion of culture as a forum (Bruner, 1988, 2003, 152), which in time introduces a conception of teaching and learning practices as main activities to rethink and rebuild cultural microcosmos. (Margiotta, 2007). In fact, as the author of this chapter emphasizes, the attempt of research in a number of educational contexts is entirely devoted to show how cultural values, opinions and attitudes (representing cultural identity) can be discovered and re-negotiated through new pedagogic practices (Minello, 2008). The idea is worked out through the discussion of evolution of intercultural education in several educational fields: curriculum research, teaching methods, the development of learning environments, the achievement of intercultural competence, and teachers’ professionalism. Thus, the second chapter aim’s is, while introducing these topics, to depict the foundations of research that impulsed PERMIT’s project experimentation.

The contribute of the first guest researcher, Francesca Lazzari, focuses on the problem of second generation of immigrants in the Italian context. She sheds light about the problem of second generations of immigrants, within which many of the students involved in the PERMIT experience could be placed. Therefore, her well grounded research is of important value to understand the problem of growing up “hybrid”, within a cultural context that the student recognizes as familiar, but having yet the need to make it dialogue with family life’s values and beliefs. Furthermore, Lazzari’s contribute could be contextualised within the debate and the heuristic paths that have and continue to deal with the topic of differences, developing a cultural perspective to be identified within the link of education/ formative intercultural approach. As she points out, by means of an intercultural approach in education, the practice of mediation-negotiation integrates the perspective of the differences with the

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Margiotta, Raffaghelli

capacity of empowerment expressed by the ethic of responsibility. Her attempt is thus, to bring the perspective of the second generations within pedagogical reflexivity/reflection on intercultural issues; to this regard, the cultural scenario of reference for identity and acculturation processes of second generations of teenager immigrants, integrated in the Italian school and social context, is outlined. Her approach reinforces, that way, the final conclusions of PERMIT case, making the point of generalizations for further research about intercultural education through results hereby achieved. As she emphasizes, the method by which the school system will be able to include second generations will be crucial for fulfilling the conditions of conscious, transformative, and creative access to knowledge in contemporary pluricultural societies. The second guest researcher, Cristina Richieri, brings a complementary vision of interculturalism through her article on teachers’ education. As she points out, they need to be prepared to provide the young generations with the right instruments to interact with diversity, understand the motivations behind differences in behaviour, thoughts and feelings and learn to govern the emotional dimensions of fear and anxiety towards otherness. Thus, she focus the role of reciprocity, as strategy to build the necessary competences to establish a fruitful relationship with otherness, especially when the other is from a different cultural background and when intercultural dialogue seems to be difficult. Richieri explores the concept of reciprocity, from the general background to the analysis of impact of training in intercultural groups of teachers. She therefore introduces the analysis of some data collected after an international seminar, promoted by the Council of Europe (Pestalozzi Programme), where she searches for empirical evidence to ground the concept of reciprocity as key element of teachers’ intercultural education. Her perspective is of evident value to the analysis of PERMIT case, since the participant group within her study and the training strategies (international teachers’ community) could be considered convergent with that of PERMIT project, providing the approach with further evidence. In fact, Richieri’s conclusions are in line with the whole educational dispositive promoted by PERMIT, further discussed by Minello and Raffaghelli in chapter 9. As she proposes, teachers’ mutual learning in informal and non-formal contexts across frontiers, together with their consequent intercultural sensitivity are to be considered a strategic way for teachers’ education, because, as it emerges from Richieri’s empirical research, it implies greater attention to relationship and strongly asserts the power of connectiveness in terms of mutual learning mover. From this viewpoint, teachers’ mutual learning across frontiers takes charge of social responsibilities because it implies the search for the relationship with otherness and promotes reciprocity in individuals’ behaviour. Closing the Theoretical issues, the article of Umberto Margiotta drafts the conceptualisation of a curriculum that can tackle with the formation of an intercultural competence. As he emphasizes, in both education in general and learning processes in particular, there is an increasing recognition of the need to develop students’ intercultural competence, a fact that poses a range of theoretical and practical challenges. The need of developing an intercultural curriculum, considering and discussing steps and dimensions of curriculum, is strategically explored from the introduction of an example of description of languages learning within an intercultural orientation. Margiotta draws on this

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example to discuss the construct of intercultural curriculum, towards conceptualisation. In order to do this, he uses four constructs, that he explain as four interrelated processes Conceptualising (What to assess); Eliciting (How to elicit); Judging (How to judge) and Validating (How to justify).

To this regard, Roberto Melchiori, Rita Minello and Juliana Raffaghelli, introduce the basis of the methodological approach to understand the case study PERMIT . This introduction puts the basis for a methodological discussion about research field and further conceptualization of the implementation of international educational cooperation aimed to delicate activities as intercultural education. As the authors point out, the definition of what is a good research methodology varies according to initial assumptions, theories, and philosophical approaches shared by the researchers and based on the intended uses of the research results. Therefore, in the Permit project the methodological approach has involved both quantitative and qualitative methods, towards a mixed methods approach, under the assumption of a constructionist epistemology of research. More than that, studies using mixed-method have shown that integration of these traditions within the same study can be seen as complementary to each other. The following chapter (Raffaghelli), explores the problem of research on teachers’ professionalism and in-service training as frame of analysis of the strategy adopted within the PERMIT project, that targeted teachers’ beliefs on intercultural teaching and learning. The selection of this strategy is in fact due to the evolution from objectivist models (through the observation of teachers at work) to consider their cognitive and metacognitive operation when planning their own work, to a complete introduction of their subjectivity as individuals deeply involved in creating their professional identity. In fact, the new perspectives of research on teachers’ professionalism involve the exploration of experiences, beliefs, images and social representations of teaching and learning, connected to specific cultural contexts. Exploring teachers’ beliefs within the context of PERMIT experience was extremely relevant in order to understand the directions of future in-service training. But also, it was an important source of information and reflection for teachers within the training approach (as further analyzed by Raffaghelli and Minello). This was also coherent with the methodological research assumptions, — building jointly with stakeholders (teachers and students involved within PERMIT activities) the several concepts guiding activity.

introduction

The second part focuses the PERMIT project as case study, putting together researchers and teachers’ reflections about innovation in terms of designing, training, collaborating and working in class from an intercultural perspective.

Subsequently, Raffaghelli and Minello present the teachers’ training approach. The authors aim to introduce the envisioned strategy lying behind the teachers’ training programme implemented within PERMIT project. The project considered, from the beginning, the teachers’ education as a crucial component of an educational dispositive (in the sense of U. Margiotta’s conception of dispositive as social mechanisms enacting a human group doing, thinking, acting) aimed to generate innovation regarding the project’s topic (intercultural education for civil society dialogue). Intercultural competences to manage

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complex learning processes in the complex scenario of three diverse realities dialoguing into PERMIT project was to be a concrete goal of training. But at the same time, such a dispositive for teachers’ education was envisaged to support reflection about the process of formation of teachers’ professional identity for the new hybrid and fluid learning space. As the authors point out, the concept of formal training with too structured activities needed to be revisited on the light of a new strategy of in service training. In fact, the strategy focused on supporting contact with peers in the local reality and across frontiers; the use of online learning tools; coaching to further experimentation in class and the creative process of learning design undertaken by teachers in sistematizing the many resources and ideas coming out from their work in class (“Pedagogy of learning unit”). In the end, the recognition of non-formal and informal learning would lead to recognition/accreditation by the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice.

Margiotta, Raffaghelli

Coherently with this position, the authors organize and discuss, towards conceptualisation, the several phases of training activities under the light of Activity Theory and Learning by Expansion, that underlines the authors conception of training (and experimenting in class) as a process of progressive construction and reflection. Closing the empirical part, Raffaghelli depicts some of the scenarios of practice, from teachers’ learning to the implementation of PERMIT strategies in class, with her article on intercultural learning on the Web. She introduces the process of creation of an informal learning-community emerging from PERMIT international cooperation, which main goal was to promote teachers professionalism and collaboration across frontiers with impact on intercultural dialogue. To do this, the author explains the creation, strategies and use of a virtual working/learning space (VWLS). But, in an attempt to go beyond the surface of creation of the learning environments for intercultural education, she works out the idea (bringing concrete examples as qualitative evidece) of the VWLS supporting space for intercultural dialogue, that generates both motivation to participate and share the own cultural identity, and opportunities to working and learning together. As Raffaghelli concludes, the VWLS becomes meaningful, diverse, but also comprehensive of the own original cultural context, because built semantically by themselves. This sense making process could impact on a new dimension of intercultural learning in a new place without frontiers, that is represented by “virtual” reality. The conceptualization of such a space takes the author to think on an enlarged cultural context, as a learning context that is built, emphasizing the concept of thirdness resulting from dialogic perspective of interactions. In fact, we could conclude that the whole work attempts to think the process of formation of intercultural identities in the context of new, enlarged cultural relationship, and the role of secondary education. We consider here identities in terms of experience of relationships, and particularly, as experience of relationships among educators and learners and among peers within the educational process. In this way, we can take up again the question of dynamism versus closure of cultural identities. It’s our attempt to show how the formation of an intercultural competence – a part of new

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identities in the planetary society – is a process of openness to new cultural experiences: confronting and modifying basic – culturally learned – emotions, like fear and anxieties; recognizing otherness as new, not a projection or extension of one’s own – culturally acquired – vision of the world. Only on these bases reciprocity becomes feasible, and it will be possible to display empathy, concern and responsibility in the intercultural relationship, that crucial ingredient of sustainable societies, like Europe aims to become.

introduction

Venice, November 2010

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Part one Theoretical issues


Juliana E. Raffaghelli (j.raffaghell@unive.it)

The big picture: Meeting educational challenges in an increasing multicultural world

Dai primi 80, la ricerca sull’educazione interculturale ha discusso il proprio potenziale per introdurre il dialogo fra le civilità, in ordine a ridurre il conflitto, mirando a limitare la percezione dell’alterità come minaccia. Oggigiorno, questo punto di vista è stato sviluppato, lasciandosi dietro l’idea della classificazione delle culture, per un nuovo punto di vista – quello introdotto dal progetto PERMIT –. E cioè che le culture sono qualcosa di dinamico, continuamente in evoluzione, generate sulle basi del dialogo e l’interazione: la nozione di cultura come forum (Bruner, 1988, 2003, p. 152), che a suo tempo introduce la nozione di pratiche insegnamento e apprendimento come attività principale per ripensare una cultura di apprendimento (Margiotta, 2007). In effetti, un significativo numero di esperienze educative sono interamente dedicate a capire come valori, opinioni ed attitudini (rappresentanti di un’identità culturale) possono essere esplorate e scoperte, nonché rinegoziate, attraverso l’innovazione didattica e nei processi di apprendimento (Minello, 2008). Questo concetto in evoluzione è presente in diversi ambiti focalizzati di ricerca sull’educazione interculturale, che vengono introdotti in modo sommario in questo articolo; e cioè, dalla ricerca sul curriculum, alla ricerca didattica, su processi di apprendimento, sull’analisi e sviluppo della competenza interculturale, e sulla professionalità degli insegnanti con riguardo a questo settore. Si punta così a introdurre, attraverso queste tematiche, I fondamentali che hanno impulsato la sperimentazione proposta dal progetto PERMIT. Key Words: Intercultural Education, teaching methods, intercultural competence, enlarged cultural context of learning.

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

abstract

From 80’s, research on intercultural education has discussed its potential to introduce dialogue among civilizations, in order to reduce conflict, and preventing the perception of otherness as a menace. Nowadays, that position has evolved, leaving behind the idea of cultures classification towards a new point of view, – the one is introduced through the PERMIT case –. Namely, the position of culture as a dynamic entity, continuously evolving, and created on the bases of dialogue and interaction; this is the notion of culture as a forum (Bruner, 1988, 2003, p. 152), which in time introduces a conception of teaching and learning practices as main activities to rethink and rebuild cultures (Margiotta, 2007). In fact, the attempt of current research in a number of educational contexts is entirely devoted to show how cultural values, opinions and attitudes (representing cultural identity) can be discovered and re-negotiated through new pedagogic practices (Minello, 2008). This evolving concept is present in several focal research fields of intercultural education, that are summarily presented in this chapter: curriculum research, teaching methods, new learning environments, the achievement of intercultural competence, and teachers’ professionalism. The attempt here is, while introducing these topics, to depict the foundations and background that impulsed PERMIT’s project experimentation.

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1. From the clash of Cultures to a new culture of education for intercultural dialogue Political scientist Samuel P. Huntington introduced the notion of “Clash of Civilization”s funding the idea that people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. The theory was originally formulated in a 1992 lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, which was then developed in a 1993 Foreign Affairs article titled “The Clash of Civilizations?”1 in response to Francis Fukuyama’s 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. Huntington later expanded his thesis in a 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, which could be illustrated with his own words

Raffaghelli

H

“It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future”.

Huntington believed that while the age of ideology had ended, the world had only reverted to a normal state of affairs characterized by cultural conflict. In his thesis, he argued that the primary axis of conflict in the future would be along cultural and religious lines. As an extension, he posits that the concept of different civilizations, as the highest rank of cultural identity, will become increasingly useful in analyzing the potential for conflict. Civilizations may consist of states and social groups (such as ethnic and religious minorities).

Figure 1 – Huntington’s Map 1

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Article published by Foreign Affairs online Journal, The Council of Foreign Regions, Summer 1993 – http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/48950/samuel-p-huntington/the-clash-ofcivilizations – Accessed 21 May 2009.


Predominant religion seems to be the main criterion of his classification, but in some cases geographical proximity and linguistic similarity are important as well. Using various studies of history, Huntington divided the world into the “major” civilizations in his thesis as it’s illustrated in the map (figure 1). Iranian leader Mohammad Khatami introduced the idea of Dialogue Among Civilizations as a response to the theory of Clash of Civilizations. The term “Dialogue among Civilizations” became more known after the United Nations adopted a resolution to name the year 2001 as the year of Dialogue among Civilizations. The belief of Western world in the universality of the West’s values and political systems is naïve and continued insistence on democratization and such “universal” norms will only further antagonize other civilizations. Huntington sees the West as reluctant to accept this because it built the international system, wrote its laws, and gave it substance in the form of the United Nations.

Huntington’s conception of the world, represents a picture of current cultural forces and power game driving relations among civilizations. What Huntington vision seems to miss is the potential of education to intervene in post-conflict societies. In fact, the aim of intercultural education is and will be to prepare individuals, as part of these civilizations, to dialogue and reduce conflict, preventing to perceive otherness as a menace. Nevertheless, the concept of culture classification needs to be contested from another point of view, – the one is introduced in the PERMIT case – : this is the position of culture as something alive, continuously evolving, and created on the bases of dialogue and interaction: the notion of culture as a forum (Bruner, 1988, 2003, p. 152), and the notion of teaching and learning practices as the main activities to rethink and rebuild cultures (Margiotta, 2007). In fact, the attempt of the experiences introduced in a number of educational contexts is entirely devoted to show how values, opinions and attitudes (representations of cultural identity) can be discovered and re-negotiated through new pedagogic practices (Minello, 2008), even when, considering other famous approaches on cultures classification, they represent a software of the mind2.

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The big picture

Huntington identifies a major shift of economic, military, and political power from the West to the other civilizations of the world, most significantly to what he identifies as the two “challenger civilizations”, Sinic and Islam.

We refer to the very well known approach of the sociologist Geert Hofstede, who developed a classification of cultures. Dr. Hofstede conducted perhaps the most comprehensive study of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. From 1967 to 1973, while working at IBM as a consultant in human resources development, having to face several conflict in intercultural communication, he collected and analyzed data from over 100,000 individuals from forty countries. From those results, and later additions (19952005), Hofstede developed a model that identifies four primary dimensions to differentiate cultures: Power Distance, Individualism-Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance, MaculinityFeminility. He later added a fifth dimension, Long-term Outlook, when collaborating with a colleague from Hong Kong University, and in relation with Confucian cultures. As with any

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The risk of culture classification, when introduced in educational contexts, is to bring a set of binary oppositions as consequence of comparisons between the behaviors of individuals who are themselves positioned as generalized microcosms of particular “civilizations” or “national values”. This approach has been characterized by Hewling as “essentialist” (2005), in the sense of its too reductive conception of what cultural identity is and what it produces in the individual. In fact, according to Hewling (2005) it generates a number of complications: • •

Raffaghelli

It assumes that behavior observed in one national may be used under similar conditions to predict the behavior of another; It assumes that individuals identify themselves primarily in terms of their membership in a cultural grouping labeled externally as a particular nation state; while stressing similarities among members of a national group, it emphasizes difference at the point of intersection with any other group (or member of that other group).

Therefore, an intercultural approach to education, based on the premises of dialogue among differences and construction, represents the most appropriate response to the challenges of globalization and complexity (Portera, 2008). It offers means to gain a complete and thorough understanding of the concepts of democracy and pluralism, as well as a different customs, traditions, faiths and values. Intercultural education helps to identify the risks of globalization and multicultural communities; of economically motivated rules and regulations, without any intervention by governments and /or politics. Intercultural education approach, taking into account the diversities that are involved and interacting in an educational setting, could allow a more inclusive view of society, respectful of differences, and eager to build new horizons of (inter) culture, without falling into the melting pot identity, but recovering memory and identity.

2. “Living together as Equals in Dignity”: new approaches for an intercultural understanding In stressing the importance of interculturalism within education, we should understand, first of all, that interculturalism is not one aspect of educational provision; and secondly, that is a complex concept in social sciences, which need to be well defined in order to address practices. generalized study, the results may or may not be applicable to specific individuals or events. In addition, although the Hofstede’s results are categorized by country, often there is more than one cultural group within that country. In these cases there may be significant deviation from the study’s result. Hofstede’s approach insist on the importance of getting to know other culture dimensions as a “software of the mind”, to better understand other’s actions as coming from a different cultural matrix. He emphasize the idea of cultural values as something deepen root on behavior patterns of individuals, since they are not conscious. Our critic to this study is the inflexibility of culture to be modified, recreated, meanings renegotiated, leading to put “labels” to other cultures as rigid entities. Instead of that, awareness and metacognitive reflection on cultural values can lead individuals to adopt new patterns of communication and behaviour, recreating, through interaction, new culture.

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Within the first dimension, it’s to be considered that interculturalism is not a subject which can be given timetable time alongside all the others, nor is it appropriate to one phase of education only. Interculturalism is a theme, probably the major theme, which needs to inform the teaching and learning of all subjects… If education is no intercultural, it is probably not education, but rather the inculcation of nationalist or religious fundamentalism (Coulby, 2006).

Connected to this, and before entering on the analysis of practices, there’s the need of defining “intercultural”, a term plenty of meanings that are differently applied in the several scenarios of education and social policies. The terminological shift from multicultural to intercultural education, which occurred rather swiftly over twenty years ago, was accepted at the time unquestioningly and apparently without hesitation3. The shift coincided, either

3

An educational approach to the phenomenon of diversity emerged in the 70s, in industrialized countries with high flows of immigration. In the USA and Canada,with the first scientific articles and contributions in the early 1970s, and is still a widely used term. Curricula on multicultural education were introduced in Canada in the 1970s, mainly in response to Franco-Canadian movements and other anti-anglicising minorities. Even in Australia, the first educational answers on a multicultural level arrived in the 1970s. The concept of intercultural education has only begun to take root in English-speaking countries during the past few years (Gundara 2000, Sleeter and Grant 2007). In Europe, mainly in countries like France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, the first problem identified by policy makers and educators, was the “pedagogy of reception”: on the one hand, developmental measures for learning the host countries languages were put in place; on the other hand a great deal of emphasis was placed on giving children the opportunity to preserve their languages and cultures of origin, so that a return to their native country could become possible at any time. Also during this time, numerous projects were created which could be termed multicultural: the main aim was getting to know about commonalities and differences on a linguistic, religious and cultural level. In the 1970s, some countries even saw the creation of new subjects due to the growing numbers of foreign children in schools, whose goal was the realisation of specific, separate measures of intervention for foreign children (Portera, op. cit). The new concept of trans-national, European identity emerging in the wider European context encompassed more critics to the concept of multiculturality, considering the risks of an assimilatory pedagogy, in open conflict with mobility and collaboration across European Union. In fact by the 80s, theoretical considerations and practical intervention strategies on an intercultural pedagogy started to grow in research about school education (Portera 2003a, 6-26; 2006a, pp. 89-100). Even when the Council of Europe adopted the strategy of multiculturalism and multicultural pedagogy in the 1970s, through a resolution (no. 35) of Conference of Ministers, focusing on

The big picture

According to these ideas, the theorization of intercultural education, is not simply a matter of normative exhortation, of spotting good practice in one area and helping to implement it in another. It involves the reconceptualization of what schools and universities have done in the past and what they are capable of doing in the present and the future. If we want to build on an intercultural approach of education in order to promote intercultural dialogue, we need to be able to draw on a range of histories, contexts and practices and put one alongside another in order to facilitate understanding and, potentially, development. Which is clearly a complex task, that PERMIT project probably faced in part, as good or maybe excellent practice of training, teaching, and researching in a shared framework. A shared framework that could build new horizons of intercultural dialogue.

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side of 1980, with attack of multicultural education from two directions. First, the familiar nationalist concern that school practices and knowledge should embody those of the state and only the state in terms of language(s) religion, culture or values, according to the context. Secondly, from a more pluralist position, the concern multicultural education did not sufficiently directly address issues of racism and that it offered only a tokenistic understanding of non-dominant knowledge, denigrating cultural difference to the study of samoas, saris and steel bands (Mullard, 1980, quoted in Coulby, op.cit). While the terminological shift did not resolve these two sets of concerns, it seemed to offer a fresh start and one less influenced by the previously dominant and self contained theory and practice emanating from the USA and the UK. The council of Europe did a great contribution to this shifting scenery (Gobbo, 2004). Promoting intercultural dialogue contributes to the core objective of the Council of Europe, namely preserving and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. In 2008, following a wide scale consultation on intercultural dialogue ensued between January and June 2007, the Council of Europe launched the “White Paper

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the entry age of migrant worker children into schools of the member states, the vision was put on integration to the complex industrial societies of Europe in respect of their own cultural backgrounds, maintaining cultural and linguistic links to the country of origin, so as to facilitate possible school reintegration in case of re-entering the original countries. Further conferences (Bern, 1973; Strasbourg, 1974; Stokholm, 1975; Oslo, 1976) addressed problems relating to the education of migrant workers, as well as the possibility of maintaining one’s links with languages and countries of origin. Lately, between 1977 and 1983, under the direction of L. Porcher and Micheline Rey, a working group which aim was to examine teacher education in Europe with respect to methods and strategies to manage with cultural diversity was set up. And in 1983, (Dublin Conference), the European ministers for education highlighted the importance of the intercultural dimension of education while considering the integration of migrant children. It followed a recommendation for teacher education based on intercultural communication. After these important events, the Council of Europe has been continually promoting projects for education, defining it as intercultural rather than “multicultural” (Portera, 2008). Taking into account Rey’s recommendations in 90’s, Portera stresses that in those years the intercultural perspective as educational and political phenomenon emerged; in fact, for the Council of Europe, interactions contribute to the development of co-operation and solidarity rather than to relations of domination, conflict, rejection, and exclusion (Foucher 1994). Of particular significance were studies concerning Human Rights and minorities; identity, as the complex (plural) identity, referring to elements (values, symbols, any kind of cultural feature) of various cultures and individuals. All this background helped to move on from the idea of a sole economical/financial and destructive globalization were dialogue and intercultural understanding could generate a second globalization of access to knowledge and tolerance. Consistently, the Council of Europe established the project Education for democratic citizenship in co-operation with several transnational entities, namely, the European Commission, UNESCO, World Bank, OSCE, UNICEF, Soros Foundation, etc. (1997-2008) aiming to raise awareness of civic and human rights, as well as responsibilities encompassed in life in the democratic society, . The most recent Council of Europe projects carry the following titles: Intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention (2002-2004); Youth building peace and intercultural dialogue; Heritage classes international exchanges; The new challenge of intercultural education, religious diversity and dialogue in Europe in cooperation with UNESCO and ALECSO (since 2003); and lately, it has given support to the Intercultural year of European Commission (2007) and the ongoing year of fight against poverty and social exclusion in the EU (2010).


on Intercultural Dialogue” which aimed to address main policy actions in the social and educational field. One of the recurrent themes of the consultation was that old approaches to the management of cultural diversity were no longer adequate to societies in which the degree of that diversity (rather than its existence) was unprecedented and ever-growing. In fact, achieving inclusive societies needed a new approach, and intercultural dialogue was the route to follow, overcoming approaches such as those of cultural assimilation or multiculturalism.

The effort of the Council of Europe was hence to provide definitions of interculturalism as a part of promoting the principle of living together in very complex and diverse societies through dialogue. In fact, accordingly to the Council the risks of non-dialogue are considerable: to develop a stereotypical perception of the other; build up a climate of mutual suspicion, tension and anxiety; use minorities as scapegoats and generally foster intolerance and discrimination. Intercultural dialogue was to be defined as an open and respectful exchange of views between individuals and groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds and heritage, on the basis of mutual understanding and respect. Furthermore, it would operate at all levels –within societies of Europe and between Europe and the wider world.

The big picture

“There was…a notable lack of clarity as to eat that phrase might mean. The consultation document invited respondents to give definition, and there was a marked reluctance to do so. In part this is because intercultural dialogue is not a new tablet of stone, amenable to a simple definition which can be applied without mediation in all concrete situations. In part, this indicated a genuine uncertainty as to what intercultural dialogue meant in practice” (White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, 2008, p. 9)

This discussion and new conceptualizations in academic and international contexts, let us imagine the problem at the level of concrete practices and educational research activities. In fact, a first approach to them should pay careful attention in order to explore and pull out the several assumptions underlying practices and discourses about cultural values and intercultural dialogue, in order to avoid overcame conceptions of “culture” and “cultural contact/interaction”. Prejudices and common places could guide activities at school more strongly than clear conceptions about the complex issue of dialogue among differences, preventing the construction of new and inclusive learning cultures.

3. Intercultural dialogue across educational systems: the status quaestionis More than in any other place, diversity has entered in classrooms. The many cultural backgrounds that lead kids, parents and teachers are reading facts and practices are revealed by the declination of “well founded” beliefs in traditional education: academic success, intelligence, learning performance, didactics, teaching. The discussion, as we have seen above, is not new at all; which is rather

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new, is the dimension of the multicultural phenomenon, once focused on rich countries that concentrated immigration flows, or ex-colonialist countries, that considered their relations center-periphery. The problem of a multicultural society, and therefore the challenge that education has to face, is completely renewed, not only because of migrations or ethnic conflicts, but also because of the accent put on discovering and promoting cultural identities based on neohumanistic values; hence, a new vision of humankind , in a planet that appears to be smaller and smaller: a planetary identity, in E. Morin’s words (Morin, 2003). Again, this kind of vision attempts to overcome the “essentialist” position, that equates culture with nationality. In fact, the aim is to think interpersonal interaction that encompass the whole complexity of cultural influences and determinants brought into play by the key players in that interaction, in constructing something new, that takes to a broader vision of being.

Raffaghelli

Cormeraie (1998) underlines a dangerous tendency in teaching to view other cultures from an ethnocentric perspective and states categorically: “Teaching about other cultures as a strategy for reducing prejudice does not work. Nor does it address the issue of cultural bias which can be detected in those selected aspects of the other culture that teachers ethnocentrically choose to indict or advocate in their course reinforcing in so doing stereotypes and polarities“ (Cormerai 1998 – quoted in Toll, S. 2000, p. 2)

This kind of approach brings new light to the curriculum organization as well as on educational planning and instructional design processes: from one hand, there is the need of more active participation into meaning making processes (creating culture, from a constructionist point of view); from the other hand, it seems necessary to understand and deconstruct meaning coming from nodes of human knowledge as result of historic and social processes of reification (Raffaghelli, 2010). This introduces two important sides of an intercultural approach: the first, relating to didactics or transversal approach to organizing teaching and learning; the second, relating to a critical approach to the discipline, considering not only knowledge but also epistemological and socio-historical foundations of knowledge taught. Needless to say, this represents a revolution for national curricula. In the latest years, across national curricula, several issues have been raised in order to promote intercultural dialogue (see Minello & Raffaghelli, this work). In the following paragraphs, it will be introduced a very summarized picture of the state of art about the educational shifting towards a planetary education. A) Improving the quality of education through the diversification of contents and methods and the promotion of universally-shared values (Morin, 2003; Carneiro, 2007) I. Strengthening of democratic citizenship and respect for human rights trough education. Empowering each individual to become an active participant in a democratic society is a basic prerequisite for the construction of a peaceful society that

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manages its internal conflicts in a non –violent way. It is necessary to revise educational policies, produce up to date teaching and learning materials and organize appropriate in-service-teacher-training programmes. Educational networking among schools of neighboring countries and other regions may be an important point of beginning , eliminating elements leading to segregation of the various communities (Council of Europe, All Equal-All Different Project, 2008). II. Dialogue among civilizations

As a result of the above quoted declarations, a particular importance have been given to the question of language teaching and learning, as main channel to start dialogue among civilizations. In any case, there’s a wholly new tendency on policies addressing languages teaching and learning, which is, shifting of “main international languages” to the promotion of richness of all national languages and dialects; and focusing on cultural aspects that encompass speaking, listening, reading and writing in a given foreign language, rather than learning language’s structure and grammar (Council of Europe, 2003). Foreign language teaching/learning is fortunately one of the most developed areas in Europe, that is currently articulating innovative projects towards multilingualism, with an intercultural approach, bringing to the center the question of intercultural communication.

The big picture

“Our village or district has become global, and we cannot choose our neighbors” (UN General Assembly 2001). “Dialogue among civilizations is a process between and within civilizations, founded on inclusion, and a collective desire to learn, uncover and examine assumptions, unfold shared meaning and core values and integrate multiple perspective through dialogue” (UN General Assembly 2001). “None civilization by itself can claim to represent all humanity and to assume full responsibility for it. Neither can one single civilization claim exclusive rights to provide a universally valid vision of how to be a good human beeing and how to live wisely in today’s world” (V.Adamkus, president Lithuania) – cfr. “World heritage in your hands” UNESCO project–.

III. History teaching and knowledge of neighboring countries The disintegration process after wars in Europe, and the further step into integration, has have as starting point a situation characterized by significant lack of interest in the neighboring countries, who may also be compound by different ethnic groups within a country or in neighboring countries. To tackle this problem, knowledge and information is being spread, aiming to build “cultural awareness” not only about neighboring European countries, but also, about the same minorities within the country and inside communities. It is to be clarified that a vision of “regional” groups, rather than “national” identities is preferred, avoiding artificial “labels” produced by “national” identity. Stereotyped images of neighboring countries and of ethnic minorities within a country, conveyed by history textbooks used in secondary schools need to be eliminated as they carry the virus of discrimination. It is necessary to foster better knowledge of the history of the multicultural characters of Europe if reconciliation among communities is to be achieved (Council of Europe, White Book on Intercultural Dialogue, 2008).

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IV. Protecting national minorities Minority protection is an integral part of human rights campaign. Everyone is free to choose to be part or not of relevant minorities: the rights of these can be exercised by the same interested group or jointly with others. It underlines the importance of equal treatment and the right of preservation of the own culture and identity, avoiding deliberate assimilation, but at the same time allowing integration. It is also emphasized the importance on tolerance, intercultural dialogue and protection against discrimination. In fact, minorities’ members, like any other individual in society, shall enjoy universal rights as freedom of assembly, association and of religion. Their freedom of expression and information implies also a right to have their own media and their access to other media in the society where they live. Special attention should be paid to the right of using the own language, as well as their rights concerning personal names, signs and descriptions, places and street names. A core concern is the right to learn their own language and under certain conditions to have access to instruction in the minority language. Last, but not least, is the right of people belonging to national minorities to take active part in cultural, social and economic life and public affairs, in particular those reaching them in some extent. There is a growing need to move away from the emphasis on “taking care� of minorities as part of folklore, towards a more inclusive approach focused on universal human rights and constructive dialogue among diversities. B) Enhancing scientific, technical and human capacities for participation in the emerging knowledge society, that means I. Promoting, in the field of sciences, dialogue-oriented initiatives focused on the link to sustainable development, and significant learning of the natural and social sciences as means for social transformation and increased networking and cooperation. It is an uncontested fact to day that human society is dependent upon science and technology and its applications non only for the progress of humanity, but also for its survival in the future. It is imperative to instill in every citizen a basic understanding of the importance of Science and Technology in all aspects of life for sustainable energies and materials as part of new balance of economies all around the world, in order to avoid ecological disasters caused by climate change. Nevertheless, in past several decades, there has been an increasing trend among young people to turn away from S&T, because of the emergence of more attractive careers alternatives (developed countries), and by the lack of adequate infrastructures to provide corresponding outlets (developing countries). As a consequence, there is a pressing need to make S&T attractive for young people from formal education to learning processes on the job. Some projects could be referred to regional cooperation mechanisms (water and its management), to dialogue between traditional and local knowledge holders and scientists, to introduce new contents in sciences subject: climate change, natural disaster, waste management, energy resources, biodiversity resources, capacity building, enabling environments, health.

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II. Rebuilding networks for scientific cooperation The integration of research networks and infrastructures of scientific cooperation needs to be improved in Europe. Brain drain in some European areas is affecting scientific productivity, having long terms effects on economic development. Rebuilding networks for scientific cooperation and enlarging them is being conceived as a large scale programme with five components: life sciences, environmental sciences, computer sciences and information technology, materials sciences and selected aspects of social sciences. This kind of focus need to be strengthened from secondary education, promoting the interest on sciences, but also, giving clear opportunities of knowing science developments in it own realm, and sciences application for cultural development. C) Protecting cultural diversity and encouraging pluralism and dialogue among cultures and civilizations (ARTS)

The development of a culture of conservation and of a culture of respect for the multiethnic heritage of the area is a specific priority. This should address further development of cultural and ecological tourism, an important opportunity for economy growing, but with a vision of sustainability. II. Artistic creation for promoting intercultural dialogue Transcending cultural and religious differences may well be the most difficult task on the road of European integration. An important contribution towards establishing intercultural dialogue among the communities of Europe countries can be made taking advantage of artistic education to foster a better knowledge of other cultures. Re-establishing links among the citizens could thus be encouraged through systematic international support for exhibition and festivals of contemporary art. Art education projects with an intercultural perspective could be a positive framework for mediation and for the prevention of conflict escalation based on inter community-clashes. In other words, art must be at the service of overcoming community barriers and identity-based issues; it can play an important integrating role as vector for intercultural communication. Furthermore, contemporary art can act as an informal pedagogical tool capable of opening minds to the richness of cultural diversity.

The big picture

I. Protection and safeguarding of cultural and natural heritage

D)Promoting access to information and new means of communication through the use of technologies An increased and systematic use of modern information and communication technologies is advocated not only in the teaching/learning process in educational institutions, but also in educational planning and policy making. The Web 2.0 is facing all societies to an amazing change in the way media play a role within societies. Users are becoming more and more capable to govern the own communication spaces through the use of social media. As a result, the States are no longer able to control media, while single users are empowered to communicate freely on the bases of the same web architecture. Nevertheless, the

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flows of words, messages and images conveyed by the traditional mass media, as well as the ICT have created an ”information overload”, which contributes to the lack of trustworthy of media. There is therefore a real need for developing critical media reading/watching skills and to raise awareness of the role of the media in a democratic society, a competence that is recognized as information literacy.

4. Teaching Methods: a new education to develop an intercultural competence 4

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But an intercultural experience in class is not only shaped by the topics affords. It’s intrinsically build through climate in class, the active participation and the sense of exploring diversity through everyday activities at the school. This goes together with a new idea of teaching, by building participatory settings in classroom that allow the expression of the several intelligences and cultures present in class, as part of a more inclusive education (Cohen, 1997). According to Italian background, which is confirmed by international trends in research, in order to achieve an intercultural approach to teaching, the teacher needs to focus on the following issues concerning didactics (Minello, 2008): • Planification (The Learning Unit or educational project should consider multiple intelligences’ expression through multiple languages of communication – body, images, words, numbers, etc.) • Methodology (the method teaches more than the content: intercultural education introduces methods of social mediation) • Evaluation (the intercultural education works on the concept of formative evaluation as eco-social co-evaluation) Nevertheless, traditional teaching approach is still too utilized (OCSE, 2009). Even though it plays an important role in the school for the mass of modern society, it is no longer suitable for the new requirements of the liquid society (Hargreaves, 2003, Margiotta, 2007) That is because: • Traditional teaching approach favours centrality of teaching, instead of that of learning; • It favours fragile and standardized identity-making processes, too rigid to support the fluid relations undertaken in the postmodern context. It is in this context that participation, negotiation and building of new meanings as part of a new constructivist approach to learning, that is based on the conception of “culture as a forum” (Bruner, 1996), could give place to a brand new learner-centered experience. This would be in line with a new conception of education and training is needed in the fluid context of post-modernity: with the use of methods that are no longer focused on competitive growth of the individual, but on complex social experience that emphasizes the role of networked environments. These would in time stimulate and ease the improvement of all those cognitive and metacognitive

4

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Based on Rita Minello’s lecture, PERMIT First Residential Seminars, Istanbul, 11 February 2009.


abilities that are useful to generate a dialogic strategy, necessary to interact with diversity. In fact, as we will see further in this chapter, intercultural education is embedded in a learner-centered, constructivist approach, in the sense that dialogue is an essencial part of knowledge sharing and building. But, as a distinctive effect, the intercultural dimension of dialogue bring into the group diversity that requires intensive efforts of negotiation and “interthinking” to build new intercultural experiences in class.

Intercultural education seems to play an important role within this new process of education, considering the way in which it interrogates practices, pushing to criticize traditions and raise awareness about inequalities that the educational practices and the system generate every day. Let’s consider the following table, that, in the view of UNESCO (2004) summarizes the axes of educational shifting: as we can see, it gives elements that are transversal to intercultural education, if we take into account the elements defining it. The necessary reflection here is that, if intercultural education was a theme or a concern from 90’s to recent years, nowadays it is becoming a part of educational shifting, because diversity is no more an unusual situation, but rather the rule of social postmodern condition.

5

The big picture

Addressing New Teaching Methodologies: New approaches to curriculum, instructional design, textbook management and assessment5

Chapter based on Margiotta’s model “Apprendimento per Soglie di Padronanza” – Learning by Thresholds of Mastery

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Raffaghelli

FROM

TO

Teaching and teacher-centered Curriculum & textbooks designed to reflet roles of the terache as “source of information” and”provider” of knowledge

Learning and learner centered (more attention to learning process) – to facilitate active learning – to develop inquiry skills – to nurture creativity – to facilitate learning to learn

Rigid discipline-based subjects

Interdisciplinarity and integration of subjects into curricular “package” in cohesive ways

College-bound cognitive learning

Multidimensional learning for higher learning, for the world of the work and for responsible citizenship

Examination-oriented: teaching to test

Outcomes oriented: achieving learning goals

School education claimed “value free”, without course offering in moral/civic education

Teaching of shared human values made a learning area and values/ethic education to be integrated into curriculum at all levels

Totally academic curriculum

Diversification of educational content

Terminal learning as once for life chance before employment

Integral part of a lifelong learning continuum

Largely national and local concern: education as a primary vehicle for transmitting and preserving cultural norms

Increasing international concern due to globalization (demand for new learning opportunities expanding across communities in multicultural societies)

Highly centralized curriculum process and management

Decentralization, with flexibility for local/regional inputs and adaptation of national core curriculum : about 20%

Overloaded curriculum

Reducing curriculum load by better defining basic subject content and integrating related subject areas

IT education offered only as a subject

ICT integrated into content & process: ICT as a subject ICT as a tool ICT as an educational resource ICT as lever dor educational change

Textbooks being the only dominant curricular materials

Textbooks as part of multimedia learning materials or non standardized textbooks

Curriculum assessment to evaluate learning achievements

Assessment changed accordingly in qualitative and quantitative align with curricular change “to measure non only the measurable but the relevant” Comprehensive assessment of performance of teacher/school and education system UNESCO, 2004

Figure 2 – The Educational Shift - UNESCO, 2004

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The big picture

The above depicted scenery, aims to generate dialogue spaces through teaching and learning: an enlarged cultural environment to learn, which overcomes the intercultural vision of education in the sense of separated diverse entities interacting, favouring a vision of diversities creating new cultures of learning. As part of research on professional identity development across frontiers I have introduced this concept in other works (Raffaghelli, 2008; 2009), but, within the context of PERMIT project, the concept was further explored and used with students in class. Taking into account this concept, there are specific areas of impact that are to be achieved, through a complex engine of developing, training and experimentation: (a) Use of knowledge as a base for a process of deconstruction of symbols, representations and prejudices enclosed within the idea the teacher select and introduce to the class; (b) The dialogue, as process of participation and social construction of new learning cultures, as activity of meaning making; c) the awareness of diverse positions within these symbolic constructions, against social and cultural exclusion; d) the impact on identities. Therefore, symbols and metaphors introduced by new knowledge within symbolic universe of learners stimulate and support processes of expansion of cultural context of reference, creating the bases of sensibility to future diversity and tolerance. According to cognitive approach metaphors stimulate “parallel mapping” among emotional and cognitive structures (Lakoff, 1982). But the use of metaphors are in great degree linked to the cultural context where learners live. Therefore, a guided educational process should focus this spontaneous cognitive process, leading to new cultural contextualization: we could say that learning resources and activities that allow participatory deconstruction of cultural icons and beliefs, introducing new images, representations and practices will support metaphors of new “possible worlds”6. Moreover, the process of negotiating a new context through teachers and learners’ personal positioning (through expert knowledge, specific productions, narratives), is what makes visible the enlargement of cultural context. This new context can be considered inclusive, since it allows participation not only from the point of view of activity (as is supposed to be in socio-constructivist approach); but mainly from the point of view acceptation of “diverse” cultural representations of the world (as symbols, images, practices) into a new synthesis. The several inputs introduced by the teacher in class (from the particular disciplinary perspective) can generate, several ways of access to dominant and “other” cultural imaginaries: in fact, as specific, scientific “narrative”, they introduce many cultural symbols through the metaphors that key concepts enact. When deconstructed through discussions and activities in class, they stimulate that essential human activity that J. Bruner called the “research of meaning”, a psychological activity that helps the human being to find reasons to live, to go through conflict and to solve the cognitive and emotional tensions of problems of every kind. In this perspective, knowledge should take the learner from a self/ethnocentered vision of the world, to a social/ethnorelative ones, which implies

6

According to Bruner’s pedagogical perspective, founded on Rorty’s philosophical perspective of neopragmatism.

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tolerance, ability of understanding diversity, and curiosity about it. Moreover, it should make possible to cultivate the necessary skills that put the individual in the positive condition of negotiating his/her own interests towards common, participatory approach of human activity — being in any case aware of the own unique identity. Therefore, multiethnic learning environments could stimulate and promote the development of relational and communicative competences and of skills going from the simple acknowledgement that social and cultural differences exist to a much greater ability to interact with people coming from other countries. As final part of this process, self-reflection upon and self-assessment of cultural experience can prove to be much more constructive from the educational point of view, owing to the fact that self-reflection and the acquisition of primary cultural experience allows for the authenticity of the cognitions acquired and the possibility to exert an active influence on the process of the formation of the student’s personality. Self-reflection should take learners, together with teachers’ to evaluate the impact of learning experience in the own level of intercultural sensibility. In line with this, many approaches are privileging the use of tools that build on personal reflections about intercultural learning. One of the most relevant of them is the new educational instrument called the Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters (AIE), which a multidisciplinary team of researchers has recently developed for the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe. It has been designed to facilitate and support the development of the intercultural competences which are necessary for engaging in effective intercultural dialogue. This appears to be the base of civic participation and social inclusion, as desired educational impact of and intercultural education. We may represent this assumption with the following figure:

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has been designed to facilitate and support the development of the intercultural c to be the base of civic participation and social inclusion, as desired educational i g Control

Fragmentation – Lack of possibility of being recognized within learning processes

Knowledge generated from power groups “One Culture” “One narrative”

Fear and discomfort in learning situation

Homogeneisation of discourses, knowing is repeating

Hope and Commitment

Inclusion

Knowledge generated from participation and dialogue “Many Cultures” “Many Narratives”

Diversity

The big picture

Participation

Figure 3 – Representation of a Socio-Cultural inclusive model for Education Adapted from R. Carneiro: The Big Picture, Understanding Learning and Metalearning changes, European Journal of Education, Vol 42, No. 2, 2007)

Worth to remember, among the priority objectives of such an approach, there is the interest of creating social cohesion and a culture of peace and openness.

5. Access to knowledge within the enlarged cultural context: the role of the Web In this framework, knowledge introduced through teaching in formal contexts, could represent the breeding ground where differences and similarities can be meaningfully reconciled, thus improving and enriching dialogue within the social fabric; and also facilitating the education of individuals that through critical thinking and cultural awareness become respectful of diversity. The challenge this kind of education poses is the opportunity of vast access to knowledge, and their resignification through teachers and kids shared activities, born from protagonists of science and arts (their personal stories of discovering, making science/art, defending their positions in front of a skpetical society), situations, and values promoted by subjects’ knowledge. The point here seems to be: how to adopt

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proper channels of access to such a complex knowledge, going beyond the stratified representation offered by textbooks and other official fonts? The impressive development of new technologies, have generated a great opportunity to have access to knowledge. In fact the, Web have grown up in a way that have completely reshaped the way people retrieve information for everyday life, having immediate access to news, articles, books, social networks, expert communities of practice, online learning; from the other hand, smaller and cheaper personal PC (like netbooks) and particularly mobile devices, allow people to be connected to knowledge always and everywhere. This instant access to knowledge have generated unique opportunities of learning; in fact, this type of informal, spontaneous learning have been called ubiquitous learning. There’s still another important fact we have to keep in mind when considering technologies and society: from the first Internet, featured as static interface where only few had access, development of programmes that run entire applications online have produced a new Web, the so called “Web 2.0”7. Its characteristics are dynamism, interactivity, and hence the possibility offered to users of owning the data and exercise control over that data. This Web is, in a certain extent, allowing an “Architecture of participation” that encourages users to add value to the application as they content developers (O’ Reilly, 2005)8. This have led to a societal shifting, since people has the opportunity of self-expression participating in what have been called the: a participatory web where users . a new territory on the net, created by people that stand for a new citizenship “without frontiers”. Nowadays, there’s one generation that was born and is growing up within this new territories: kids that are in contact with screens from the very early years, hence called the Screengeneration (Rushkoff, 2006). Their cognitive and social skills are mediated by virtual realities in a way that is inconceivable for adults. In fact, deepening on this hypothesis, Mark Prensky launched in 2001 the metaphor of “Digital Natives”, in opposition to the “Digital Immigrants”, that are the generations grown up in a world without Web and mobile phones. Nevertheless, we should take into account a critical position to this perspective, being the Web a territory of human social practices, it can be concluded that it is also place of cultural and political engagement, with dominant discourses having it effects on participants, and creating zones of exclusion. As emergin in the intensive research of Edmunson about cultures in eLearning processes, much of conclusions in this field have been conducted by Westerners, and critic such as Fougere and Moulettes (2007) and Kim (2007) have pointed to the

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The term “Web 2.0” was coined in 1999 by Darcy DiNucci. In her article, “Fragmented Future,” DiNucci writes: “The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfulls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screenfulls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. It will [...] appear on your computer screen, [...] on your TV set [...] your car dashboard [...] your cell phone [...] hand-held game machines [...] maybe even your microwave oven” DiNucci, D. (1999). “Fragmented Future“. Print 53 (4): 32. http://www.cdinucci.com/Darcy2/articles/Print/Printarticle7.html. Tim O’Reilly (2005-09-30). “What Is Web 2.0”. O’Reilly Network. http: //www.oreilly net.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html. Retrieved 2010-02-10.


Building on this ideas, we should now move on this hypothesis: the potential of discipline’s knowledge deconstruction could be better enhanced through the use of ICT. Not only can new technologies provide an unique opportunity of access to knowledge of every kind; they can also provide a privileged mean to interact with a same concept/information in several languages (including multimedia, in a perspective of multimodal communication)N and contexts, promoting the exploration of new representations of a same idea. Moreover, technologies allow several creative ways of participating in the process of meaning making — new thisrepresentations is possible of through the manipulation of concepts and objects a same idea. Moreover, technologies allow several creative linked to them in the virtual space. Technologies in fact facilitates simulation of w real complex situations, from social games and networks that bring easily otherness into the local class; to experiments with use of hypermedia and virtual Let's2.4.): represent this artifacts. Let’s represent this idea through a simple scheme (see fig

i

The big picture

ethnocentricism implied in this. In fact, the societies showing ICT-intensive cultural paradigm, whose ideologies have been framed by the development of globalized eLearning, are mostly Anglo/North American/Australasian English speaking societies. In increasing manner, several studies demonstrates how societies other than anglophone are participating to the Web, generating new spaces where cultural engagement can be delineated by specific linguistic and symbolic frames, bringing culture into virtual spaces (Rutheford and Kerr, 2007; Gunawardena et. Al, 2009; Raffaghelli, 2010).

Residential Seminar, Project Permit, 10-12 April 2010 Figure 4 – Teaching in the Enlarged Cultural Context K at 2nd Residential Seminar, Project Permit, Taken from the presentation made 10-12 April 2010 Koper, Slovenia

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6. Achieving an intercultural competence The intercultural education model, as it have been depicted before, should take to learning processes and learning outcomes, as competence, in the sense of ways of knowing, doing and being about otherness. In fact, the approach of culture as construction encompasses the idea of developing specific skills that lead to being able to interact with otherness and also build the own identity in the challenging scenery of globalized world. Nevertheless, many models of “intercultural competence”, show principles that conduct to rather “essentialist” vision of culture, in the sense of interacting with rigid achieved cultural backgrounds, instead of being capable of recognize difference as element of opportunity to the own identity development.

Raffaghelli

In fact, there are a few frameworks for culture-centred learning to be considered as basic: Egan (1979) for general education development, Bennett (1993) for the development of intercultural sensitivity, Byram and Morgan (1994) and Kramsch (1993) for the inclusion of culture in the language classroom. The first two are based on the precepts of continuity, progression, and expansion of competence; they are dynamic and interact with the maturation levels of learners. Moving on first approaches to intercultural competence development, we should consider the Bennet’s model about intercultural sensitivity (M. Bennet & J. Bennet, 1993, 2004). This framework, developed within the field of adult learning (intercultural training of US army forces) describes the different ways in which people can react to cultural differences and the degree to which they have adapted to them. It uses six stages to scale the level of cultural adaptation, where it should be the goal to reach the highest stage. The first three stages are ethnocentric as one sees his own culture as central to reality. Moving up the scale the individual develops a more and more ethnorelative point of view, meaning that you experience your own culture as in the context to other cultures. At the next stage these ethnocentric views are replaced by ethnorelative views. The ethnocentric stages of the Bennett scale are: •

Denial: Denial one is simply not able to understand cultural differences. Indicators are benign stereotyping and superficial statements of tolerance. This stage is sometimes accompanied by attribution of deficiency in intelligence or personality to culturally deviant behavior. • Defense: One notices cultural differences, but sees these differences as negative since the evaluation process is done by comparison with the own, perceived as the right, culture. The larger the difference the worse the other culture and the better ones own culture. • Minimization: The stage where superficial cultural differences are recognized and accepted is called Minimization. Minimization because differences are minimized by focusing on similarities between ones own and the other culture due to an ethnocentric point of view.

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The ethnorelative stages are:

Acceptance: Acceptance is achieved when cultural differences are not only recognized but also accepted as an alternative solution of how to organize human existence. Adaptation: The development of communication skills that enable intercultural communication in order to understand and be understood across cultural boundaries qualifies for the adaptation stage called Adaptation. Integration: Integration, is reached when one managed the internalization of bi – or multicultural frames of reference. The one integrated in another culture is seeing one’s self as in process.

The model has been implemented in numerous contexts, mainly from a psycho-social and also intercultural communication studies, since it allow a developmental vision of intercultural sensibility as necessary dimension of leaving in multicultural environments. One of the most structured contribution have been the scale of intercultural sensibility, the intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) , used as tool to understand levels of development of this psycho-social dimension. IDI version 3 is based on Dr. Hammer’s Intercultural Development Continuum, which is an advanced adaptation of Dr. Milton Bennett’s earlier Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity. It measures how a person or a group of people tend to think and feel about cultural difference stemming from any aspect of diversity, human identity, and cultural difference. IDI assesses the core mindset regarding diversity and cultural difference. The scale has been introduced as a tool to recognize the basis for developing “competence leading, working in, and succeeding in an increasingly-diverse domestic and global workplace and marketplace”. In Italy, the inventory has been adapted and used with italian population in cross-cultural studies by Ida Castiglioni (2005), as tool to analize intercultural communication in managerial studies. Nevertheless, in Europe, the importance of the Council of Europe’s reflections and research have focused on the necessity of respect diversity and the several cultural identities living together in the enlarged context of Europe, bringing civic and social concerns to the debate, and going beyond the organizational development concerns that are present in Bennet’s model.

The big picture

Michael Byram represents one of the most important lines of research on analysis and education for competences necessary for intercultural dialogue; in this researcher view, intercultural competence is not automatically acquired, needing to be learned, practiced and maintained throughout life. Basing on a general definition of competence as “Knowing, knowing to do, and knowing to be” (OCSE, 1996), this author, which worked in the field of languages learning and intercultural communication, developed the following framework: • •

Knowing to learn, or Understanding otherness; using and creating opportunities for observation, analysis and interpretation. Knowing to know or achieving cultural knowledge, including sociolinguistic competence; awareness of non-explicit reference points such as values, beliefs, meanings.

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Knowing to be, or Understanding how an identity and a culture are socially constructed; setting aside ethnocentric attitudes and perceptions; openness and interest towards others; intercultural mediation. Knowing to do or the Integration of the three into foreign/L2 languages and interactions.

Raffaghelli

In Byram’s research, the term ‘interculturality’ is used to refer to the capacity to experience cultural otherness and to use this experience to reflect on matters which are normally taken for granted within one’s own culture and environment. Interculturality therefore involves being open to, interested in, curious about and empathetic towards people from other cultures. However, in addition, interculturality involves using this heightened awareness of otherness to evaluate one’s own everyday patterns of perception, thought, feeling and behaviour in order to develop greater self-knowledge and self-understanding. In Byram’s and successive works taking into account his perspective (Alred., Byram & Fleming, 2003; Alred, Byram & Fleming, 2006), hence, the term ‘interculturality’ is to be refered to: • having a tolerant and respectful attitude towards individuals and groups from other cultural backgrounds • being open to, interested in, curious about and empathetic towards people from other cultures • being willing to use the awareness of cultural otherness to evaluate one’s own cultural perspectives and everyday patterns of perception, thought, feeling and behaviour in order to develop greater self-knowledge and self-understanding Based on this understanding of interculturality, the analysis subdivides intercultural competences into six broad categories (which are derived from the work of Byram, 1997): ATTITUDES Respect for otherness: a willingness to suspend one’s own values, beliefs and behaviours, not to assume that they are the only possible and naturally correct ones, and a willingness to accept that people from other cultures have different sets of values, beliefs and behaviours • Empathy: understanding other people’s perspectives, and being able to project oneself imaginatively into the beliefs, values, thoughts and feelings of people from other cultures • Acknowledgement of identities: ability to acknowledge the identities which cultural others ascribe to themselves, and to acknowledge the meanings which they themselves associate with those identities. This is not always easy because there is a tendency to assimilate other people’s identities to the ones which we know from our own cultural perspective • Tolerance of ambiguity: recognising that there can be multiple perspectives on, and interpretations of, any given situation — multiperspectivity, that is, the ability and willingness to take others’ perspectives on events, practices, products and documents into account, in addition to our own. •

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KNOWLEDGE Specific knowledge: Specific knowledge about one’s own culture and about its practices and products is acquired primarily through socialisation within the family and the school. However, in order to be able to understand the perspective of a person from another culture, one also needs to have some specific knowledge about the culture of that other person and about its practices and products. General knowledge: One needs general knowledge about interaction and communication processes and of how these processes are shaped by cultural factors.

SKILLS OF DISCOVERY AND INTERACTION Novelty is often encountered in intercultural dialogue, and nobody can anticipate all of their knowledge needs in advance. For this reason, it is important to be able to find out new knowledge and integrate it with what is already known. In particular, we need to know how to ask people from other cultures about their beliefs, values and behaviours, and how to seek out further information about their cultures. So intercultural dialogue requires skills of discovery and interaction, and these sometimes have to be deployed under the constraints of real-time communication with the cultural other. • Because new cultural knowledge may be acquired during the course of interaction, interculturality also requires behavioural flexibility, that is, the ability to adjust and augment one’s existing capacities and to adapt one’s behaviour to new situations. • Problems in intercultural communication can often occur because the communication partners follow different linguistic conventions. This is because people from different cultures: a) associate different meanings with specific words; b) express their intentions in different linguistic forms ; c) follow different cultural conventions of how a conversation should take place with regard to its content or its structure ; d) attribute different meanings to gestures, mime, volume, pauses, etc. • These problems are exacerbated by the use of foreign languages, when people are often not able to formulate or interpret intentions appropriately in given contexts. Successful intercultural dialogue therefore also entails communicative awareness. Communicative awareness is the ability to recognise different linguistic conventions, different verbal and non-verbal communication conventions and their effects on discourse processes, and to negotiate rules appropriate for intercultural communication.

The big picture

SKILLS OF INTERPRETING AND RELATING A further important aspect of interculturality is the ability to interpret the perspectives, practices and products of another culture. • These skills of interpreting require specific knowledge of the other culture, as well as empathy, multiperspectivity and more general knowledge of cultural practices, products and identities. • Interpretation also requires skills of relating, that is, the ability to compare the perspectives, practices and products of the other culture with corresponding things in one’s own culture, and seeing the similarities and differences between them.

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• • • •

Raffaghelli

• • •

CRITICAL CULTURAL AWARENESS This is the ability to evaluate, critically and on the basis of explicit criteria, perspectives, practices and products both in one’s own culture and in other cultures. It involves: becoming aware of one’s own assumptions, preconceptions, stereotypes and prejudices; identifying the values which are expressed through the perspectives, practices and products both of one’s own culture and other cultures; making an evaluative analysis of those perspectives, practices and products, using an explicit set of criteria in order to do so; working on own everyday patterns of perception, thought, feeling and behaviour in order to develop greater self-knowledge and self-understanding. ACTION ORIENTATION The final dimension of intercultural competence identified in our analysis is action orientation. The actions which an intercultural individual can take can be of many forms, for example: grasping and taking seriously the opinions and arguments of others, according personal recognition to people of other opinions, putting oneself in the situation of others; accepting variety, divergence and difference, recognising conflicts, finding harmony where possible; regulating issues in a socially acceptable fashion, finding compromises, seeking consensus, accepting majority decisions; weighing rights and responsibilities, emphasising group responsibilities, developing fair norms and common interests and needs.

According to this model of intercultural competence, motivation, a positive attitude, purposefulness and commitment are said to be key factors in the success of intercultural contact and intercultural dialogue. The development of intercultural awareness through educational methods - needs therefore to concern itself with knowledge, feelings, attitudes and behaviors. An intercultural teaching should promote activities and learning environments that produce varied, memorable and significant insights about own cultural identity and backgrounds in contrast with others’ own, engaging then students on an affective and experiential level. Activities that should be designed to enable students to reflect upon themselves as individuals and as members of the social groups to which they belong, by exploring their behavior within their micro-cultures in their home country, and enable them to find strategies to cope independently with life in contact with other cultures, or in a foreign environment. Even if Byram’s framework is one of the most extensive and at the same time deepest approach to analyze intercultural competence, since it has been created in the field of language learning, it presupposes the existence of explicit diversities, and the possibility to understand them through the process of exposition to cultural difference, namely, enclosed in other languages. It does not take into account the problem of cultural dominance and the lack of expression of minorities, since it consider that an intercultural communication have place through equal positioning of individuals or groups engaged in. Byram’s model has led to interesting developments but also sometimes misleading definitions of intercultural relations, focusing too much on an essentialist approach of culture

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• •

Level 1: Attitude, disposition to cultural diversity Cognitive attitude/abilities (Intra-cultural awareness, intercultural readiness / comprehension of intercultural context) Intra-cultural/cognitive level: Acquiring new knowledge of one’s own culture. Acquiring new knowledge and awareness of the target culture and, consequently, encouraging the reflection about one’s own culture. Intercultural understanding of the reality: Knowledge of otherness, heuristic approaches to languages and cultures, awareness of the socio-cultural context.

Level 2: Discovery of diversity and modulation of inputs. Emotional attitudes/awareness and behaviour. Cross-cultural/emotional (affective) level : intercultural knowledge, reflection on one’s identity, communication between two cultures (source and target) and, consequently, earning respect and learning tolerance for the new cultural context, ability to challenge and question one’s own conceptual models, tolerance for ambiguity.

The big picture

where this last is considered a close entity that the individual is eager to preserve. For example, working on Byram‘s proposal, ok (1999) has defined three areas of intercultural competence in language learning. In this perspective, the definition of national awareness, is a mental representation, covering the emotional, cognitive and dynamic areas. The cognitive area refers to individual’s thoughts, concepts, judgement and assessment activities, the emotional to the emotions and values that the individual assigns to his/her nation and national attributes, and the dynamic area to his/her aspirations to actively participate in the dynamics of happenings related to nationality. Nevertheless ok highlights that it is difficult to determine easily understood and transparent criteria for considering the phenomenon. On the basis of results of pilot introduction of the language portfolio in Slovenia ( ok, 1999) the group self-reflection and self-assessment as a way to understand the level of development of intercultural competence. According to this research, by using the following descriptors, the portfolio user will evaluate his/her linguistic experience at the following levels: attitude to intercultural diversity; discovery of intercultural diversity and modulation of inputs; transfer of intercultural awareness to life.

Level 3: Transfer of intercultural awareness to life. Dynamic intercultural communication and acting. Intercultural/dynamic level: Response to on one’s own anthropological/cultural experiences, dynamics (action) in cross-cultural referencing, ability to modify one’s own beliefs (intercultural flexibility), positive attitudes and standpoints related to target cultures. The proposed methodology is supposed to enable the portfolio user to gain a deeper insight into his/her linguistic and cultural experience. By writing down and analysing his/her findings, the user will start to develop his/her intercultural sensibility and awareness, which is, needless to say, a life-long process. The problem here seems to be the assumption of a cultural identity as something achieved and fixed , which can be developed considering certain levels of knowledge and skills as highest. This kind of approach, even when very useful in some teaching contexts, could neglect the importance of “learning cultures” as

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flexible, new cultural productions and behavioural patterns emerging from learning interactions. In ok’s words: On the basis of mutual knowledge of one another, various ethnic communities can comprehend and accept cultural norms of other groups and establish unbiased interaction. The competence to identify oneself mentally with other cultures (empathic competence) is often considered as one of the most important intercultural competences (ok, 2009). Interacting with this model, CIRDFA research team proposed the dimension of metacognitions within the framework (Melchiori, Minello, Raffaghelli, 2009), to be implemented for PERMIT project, and emphasizing the idea of continuing development of cultural identity.

Raffaghelli

Metacognitions and metalearning, in the sense of awareness of the own cognitive and emotional processes here seems to play an important part as individual strategies that promote a kind of approach to intercultural contact where understanding and empathy have place. The term “Metacognition”9 was introduced for the first time by Flavell (1970), being often simply defined as “thinking about thinking.” In actuality, defining metacognition is not that simple. Although the term has been part of the vocabulary of educational psychologists for the last couple of decades, and the concept for as long as humans have been able to reflect on their cognitive experiences, there is much debate over exactly what metacognition is. One reason for this confusion is the fact that there are several terms currently used to describe the same basic phenomenon (e.g., self-regulation, executive control), or an aspect of that phenomenon (e.g., meta-memory), and these terms are often used interchangeably in the literature. While there are some distinctions between definitions (see Van Zile-Tamsen, 1994, 1996 for a full discussion), all emphasize the role of executive processes in the overseeing and regulation of cognitive processes. According to Flavell (1979, 1987), metacognition consists of both metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive experiences or regulation. Metacognitive knowledge refers to acquired knowledge about cognitive processes, knowledge that can be used to control cognitive processes. Flavell further divides metacognitive knowledge into three categories: knowledge of person variables, task variables and strategy variables. The term hence refers clearly to an overcome model of cognitive science, that

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It seems to be one of the latest buzz words in educational psychology, but what exactly is metacognition? The length and abstract nature of the word makes it sound intimidating, yet its not as daunting a concept as it might seem. We engage in metacognitive activities everyday. Metacognition enables us to be successful learners, and has been associated with intelligence (e.g., Borkowski, Carr, & Pressley, 1987; Sternberg, 1984, 1986a, 1986b). Metacognition refers to higher order thinking which involves active control over the cognitive processes engaged in learning. Activities such as planning how to approach a given learning task, monitoring comprehension, and evaluating progress toward the completion of a task are metacognitive in nature. Because metacognition plays a critical role in successful learning, it is important to study metacognitive activity and development to determine how students can be taught to better apply their cognitive resources through metacognitive control.


The big picture

finds it background on Miller, Galanter and Pribram (1960). It supports, following Flavell’s definition, the the conception of a mental representation and planning preceding learning actions, both declarative/semantic and procedural, and that there’s the possibility to access to that “knowledge on knowledge”. This capacity means, according to Brown,(1978) – a Flavell’s collaborator – that if somebody is executing a task, in order to acquire or increase capacities and knowledge, it is necessary to be able of 1) make a plan, anticipating the whole situation -with regard to the difficulties that the problem could generate, on the own cognitive categories- 2) to plan the own activities, 3) to verify and control results about the own process of learning, understanding or recall. As we can observe, these definitions have a clearly cognitivist imprinting, that can only be re-dimensioned through the pioneer works of Schoen (1987), and reflexivity on practices. In the recent years, attention has been paid to the learning process as construction of the self, across the life span (Demetrio, 2004), moving the focus from cognitive, rational intelligence to emotional intelligence, and the knowledge of the self. This means, instead of a fragmentary recognition of mental functions (as stated by cognitive approach), the generation of a whole identity representation, which in time lead to the awareness of competence (expert performer in specific contexts). From another point of view, and considering the Activity Theory, (Leont’ev, 1978; Engestrom, 1987), we could say that metacognition occurs when the learner recognizes the tensions generated by the internal contradictions of an activity system. In Bateson’s terminology (1972), according to Engestrom’s analysis of the same, integrating Activity model, “Double Binds“ are faced through this passage of recognition of the own capacities and a profound reflection on the system of human Activity. This leads to an expansive transition through the necessary interactions among diverse activity systems, where these last attempt to deal with a “Runaway Object” (Engestrom, 2009). In this manner, our concern about the metacognitive dimension of intercultural competence is justified because the same could have a consistent impact both in emotional, social, cognitive, and dynamic level, as a transversal element. Therefore, the intercultural learning, towards the creation of new learning cultures that preserve previous representations of culture, emerges from the process of understanding the own identity, from the necessity of the otherness to exist and from the process of continuous creation and re-creation of meaning that contacts with diversity generates.

7. Teachers’ Intercultural Education: key players of Educational Shift need strategic training Teachers are not teaching to cultures, but to individuals, and that one “macroculture” could encompass many “micro-cultures”: in essence, cultural values and identity aren’t something fix, once achieved never changed. Instead of that, a constructivist concept of culture see it as a changing entity, founded on the many narratives of individuals participating to social processes (Hutchinson, 2006). Knowledge is created in the crucible of cultures, and is mediated by the nature of them. In t teaching diversity, teachers need to understand the process by which cultural paradigms, juxtaposed to the process of knowledge construction may

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Raffaghelli

potentially create multiple realities for different students. Teachers need also to be aware that they could be teaching also diverse students; this means heightened awareness by which they can more effectively decipher student knowledge, classroom knowledge, institution knowledge, minorities knowledge; teaching is, therefore, building new cultural realities by negotiating cultural meanings that enter the classroom, to create a respectful and balanced learning environment The teachers, as professionals of education, are at the center of this storm: they cannot remain out of these trends, since they are teaching for the knowledge society (Grant & Wieczorek, 2000) Teachers’ efforts to address intercultural education and dialogue occur in this scenery of educational change, where internationalization in education systems — aimed to achieve international identities and global competitiveness — is to be contrasted with the necessity of facing the problem of migrations at the local level (Gundara, 2000), as is the case of European Union, one of the most developed projects of recognition of a transnational/regional cultural identity in the respect of local cultural traits. Teachers can no longer work from an ethnocentric vision of teaching (Gobbo, 2000): they need to become a professionals able to recognize new multicultural learning contexts, respecting diverse learning styles (Margiotta, 1999; Gobbo, op. cit, 2004), which is completely changing relationships with classroom, peers, institutions and community; also challenging the basis of conventional teacher status and function (Margiotta, 1999). Teachers’ Professionalism at the cutting edge A complex picture of society and learning has been presented in the last paragraphs. A changing, multicultural, and hyperconnected society, where learning seems to occur not only in the classroom context, but in the many opened spaces of life-experience, and particularly, within, or maybe, in-between the net and its new culture, is presenting a clear challenge to teachers. How could they participate and play their role of educators in such a complex picture of new learning contexts? Certainly, this scenery is calling for a decentralized vision of discipline and practices, which is, an intercultural vision, not only about the several nationalities and multilinguistic classroom the teachers’ have to face; but also, about extending the meaning of intercultural, opening it to new emerging languages and cultures created by the net, that could be considered another competing culture to the school and formal /national culture of education. All these problems need an innovating approach that cannot be partial, or fragmentary; in fact, one of the main strategies identified and discussed in EU and in new entering countries (European Commission, 2007), has been the reinforcement of teachers’ training, and research on teachers’ training, through a vision of a mobile profession, among others. Teachers’ professionalism is the core element of quality in education; there’s complete agreement at the international level that professionalism can be achieved through Higher education degree (the so called universitisation process in teachers’ training –Zgaga, 2007-); but there’s a raising concern about valorization of practices and professional identity of teachers, considering them as researchers

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(Elliott, MacLure & Sarland, 1996; Clark & Peterson, 1986; Jansma et. Al., 1997) as experts whose potential could be developed through active participation to teachers’ communities. Those communities in time, by exchanging good practices, could reflect on action (Elliot, 2006); as it has been emphasized (Midoro, 2005; Margiotta, 2007), these activities could lead to professional affiliation, motivation and thus, excellence Teachers’ education seems to need urgent interventions where processes of giving sense to the action of participation in international projects, implantation of teaching innovations, and mobility, could generate opportunities to reflect on ethnocentric teaching practices, with impact on motivation, teaching methods, and then, to the perception of their own role as social actors.

If ever a more complex and nuanced understanding of culture were needed, that time is now. The post-industrial era has brought a global cross-mingling of people as never before in human history. After the trauma of II World War, Europe is keen to educate its citizens in mutual tolerance; the Council of Europe is funding much educational research into interculturality. As I attempted to show in this introducing article, the picture is bigger and more complex that one could imagine when approaching the field of intercultural education. In fact, there is the need of intercultural education, but in which extent the claim of “intercultural” is deeply woven in a Western tradition and representation of education? Educational systems are making efforts to introduce intercultural perspective of curriculum and of teaching, but yet this is not enough to generate and intercultural competence; knowing, as it has generally been emphasizing, is just part of a competence, that requires to be completed with knowing to do and knowing to be, as early emphasized by Delors (Delors, 1996). This is the moment where teaching approaches play an important part, by enacting processes of participation and deconstruction of knowledge introduced through the curriculum as well as through participatory learning environments; this should take people to learn in an enlarged cultural context. In such an educational landscape, technologies play an important role: intercultural education cannot do without the reflections emerging in this field, as I demonstrate in the dedicated paragraphs, and as it will be emphasized later (chapter 9, this work). The last research field considered in this “big picture” of intercultural education is that of intercultural competence: the impact of teaching and learning innovations, it should take to the realization of more committed and aware citizens that are capable of living and interact with diversity in creative manners. Nevertheless, as it has been pointed out, all approaches to “competence” in the field of intercultural research, seem to enclose difficulties in conceiving “culture” as something dynamic, contrasting more constructivist approaches. Indeed, the notion of intercultural “competence” that has emerged mainly through the field of research in languages teaching is a problematic one. Within applied linguistics and

The big picture

8. Conclusions

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Raffaghelli

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language learning and teaching research, intercultural communication has been not only an aspiration, but also an obstacle, to theoretical and pedagogical progress, because of a lack of problematization of the notion of culture itself. For instance, in research where a major component of culture has been ascribed to individuals psychobiographies, Sealey and Carter (2004) found that “...some of the key concepts used in mainstream studies of intercultural communication are vulnerable to criticism”, in particular those that present culture as though it were an attribute of the individual, a property of -or possesion held by- people as a result of where they live, the religion they practice, the colour of their skin and so on” (2004, p. 153) Mainly in the case of teaching L2, in the case of domestic-diversity, the concern about the necessity of new methods has grown up; in the last few years, the construct of culture has been reinterpreted in social terms, leading to a preoccupation with “intercultural”, “cross-cultural”, or “inter-discourse” communication, depending on school of thought (see Piller, 2007). However, research into experiences of language learning carries many stories of full or partial failure, not in the use of the code (local language) but in the partners’ understandings of each others’ cultures, and about the success of interaction among the hosting culture and the foreigners’ one. As we have seen, this problem has led to interrogate the nature of relations with diversity, not only in the case of domestic integration, but also, in the case of mobility as increasing phenomenon (the migration of “rich” in search of new learning experiences, in order to qualify the own learning baggage) The understanding of the notion of cultural difference that underpins most current research arises from a view of culture as manifestation in individuals of all the values, beliefs and ways of thinking and doing things that come with the membership of particular national, tribal, ethnic, civic or religious communities. Culture, in this view, is a consequence of geographical, historical, climatic, religious, political, linguistic and other behavior and attitude shaping influences that are assumed to act on everyone who shares the same physical and social environment. It implies that indiviuals are habituated, or have their minds “hard wired” through upbringing, schooling and the acquisition of language and social customs, and that they can be characterized by ways of behaving and interacting that are typical to people of that nationality or ethnic group. Much of the research into cultural issues in transnational contexts is framed by this kind of conceptualisation, often referring to the work of Hofstede and others who have developed categorizations of national cultural categories such as individualism (focus on self-interest) and collectivism (centred on the interests of family in the wider community); or high context (using the entire social context of an interaction: physical location, status of participants, body language, etc. to interpret its meaning) and low-context (focusing on the direct content of messages, seeking specific information and/or expecting particular responses). This could be interpreted as an essentialist framework, in the sense that they describe individuals in terms of cultural attributes existing at the moment of initiating an interaction; and hence limiting the possibility of enact new forces in a learning context. As I stated before, mostly in the research about eLearning process, the idea of new cultures on the net have been emphasized, since the first studies on “cybercultures” to the last exploration of learning design, learning impact and educational relations in transnational online learning courses (Macfadyen, 2004;


References Alred, G., Byram, M. & Fleming, M. (Eds.) (2003). Intercultural Experience and Education. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Alred, G., Byram, M. & Fleming, M. (Eds.) (2006). Education for Intercultural Citizenship: Concepts and Comparisons. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Banks, J. A. (2001). Cultural diversity and education: Foundations, curriculum, and teaching (4th ed.). Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Ballantine Books, New York (ed. italiana: Verso una ecologia della mente, Adelphi, Milano 1976). Bennet, M.J. (1993). Towards a Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity. In R. Michael Paige (Ed.), Education for the Intercultural Experience. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press. Brown, A.L. (1987). Metacognition, executive control, self-regulation, and other more mysterious mechanisms. In F. E. Weinert & R. H. Kluwe (Eds.), Metacognition, motivation, and understanding (pp. 65-116). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Bruner, J. (1986). Actual Minds, Possible Worlds (trad. it. La mente a più dimensioni, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 1993). Bruner, J. (1988). La mente a più dimensioni, trad. it., Bari: Laterza. Bruner, J. (1996). The Culture of Education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Carneiro, R. (2007). The Big Picture, Understanding Learning and Metalearning changes. European Journal of Education, 42, 2. Castiglioni, I (2005). La comunicazione interculturale: competenze e pratiche. Roma: Carocci Cohen, E., Lotan, R. (Eds) (1997). Working for equity in heterogeneous classrooms: sociological theory in practice. NY: Teachers College Press. Cˇok, L. (1999a). Portfolio Languages in Slovenia: content, procedures and phases of trial implementation in Slovenia 1998-2001. V. Hytonen, J., Razdevsek-Pucko, C., Smyth, G. (Eds), Teacher Education for Changing School. Report Project TEMPUS S_JEP_11187-96, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pedagogy.

The big picture

Goodfellow & Lamy, 2009). This literature draw on contemporary cybercultures of the Internet as well as systems of cultural relations inherited from conventional educational or corporate settings. Whereas the phenomenon of community in online settings has been widely discussed in terms of its ability to generate human feelings and behaviors closely analogous to those experienced in physically located communities (see for example the work of Rheingold about virtual communities, 1993). But again, this puts forward the problem of creating new “melting pots” where the risk of lost of diversities are to be considered. Furthermore, most of this studies have been developed working on higher education and adult learning contexts, contrasting deeply the studies on languages’ learning, which have a more developed tradition on school contexts. PERMIT experimentation have searched for answers in all these directions, without living controversies at the internal research group, mainly generated by the different disciplines collaborating in research and learning design. This is clearly showing how, from theory to fieldwork, much work is needed in developing intercultural learning experiences, and in reflecting not only at the level of learners (teachers and students) but also, at the level of involved research groups, and the disciplinary backgrounds that every researcher brings to the table at the moment of thinking innovation in intercultural education.

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Internazionalizzione e formazione dell’identità, Tesi di Dottorato. Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia. Rey, M. (1986). Former les enseignants à l’éducation interculturelle? Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Rey, M. (2006). The Council of Europe and the field of intercultural education. In A. Portera (Ed.), Educazione interculturale nel contesto internazionale, Milano: Guerini. Rheingold, H. (1993). The Virtual Community, Homesteading on the electronic frontier, Cambridge: The MIT Press. Rushkoff, D. (2006). Screenagers: Lessons In Chaos From Digital Kids. Press Communication. Rutheford, A., Kerr, B. (2008). An inclusive approach to online learning environments: Models and Resources. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education – TOJDE April 2008, 9, (2) http://tojde. anadolu. edu.tr/ tojde30/ pdf/ article_2.pdf. Retrieved May, 21, 2009. Sternberg, R. J. (1984). What should intelligence tests test? Implications for a triarchic theory of intelligence for intelligence testing. Educational Researcher, 13 (1), 5-15. Sternberg, R.J. (1986b). Intelligence applied. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers. Schön, D. (1987). Educating the Reflective Practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Sealey, A., Carter, B. (2004). Applied Linguistics as Social Sicnece. London, New York: Continuum Books. Grant, C.A., Sleeter, C.E. (2007). Doing Multicultural Education for Achievement and Equity. NY: Routledge. Toll, S. (2000). Acquiring intercultural competence within the context of the period of residence abroad, Sub-project report July 2000, for The Interculture Project, University of Lancaster. www.lancs.ac.uk/users/interculture/docs/aic.rtf access on November, 8, 2010. UN General Assembly (2001) The United Nations Millennium Declaration (General Assembly resolution 55/2, 2001) www.un.org/documents/ga/docs/56/a56326.pdf, access October, 2010. UNESCO (2004). Changing Teaching Practices: using curriculum differentiation to respond to students’ diversity, http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001365/136583e.pdf access October, 10, 2010. Van Zile-Tamsen, C.M. (1994). The role of motivation in metacognitive self-regulation. Unpublished manuscript, State University of New York at Buffalo. Van Zile-Tamsen, C. M. (1996). Metacognitive self-regualtion and the daily academic activities of college students. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo. Watts, D.J., Strogatz, S.H. (1998). Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks. Nature 393 (6684), 409-10. Zgaga, P. (2007). Between national education systems and internationalisation: the case of teacher education, University of Ljubljiana, Faculty of Education. Atti del Congresso Internazionale XIII World Congress on Comparative Education Societies, 3-7 September, Sarajevo.


Rita Minello, Juliana Raffaghelli (minello@unive.it / j.raffaghelli@unive.it)

Intercultural values on School System The Italian case

abstract

The objective of this article is to provide a framework for reflection on the prospects of intercultural education, by taking into account the recent changes in education and teaching, based on information provided by National Ministry, but also the growth of the intrinsic sensitivity of teachers in Italy, which have oriented the choices of institutes, extolling the logic of “Autonomia” (Italian law that regulates the process of schooling system decentralization).

L’obiettivo di questo articolo è offrire un quadro di riflessione sulle prospettive interculturali della scuola italiana, prendendo in considerazione la recente evoluzione dei processi educativi e didattici, sulla base delle indicazioni ministeriali, ma anche della crescita intrinseca della sensibilità formativa dei docenti italiani, che hanno orientato le scelte degli Istituti, esaltando le logiche dell’Autonomia. Key Words: Intercultural Education, School Reform, Italian context

In this chapter we will attempt to depict the general scenery on intercultural education within the Italian context. In fact, its main trends can be outlined through four main dimensions that embrace a new vision of the notion of pedagogical approach, as follows: a) The dimension of knowledge and enhancement of diversity seen as an asset, leading to a descriptive vision of cultures; b) The dimension of exchange and reciprocal influences of cultures, that takes to a more dynamic idea of cultures; c) The dimension of empathy, of openness not only from an intellectual but also an emotional point of view, leading to a conception of values and ethics in line with intercultural education. These dimensions are to be implemented through pedagogical practice. Hence, it is essential for practices to be changed: new key words and concepts should be at the basis of activities and educational innovation in Italian schools along with an intercultural approach.

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

1. Introduction

The overview offered by this article aims to demonstrate that intercultural education in Italy, consistently with the international research agenda on

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education, is not considered an extracurricular area of intervention, nor a specific curriculum. Interculturalism is a theme crossing all subjects promoting new ways of thinking both curricula and pedagogical practices: communication styles, management of educational relationships and guidance on learning processes. Projects can put the accent on one of the principles of the intercultural approach, according to the goal to be achieved (e.g. inclusion of immigrant students, internationalisation at home, awareness of locals, etc.) and focus on some teaching methods (cooperative learning, use of technologies). The overall idea is that an intercultural approach can be the basis for an ongoing educational shift. Nevertheless, even when in Italy the research agenda points out the necessity of considering intercultural approach as a comprehensive and leading strategy, practices are still linked to very pragmatic conceptions. Daily activities in class, at school and with families, need to be analysed and deconstructed not only by researchers but mainly by the same practitioners (teachers) and and families as well.

Minello, Raffaghelli

2. The recent past The National Commission for Intercultural Education of the Department of Education, University and Research (MIUR)1 first began to address the issue of interculture in Italian schools in the period 2000-2001. Its goal was to provide a theoretical insight into interculture in Italian schools as well as to analyse and catalogue the best planning practices in the sector. The political, cultural and pedagogical role of the Commission determined its two-fold approach: on the one hand it provided observations on theory, on the other hand it assessed current teaching practices in school settings2. The analysis of the three hundred projects gathered and examined by the Commission reveals a highly varied and disparate approach on the part of Italian intercultural education at the beginning of the third millennium. For instance, 21 “strategic” definitions were identified, corresponding to an equal number of different methods. The list of some of the projects, which can be found in the note

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Commissione nazionale “Educazione Interculturale”, MPI 2000. The synthesis report, I tredici nodi dell’educazione interculturale [The thirteen points of intercultural education] drawn up by P. Capitali, C. Garagnani, M.R. Lolli, M.T. Mircoli, G. Missimei, G. Papponi Morelli, A. Tosolini, can be consulted on the website <http://www.educational.rai.it/ corsiformazione/intercultura/nodi/default.htm> along with several projects contained in the CD-ROM Educazione interculturale [Intercultural education], which collects the best practices chosen by the Commission in 2000. The site also offers more recent projects, developed by the teachers who took part in the first training course in 2000-2001, supervised by the Commission’s work group together with RAI-EduLab Intercultural Education section. The Commission, though not dissolved, was never convened from 13 May 2001 to 2009 May 2001 to 2009, when its composition was largely renewed. The Italian situation as regards school cross-cultural education at the beginning of this millenium is summarised well at a theoretical and practical level in the following work: A. Aluffi Pentini (2002), Laboratorio interculturale. Accoglienza, comunicazione e confronto in contesti educativi multiculturali, Bergamo, Junior.


As regards working guidelines, essential in order to apply theory to the teaching practice, four possible focus dimensions or areas were outlined: • focus on relationships, through the promotion of tolerance and dialogue at school; • focus on knowledge, through intercultural commitment in subject and crosssubject teaching; • focus on interaction and exchange through the development of integrated extra-curricular activities also funded by various bodies and institutions; • focus on integration through the adoption of target-based schemes for foreign pupils. Two members of the MIUR Intercultural Commission together with leading educational experts (Papponi, Tosolini, 2001)4 G. Papponi and A. Morelli Tosolini, offered the Pavone Canavese Education Board a not particularly rosy picture of the official introduction of intercultural education into Italian schools5 and identified the following stages in its development:

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Italian as L2; emergency situations; cultural linguistic mediators; new technologies and cross-cultural education; local centres, adult education, intercultural centres; human rights education; beyond racism, antisemitism, and prejudice; orientation and remediation; the various expressions of cross-cultural education through: art, games, theatre, music; language minorities; European projects, exchange, twinning; refresher courses and documentation; immigrant family relations; the Mediterranean; reception, integration, interpersonal relations; gypsies; interreligious dialogue; disciplines and cross-cultural education; educating towards solidarity and growth; genre identity; democratic co-existence and new citizenship. The paper drew on the conclusions of the Seminar organized by the National Commission for Intercultural Education, whose role was to provide some observations on the role, function and working methods of the commission itself. What follows is a list of the dates and documents that trace the various stages of the official introduction of cross-cultural education in Italian schools. The first stages, reported by Papponi-Tosolini, have been integrated into more recent legislation: • The 1980s: the impact on schools of the first migration flows: a transitional integration

Intercultural values on School System

below3, indicates the various issues, keywords and weaknesses, as well as the actors and specific activities, all classified as intercultural education projects. As regards the choice of methodology and time-frame of these projects, some initiatives were sporadic and occasional, while in other cases the projects were extra-curricular and could be considered as one of many educational initiatives. Yet other activities were specific and target-oriented, such as those designed to meet the language needs of recently immigrated foreign pupils. Other projects involving choices that revised or integrated the syllabus of a certain subject, or else there were inter-disciplinary experimental initiatives that involve the entire teaching staff in order to modify and improve the curriculum’s contents, as well as the school’s methodology and organization. On completion of its analysis, the research undertaken by the National Commission for Intercultural Education, 2000, defined intercultural education as an “integrating background” for the school development plan, and proposed to support the projects through the dissemination of keywords and exemplars, which in effect referred to the various approaches to the issue that the teachers had developed in the intervening period.

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1. empirical stage: 1980s; 2. pre-paradigmatic stage: since the 1990s. This definition refers to the fact that the concept of intercultural education in Italy was still only one of the alternative educational programmes available. Most of all, it was considered only one of the many aspects of the educational environment, whereas now interculture interacts with multiple aspects of everyday life and is a reference paradigm/horizon of understanding for the establishment of a plural and multicultural society. 3. paradigmatic stage: the intercultural horizon in which the various sectors of global society act (economics, politics, culture, law, science and technology) that the Italian school needs to assimilate. Today it has almost achieved its goals, in line with the Italian general public opinion in Italy, but it still has to struggle with prevailing theories that follow pre-paradigmatic criteria. As regards the intercultural predisposition of Italian teachers, the COME Centre

• •

• •

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period, and first considerations on the concept of otherness and interaction between differences. Although few will remember this, these considerations owed a great deal to the first feminist theories on gender difference (which was also first denied by male universalism). Circular n. 205 made on July 1990: on the other hand it provided solutions to practical problems, and on the other provided a few but fundamental, prophetic observations on the definition of cross-cultural education: “Cultural diversity enhances the meaning of democracy and should be considered a positive resource for society and people’s complex development process” [our translation]. Moreover, this circular reminds us that cross-cultural education may occur “also in the absence of foreign pupils”, laying the bases for the notion of an intercultural paradigm. Circular no. 73 /1994 revised cross-cultural dialogue starting from democratic coexistence and at the same time drew attention to the challenge to bring about an interaction between “universalism” and “relativism”; 1996: ministerial directive on “Constitutional Culture: towards a new Paideia. Crosscultural education assumes a framework and structural reference. 1997: adult education and training: local centres. In a knowledge-based society (Bianco Delors) training became permanent and adult training ceased to be merely “compensatory” 1999: Intercultural education in autonomous school institutions: the 13 points of intercultural education. Experimental distance and on-line teacher-training programmes (broadcast by the RAI and RAI-MPI website -RAI, the Italian national television-) strongly adhering to the value of interaction between new types of information technology and cross-cultural dynamics belonging to the same horizon of understanding). 2000: Cross-cultural education as integrating background of the school development plan (ministerial directive 12 June 2000 no. 161). The 2002/2005 National Collective Labour Contract for school workers (art. 9) aimed at preventing exclusion at school, provided for incentives for projects on vulnerable areas with high immigrant density; it implements following ministerial circulars n.40 made on 6 April 2004, n.41 on 24 March 2005 and n. 91 on 21 December 2005. Legislative Decree no. 76/2005, on the rights and duties of education and training, resumed to and extended the concept of compulsory education (art. 68 Law 144/99), and defined the targets as “everyone including foreign minors present on State territory” (paragraph 6 of art. 1). In conclusion, in 2006 (memorandum no. n. 829 on 16 February 2006), the Department of Foreign Student Integration of the MIUR issued the Guidelines for the reception and integration of foreign pupils, providing a policy framework.


in Milan (Favaro 2002) conducted a research in 2002 on teachers’ social attitudes towards the concept of interculture based on their reports on the projects in which they were involved. In the words of the teachers who were interviewed, four aspects of intercultural education were defined, which corresponded to four different pedagogical approaches:

• •

The aspect of knowledge and the acknowledgement of cultural contribution and difference, which alludes to a rather static and descriptive vision of culture; The aspect of exchange and mutual change and contamination, which refers to the dynamic and porous nature of culture instead; The aspect of empathy, in which the – also emotional – approach, is to combat all types of discrimination and racism, which points to a value-based and ethical view of interculture; The aspect of the approach to the subjects and curricular improvement, which refers to a cognitive vision of interculture.

In 2004 the findings of the Intercultural Commission’s research activities, together with an increase in on-going intercultural needs, provided strong incentives to set up network-based local intercultural centres in Italy, which had already existed in many Northern regions. Yet, there were few generic studies on the Italian situation that could be consulted. Indeed, from a methodological standpoint, what was required was a study on the same lines as action research. What can be inferred on the role played by such intercultural centres is that their mission was to develop cross-cultural dynamics, aiming to raise citizens’ awareness on key issues such as peace, human rights and International solidarity. Pioneering centres were to be found in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, already equipped with their own space, headquarters and a number of of professional workers.

3. Ongoing transformations Compared to the situation in 2000, today a radical redefinition of intercultural education in Italian schools apperars necessary, in the light of potential challenges to education, communities and notions of identity. Some of the top-priority challenges are (Papponi, Tosolini, 2001): The challenge of a plural and polycultural society: how can we design new rules for social harmony? Who are the actors involved? Which social interaction model should be adopted – adopted: the public agorà model or the private apartmentbuilding model? Alain Touraine (Id., Touraine 1977) draws a clear-cut distinction between a multicultural and multicommunity society. The former is a society willing to continually negotiate between different co-existing cultures; it is tolerant towards the free flow of cultural proposals. This is the republican outlook, , i.e. the one distinguishing between citizenship and origin and assuming that cultural diversity should not prohibit or impede anyone’s participation in the community as citizen. However, it does not assume, as multicommunitarism does, that keeping cultural differences intact is a value to be respected and defended. Nor does it presuppose healthy debate on the validity of the cultural solutions proposed; in other words, its predominant value is freedom. On the other hand, multicom -

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munitarism assigns cultural difference the status of value in itself, thus immediately preventing any a priori possible communication and significant and mutually advantageous exchange between cultures, claiming that cultures should lock themselves up in their own communitary towers. It is Bauman who stated that a polycultural society had replaced the other two perspectives: “Multiculturalism does not seem to be the most appropriate term. Indeed, it creates confusion, inasmuch as it offers contradictory meanings, which are actually incompatible. Hence, it would be better to do away with the term multiculturalism and speak instead of a polycultural society [our translation]” (Id., Bauman, 2000, p. 200). In a world made up of differences and communities of meaning, such society should teach to live with others. The challenge of citizenship: what does becoming citizens of a plural and polycultural society mean? How should they be received? What are the new rights and duties? What type of setting should be implemented for this new citizenship (Id., Geertz, 1999; Habermas, 1999)? The challenge of constructing a new identity: what does experiencing multiple identities mean? How can one reconcile these differences? What are the methods for building relationships and interactions? What type of education? According to Morin, the plurality of identities as reference point from our perspective is related to local, national, European and global identity (Morin, 1994). Such identities are complementary and are linked to intercultural issues that make up the new paideia of plural societies, namely: •

The recognition and development of the feeling of belonging to a homeland ensures the growth, through multiple channels, of a feeling of unity and solidarity that is essential for civilizing human relations and making globalization more humane. The concept/idea of homeland implies safeguarding different origins in order to contribute to the education of Italian citizens and to raise awareness on the meaning of “nation”. The notion of citizen should be extended to peoples from places which do not have fully-developed institutions yet (Europe) or from those that have none whatsoever (the world) Solidarity and responsibility do not stem from pious exhortations but from a feeling of matri/patriotic affiliation that has to be fostered in each local community, in each nation, in Europe, on Earth. (Morin, 1994).

The 2002-2005 ministerial guidelines substantially continued to propose education towards civil coexistence as a synthesis of school educational policies as defined by law, namely: educating towards citizenship, health, social relations, road safety, environment and nutrition. No explicit reference was made to intercultural education, education towards a culture of peace, growth and difference. This left many teachers and tutors perplexed, and created difficulties as well. Nevertheless, drawing inspiration from the guidelines laid down in article 36 of Law 40 made on 6 November 1998 – which never expired – school teachers began to put the principles of teaching autonomy into practice, in order to offer all pupils “extracurricular intercultural projects aimed at acknowledging linguistic and cultural differences, as well as providing initiatives aiming at mutual tolerance and respect” (Cf. L 59/97 and DPR 8/3/99). However, the ministry felt the need to re-examinate the crucial issues of intercultural education, to reflect on its pedagogical foundations

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and also on the possibility of an Italian path towards European citizenship, principles on the basis of which the school curricula urgently needed to be thoroughly revised.

Great progress has been made in the last few years regarding the two-fold (i.e. theoretical and practical) approach on teaching experience, especially since the phenomenon of immigration has become the cornerstone of Italian society. It could not be otherwise, judging by what the latest Caritas report on the phenomenon of immigration in Italy highlights (2006), namely: rapid demographic change due to ever-growing levels of multi-ethnic groups that settle in Italy6. MIUR foresees that in 2010 the number of foreign pupils will amount to between 488,000 and 550,000, which will reach 710,000 in 2017. The most recent official data coming from MIUR (2007/08) shows that the presence of foreign students in the national school system is 6.4% out of 574,133 units and growing consistently. In the last two decades the Italian education system was compelled by the migration emergency to be concerned with the problem of integration rather than interculture7. Nowadays it is clear that the presence of foreign pupils has evolved into a structural phenomenon, and involves the entire education system. Evidence reveals that all school development plans offer at least one or two cross-cultural projects, while the intercultural networks linking schools together are now common and firmly established. The publication in 2006 of the long-awaited Guidelines for the Reception and Integration of Foreign Pupils8 was crucial for prioritizing intercultural education on the basis of Art. 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and on Art. 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). These guidelines were concerned with the intercultural factor

6

7

8

Data from the 2006 Caritas-Italia report: 1) There are over 3.035 million legal immigrants making up 14% of the working population. Italy has become a country of mass immigration, although this is not acknowledged by everybody. The number of legal immigrants has almost equaled the total number of emigrant Italians world-wide (3,150,000) and the country’s rate of immigration is the same as in Spain, France and Great Britain, only surpassed by Germany’s massive presence of immigrant workers. 2) It is estimated that the number of immigrants will double in 10 years (2016), all the more so because a substantial number of Sub-Saharian Africans will migrate towards Italy and Spain. In proportion, the Italian immigration growth rate even surpasses the current growth rate in the USA, considering that the population in that country is five times greater than in Italy. 3) Starting from large-scale family reunification (100,000 people per year), all statistical indicators show that Italy has become a place for permanent settlement. There were 116,000 new house owners in 2006. With regard to this, paragraph 3 of article 38 of the Consolidated Act concerning immigration declares (title IV): “The school environment shall accept cultural and linguistic differences as the basis for mutual respect, cultural exchange and tolerance. To achieve this it shall promote and foster initiatives in favour of reception, the safeguard of culture and language of origin, and of the development of common cross-cultural activities”. Through ministerial memorandum no. n. 829 on 16 February 2006 – Guidelines for the Reception and Integration of Foreign Pupils – the Department for the Integration of Foreign Pupils of the Department of Education – Schools Directorate – published a document setting out guidelines for the reception and integration of foreign pupils.

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4. The Current situation

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in schools, in particular: equal distribution of foreign pupils, reception methods, custom-made courses for I cycle school diplomas, Italian language teaching and other languages, specific types of guidance, presence of language and cultural mediators in schools, staff training, assessment, and study aids and material. However, there are still a number of central aspects lacking in the document. In primis close family participation. Nevertheless, it undeniably expresses awareness of the fact that civil education begins at school, and should focus on the concept of the wealth of diversity. Only if we acknowledge different types of intelligence and sensitivity can the harmonious development of future generations be assured and the risk of generating an educational system remaining stagnant in the face of pressing and profound change be avoided. Most Italian teaching bodies have already approved a reception and integration agreement based on these guidelines, which aims at sharing and making uniform administrative, communicative-relational and educational-didactic practices, such as entrance assessment, organization of classes for student integration and personal help. This agreement includes family reception. Moreover, thanks to the guidelines there will be a tutor in charge of dealing with foreign students’ problems in every institute. In order to encourage school-family relations, a brochure translated into different languages is given to the family upon enrollment; this provides explanations on the school rules in simple and clear terms9. Hence, faced with a potential multicultural future, which in ministerial documents is still confined to considering the coexistence of cultural diversity as a spontaneous, natural historical process to which we will have to adapt, it is reasonable to believe that in Italian schools today interculture is alive and well, and dynamic, when considering not only the historic process of coexistence among different cultures, but also the proposals for change and planning10. This is because autonomous Italian schools cannot expect to find solutions to the problems caused by intercultural contexts only in ministerial legislation. Rather, they should make the most of all the opportunities provided by a now flexible educational system. What opportunities for intercultural activities are provided by a flexible school “system” regarded as “supporting community”? In fact, there are many consolidated opportunities: A) In Italy, educating towards diversity is a common feature of current educating systems. Nowadays, society is fully aware of this diversity, and requires all individuals to develop a positive attitude through creativity, flexibility and 9

In this regard, the Ministry’s Circular on 8 January 2010, provides instructions and recomendations to integrate foreign students; and sets the limit of foreign students in each class to a maximum of 30%, starting from primary school, from first grades. This document also addresses foreigners’ first hosting strategies, pointing out that “students are required to have a good knowledge of the Italian language, which can be acquired at school by means of integrative courses; new methodologies and professional tools to bring innovations to multiethnic classes are also necessary. Also, an equal distribution of foreign students in the several institutes throughout the country is mandatory [our translation]”. 10 As observed by A. Nanni (1998), L’educazione interculturale oggi in Italia, Bologna, EMI. 11 The work undertaken by the UNESCO Commission in 1996 on teaching issues was completed on 17 January 1996 in New Delhi, India, with the adoption of the Final Report, also known as the Delors Report. Italian publication: Unesco (1997), Nell’educazione un tesoro. Rapporto all’UNESCO della Commissione Internazionale sull’Educazione per il Ventunesimo Secolo, Rome, Armando.

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innovation together with the ability to pool resources (Delors Report, 1996)11. Besides the social aspect there is an increasing number of initiatives in the school programme aiming to promote each pupil’s potential and personal growth through custom-made courses. The school system is increasingly based on flexible and diversified standards, also in relation to the development of school autonomy, which is a widespread phenomenon in Europe. This new model of interculturalism in education, based on a vision of culture as a dynamic element rather than as an entity interacting with others, aims at educating citizens in a plural and global context. The cultural and linguistic pluralism at school is, in fact, the instrument to strengthen open-mindedness towards not only difference related to culture but also gender, personality and social status, in a view of planetary citizenship.

• • • • • •

Modular framework for the total annual number of teaching hours for each discipline and activity; The designation of courses of study that do not coincide with the lesson timetables; Implementation of custom-made courses of study; Flexible organization of groups of students of the same or different class; Grouping together of disciplines into areas and fields; Diversified use of teachers according to choices and methods adopted by the school development plan.

C) Curriculum flexibility planning and methodology is now an educational resource in schools. One of the tools used to implement curricular flexibility is the project. Projects are the most recent forms of teaching in which research is expressed at school level. Indeed, intercultural teaching-based methods are adopted, which rely on an analysis of initial data, constant self-correction and productivity, as the project also entails transparency as regards the results which need to be effective also on a communicative level. The project also entails collective cooperation and integration amongst the various components and includes pedagogical, organizational and economic cultural aspects. Hence, functional action planning is not the only concern, as working towards intercultural integration also implies research, development and participation. In addition, the projects plays a supplementary organizational role, makes use of represent an innovation strategy that is widely practiced because they: • • •

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B) The set of laws concerning school autonomy ensures the implementation of the following “flexibility systems”, already provided for by the normative system, regardless of specific norms concerning intercultural impediments, but nevertheless extremely useful for any type of intercultural education programme:

act in a limited and specific environment, thus involving partial sectors; operate within temporal and spatial restrictions that facilitate the confirmation of results; enable educators to design and implement courses on diversity and integration.

In terms of theory and method, at least two planning models have been identified: 1) Formal-rational: the experts adopt a scientific approach to project management and planning procedures based on scientific parameters and competences. The user is the target of the project and is not directly linked to its

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completion 2) Participatory and co-developed: the project is developed on the basis of theories shared with the target, their family and supporting network. It is implemented concomitantly with activities divided into progressive stages, in which performance goals are constantly reset in relation to ongoing processes. In terms of cross-cultural education, it may be useful to reconcile the two models keeping the processes open, but also ensuring uniformity and stability in the expected results that can be predicted approximately, but whose definition is essential in order to guide the actions of the various actors. Indeed, the project is also a data-processing activity.

• •

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Hence, like in the past, it is still essential to identify best planning practices which are now diversified-respecting the school development plan and autonomy. These are also supported by local bodies and other institutions which interact together to achieve the goal of integration on the territory. What does best practice in Italian intercultural education entail today? How may it be defined according to modelling principles? Within a given context, anything that proves efficient and effective and that ensures the achievement of a desired result can be adopted as a model or metamodel and, as such, can be generalised or applied to other contexts . As regards the context of intercultural education, we believe that best practice can be defined as that which questions: •

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D) Integration projects are developed at the level of: the Institute, built on an action and resource framework; the “class system”, built on given common goals, actors’ roles and tasks for each discipline and assessment methods; the student, built on recognized personal and contextual resources and potential; the consistency between the different project levels must be guaranteed by an effective monitoring and assessment system, to be implemented with diversified tools.

the concept of integration and notion of the school itself: integration that is not intended as assimilation, tolerance or inclusion, a practice of mutual dialogue and exchange, in which otherness is seen as a potential resource and wealth; the notion of intercultural education: culture as the nature of knowledge (cognitive aspect), a set of values, laws, regulations and shared rites (normative aspect) and as organizational knowledge (administrative aspect). Rather, best practice should: provide a precise context for analysis and assess impacts and outcomes of intercultural education activities in relation to the school context and hence an assessment of the transformational capacities of teaching practice and of the system of relations in and out of the school environment; apply a methodological framework corresponding to the principles of acknowledgement: an assessment founded on an analysis of the key features and elements in the project in relation to the idea of intercultural education as communication.


Hence, the keys to best practice in intercultural education stress the transformational power of interculture, highlight processes and theories, and invite to reflect12. In Italy, a large number of best practices are addressed to teachers, so that they can apply educational methods designed to narrate their pupils’ experiences13.

12 For instance, from an analysis of the projects undertaken in the province of Milan show the features that characterize quality teaching: • Ensuring quality guidance to foreign pupils (and their families) by allocating specific resources, in particular plurilingual material and the assistance of language and cultural mediation; • Designing courses and tools for intensive teaching of Italian L2 before and during the period of induction to the school system; creating learning courses that can be repeated over time and that are also specifically target- and subject- based; • Outlining personal development plans and in the initial stages adopting learning facilitation strategies such as: program adaption, school-text simplification, contextualization of content; • Monitoring each student’s tuition, supporting his/her projects, fears, disappointments, also relying on positive tutor and reference figures (university pupils, older foreign pupils who are well-integrated, mediators …); • Improving acquired competence and knowledge, recognizing, for instance, the knowledge of L1, as provided for community languages; • Acknowledging competence in specific subjects through a course credit system (e.g. English, Mathematics ...) acquired in the school of the country of origin; • Promoting extra-curricular activities for study assistance and personal tutoring, in addition to peer socialization; • Advocating in schools and classes a climate of exchange, mutual understanding, cultural recognition, in order to avoid conflict, isolation and exclusion, and ultimately to build a common project and horizon founded on different roots and experiences. 13 The issues currently favored by education are the following: reception and integration, cultural anthropology, visual, expressive artistic communication, oral cultures and traditions, prejudice and racism, Europe and interculturalism, the family and school, multiethnic literature and society, teaching and learning Italian as a second language, foreign literature, “new literature” and so on. See a case in point: 1) Project “Not one less” in the province of Milan for the positive integration of immigrant youths (Triennio 2005-2008) <http://www.istruzione.lombardia.it/formazione/contesti_multi/carta.pdf> 2) Best Practices for Interculture and Reception 2008-2009 in the Council of Ravenna, Local Immigration Authority. These address: a) Teacher training. To provide information, skills and tools to further linguistic and social integration, cross-discipline cooperation, and learning to deal with conflict. b) Reception. Aimed at teachers and pupils, to promote expression of self and encourage recognition of self as individual with important life experience: development of self-esteem;·consolidate previous skills and knowledge; facilitate future cognitive and social-emotional development. c) Interpersonal and cross-cultural approach in order to teach pupils to cope with diversity through emotional self-awareness; ability to live within a social context governed by rules, cooperate, and interact without prejudice.

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Apart from best practices and individual initiatives in favour of student reception and integration, a well-organized structure capable of supporting the entire national education system is called for, beginning with a series of shared theoretical principles. The critical thinking process on the issue of intercultural action has led to focusing on the fundamental characteristics of pedagogical procedure. This is because we are far from our goal, from an intercultural point of

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view. As late as 2007 project-based teaching was still limited to the local school environment, rather than adopting a more international approach. (Cf. Fiorucci, 2007; Gobbo 2004). Moreover, as Portera claims, “Intercultural pedagogy, in Italy and in other industrial countries, lacks a clear semantic definition and epistemological insight” (Portera, 2007, 289).

5. The Italian way to Interculturalism in Education The idea of shifting to intercultural education in Italy stems from the important document “Observatory for the integration of foreign students and for intercultural education14,” that is entirely structured on another document, “The Italian way for an intercultural school and the integration of foreign students”15.

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The four pillars that shape this document could be expressed as follows: 1. Universalism: education is a right that every child has, independently from their citizenship; children are considered as rights holders not only as being part of a family, but also as autonomous individuals. 2. The School as common good for everyone: the school is asked to host and retain foreign students within normal classes, avoiding building separated classes or educational activities that take the form of a classrooms as “ghettos”. 3. School projects based on students’ centrality and otherness: it is pointed out that diversity is reduced to assimilation or efforts of homologation of cultures. 4. Intercultural Projects: the school attempts to adopt an intercultural perspective across disciplines and didactics, rather than teach different things to foreign students. The goal of the intercultural school is the promotion of dialogue, discussion and exchanges among cultures. Implementing an intercultural approach means to integrate diversity within a paradigm of identity connected to the identity of the school applying it. The Italian way to interculturalism is based hence on the ability of appreciate and know about differences, on the basis of social cohesion in class, envisioning a new citizenship adapted to current pluralism and the continuing research of convergences towards common values. School authorities and local governments are clearly and explicitly invited to give hospitality to foreign families and see them through the difficult journey in the hosting culture. The new problems linked to the “cultural clash” resulting from living in an initially different cultural environment are also mentioned. An interesting example is the frequent crisis faced by families in intergenerational relations, i.e. those parents whose children grew up in the hosting culture. Particularly, the school must contrast antisemitism, islamophoby, and other forms of resistance to diversity, through a considerable work on prejudices, which are

14 Osservatorio per l’integrazione degli alunni stranieri e per l’educazione interculturale, efounded by Minister Fiorioni on the basis of previous experiences, 6 December 2006. 15 “La via italiana per la scuola interculturale e l’integrazione degli alunni stranieri”.

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Nowadays in Italian schools, as well as in Italian society, intercultural education can be viewed in terms of comparison/collision/encounter. According to Borrelli, “the hoped-for intercultural self, the self that has succeeded ... ghettos makes exactly these three categories emerge. Such self puts its possible repossession of a new identity (post-modern, post-national etc.) at stake; in other words, it puts its inner balance, the balance with others and that with otherness at risk. This new form of identity is self-hermeneutic” (Borrelli, 2006:5). Hence, the contemporary Italian educational environment may provide a whole series of self-educational alternatives aiming to shift the present hegemonic paradigm towards new perspectives: “The difference between the hegemonic and the intercultural education paradigm […] is immense. After all, the two paradigms are conflictual. The hegemonic paradigm proposes the subjectivization of the self within cultural-national parameters, whereas the intercultural paradigm proposes a resubjectivisation of the self as self-reconstruction in the confrontation with itself, with its being-other-than-self, or rather, in the mutual hermeneutic selfexperiencing when dealing with otherness. The Self and the Other are no longer antinomies, but two sides of the same coin” (Id.). Truly intercultural schools choose to have a visible and unique identity; they also claim for pluralism, as a strengh rather than a weakness; they are connected to five key concepts that synthesize the process of intercultural education: curiosity, knowledge, emphaty, integration and friendship; they promote hospitality and participation at the center of all activities. Through this conception, this brand new type of school can empower the school community as complex network in order to improve the quality of education, and further, the quality of life. In fact, the possibility and responsibility to start out empowerment processes at local level – in collaboration with other public and private institutions – belongs to school institutions. These processes attempt to implement positive examples of social organisation (rather than control) aimed at critically understanding social processes, as they are active builders of a social and cultural space. The results of empowerment are to be connected with the constitution of grounded networks

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distorted images of a person or group of people. Teachers are called upon to change their way of teaching and to learn to look at difference as part of the school context. In the past, teachers were a closed community and their curricula were designed on the basis of political decisions coming from the top, envisioning a specific model of society and of individual. Nowadays, the society has profoundly changed and requires to make a change in order to meet the complexity that characterizes the social fabric. It is also necessary to leave improvisation behind: not only should teachers know about the subject they teach but also be able to deal with diversity in class. A new intercultural school is a desirable aim only if it includes all students at all levels. It’s crucial to revisit curricula in order to understand which prejudices are delivered through it and which areas need to be deconstructed towards a new European identity. If interculturalism is the best investment for the construction of a culture of peace, then it is also a strategy to prevent war. The cleverest actions include teachers’ education for intercultural pedagogy and also the ability to understand how to shape key competences for a lifelong learning society. (European Commission, 2006).

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that support open participation, continuing the learning and governing of educational processes. This can be considered the springboard for a shift in education and innovation at all school levels (Putton 1999). The intercultural school is not alone: it needs to encourage participation of all stakeholders, allowing them to bring along hope, expectations and fears; unburden the many prejudices and misconceptions that prevent people from understanding otherness. Clearly, teachers are the first stage of this process; teaching is not a cold, mechanical activity but rather something into which they put their mind and soul and where their entire identity comes into play. On the other hand, the ability to enter into dialogue, counsel and participate helps parents (and other adults) to bond in bringing up young people. In fact, these will be part of that complex, new future that adults can now only imagine.

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References

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Aluffi Pentin, A. (2002). Laboratorio interculturale. Accoglienza, comunicazione e confronto in contesti educativi multiculturali. Bergamo: Junior. Bauman, Z. (2000). La solitudine del cittadino globale. Milano: Feltrinelli. Borrelli, M. (2006). La pedagogia interculturale: fondazione teoretica ed ipotesi didattiche. Collana di Studi Internazionali di Scienze Filosofiche e Pedagogiche, Studi Pedagogici, 2/2006. Capitali, P., Garagnani, C., Lolli, M.R., Mircoli, M.T., Missimei, G., Papponi Morell,i G., Tosolini, A. (a cura di) (2000). I tredici nodi dell’educazione interculturale. Documento di sintesi della Commissione nazionale “Educazione Interculturale”, MPI. <http://www.educational.rai.it/corsiformazione/intercultura/nodi/default.htm>., accessed March, 2010. Comune di Ravenna (2008-2009). Le Buone Pratiche per Intercultura e Accoglienza del Comune di Ravenna, Assessorato Politiche per l’immigrazione. Decreto Legislativo 25 luglio 1998, n. 286, Testo unico delle disposizioni concernenti la disciplina dell’immigrazione e norme sulla condizione dello straniero, comma 3 dell’articolo 38 (titolo IV). Favaro, G. (2002). Nuove parole per dire e per studiare. Raccolta bibliografica di testi per l’insegnamento dell’italiano a stranieri bambini e adulti. Milano: Centro COME, Provincia di Milano, Assessorato all’Istruzione. Fiorucci, M. (2007). La ricerca educativa in prospettiva interculturale. In I° Rapporto sulla Ricerca Educativa e Formativa in Italia (pp. 309-346). Venezia: Mazzanti. Geertz, C. (1999). Mondo globale, mondi locali. Cultura e politica alla fine del ventesimo secolo. Bologna: Il Mulino. Gobbo, F. (2004). L’insegnante come etnografo: idee per una formazione alla ricerca. In G. Favaro, L. Luatti (Eds.), Intercultura dall’A alla Z (pp. 126-135). Milano: Franco Angeli. Habermas, J. (1999). La costellazione postnazionale. Mercato globale, nazioni e democrazia. Milano: Feltrinelli. Legge 40 del 6 novembre 1998, articolo 36. Legge sull’Autonomia delle Istituzioni scolastiche n. 59/1997, ripresa nella Legge Quadro del DPR 8 marzo 1999. MIUR (2006). Nota 829 del 16 febbraio 2006 – Linee guida accoglienza e integrazione alunni stranieri. MIUR (2007). Osservatorio nazionale per l’integrazione degli alunni stranieri e per l’educazione interculturale. La via italiana per la scuola interculturale e l’integrazione degli alunni stranieri. Roma. Morin, E. (1994). Terra-Patria. Milano: Raffaello Cortina.


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Nanni, A. (1998). L’educazione interculturale oggi in Italia. Bologna: EMI. Papponi G., Aluisi Tosolini M. (2001). L’intercultura dalla fase preparadigmatica al paradigma. L’orizzonte interculturale dell’educazione nell’era dell’accesso. Ruolo e funzioni della commissione nazionale. Intervento presso la Direzione didattica di Pavone Canavese, 22.11.2000, published at <http://www.pavonerisorse.it/intercultura/2001/orizzonte.htm>. Accessed June, 2010. Portera A. (2007). Educazione e pedagogia (interculturale) nell’era della globalizzazione e del pluralismo. In A., Portera, Böhm, W., Secco, L., Educabilità, educazione e pedagogia nella società complessa. Lineamenti introduttivi. Torino: UTET. Putton, A. (1999). Empowerment e scuola. Metodologie di formazione nell’organizzazione educativa. Roma: Carocci. Rete provinciale di Milano (2008). Progetto “Non uno di meno” per l’integrazione positiva delle ragazze e dei ragazzi immigrati (Triennio 2005-2008). <http://www.istruzione.lombardia.it/formazione/contesti_multi/carta.pdf>. Touraine A. (1977) (1996). Une Société fragmentée? Le multiculturalisme en débat: Paris: La Découverte. Unesco (1997). Nell’educazione un tesoro. Rapporto all’UNESCO della Commissione Internazionale sull’Educazione per il Ventunesimo Secolo. Roma: Armando.

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Francesca Lazzari (france.lazzari@alice.it)

The process of acculturation and integration of second generation immigrants in the Italian school context

abstract

This theorical contribute is contextualised within the debate and the heuristic paths that have and continue to deal with the topic of differences, developing a cultural perspective to be identified within the link of education/ formative intercultural approach. By means of an intercutltural approach, the practice of mediation-negotiation integrates the perspective of the differences with the capacity of empowerment expressed by the ethic of responsibility. The formative and educative value of this contribute takes its place on the front of pedagogical reflexivity/reflection on intercultural issues. The cultural scenario of reference for identity and acculturation processes of second generation of teenager immigrants, integrated in the italian school and social context, is outlined.

Il saggio si contestualizza all’interno del dibattito e dei percorsi euristici che hanno affrontato e affrontano la tematica delle differenze sviluppando una prospettiva culturale che va individuata nel legame educazione-formazione interculturale. Attraverso l’approccio interculturale la pratica della mediazione-negoziazione integra l’ottica delle differenze con la capacità di empowerment espressa dall’etica della responsabilità in ambito educativo. La valenza formativa ed educativa del saggio si posiziona sul fronte della riflessività pedagogica interculturale. Si delinea lo scenario culturale di riferimento dei processi identitari e di acculturazione dei migranti di seconda generazione adolescenti stranieri inseriti nel contesto sociale e scolastico italiano.

The term foreigner, in the definition given by Simmel, refers to a meaning that sets up the position of being inserted into society as a producer of riches, against being an outsider because of not being a citizen: “He is at the same time near and far, excluded and included. He comes from outside, but now is an integrating part of a group. Within the community, he occupies a marginal but positive position, which consists in strengthening the internal role, encouraging social change, and taking on an economic function that is rejected by other members of society or is not suitable for them.” (Simmel, 1908, p. 580).

Often, when second generations are spoken of in research, intended as the children of recently settled immigrants, a historic-temporal category is being overlapped with a demographic one (Oropesa and Landale, 1997). Thus it becomes obvious the improper interchangeability of the terms immigrant and foreigner, two terms without overlapping semantic areas, which are usually used as synonyms, even in legal documents.

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

Key Words: Second generation of immigrants; acculturation; integration; school context; interculturalism

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Second generations can be constituted of foreigners without being immigrants and should not be tout court confused with immigrant minors since the substantial equivalence of the two definitions is destined to disappear, as soon as they reach adulthood. The universe of the foreign adolescents is represented, above all in Italy, by youth with very diverse situations (Ambrosini, 2009). The denominator is given by the migration experience intended, not only as the movement from one place to another, but rather as a radical change which puts the ties of belonging and cultural affiliation in crisis. In this sense, a series of vulnerability and social risk factors are outlined with which foreign minors are compelled, in one way or another, to confront themselves during the necessary process of redefining their own identity in their new residential and school contexts (Favaro 2002; Ambrosini and Caneva, 2009). In the current Italian reality statistics demonstrate that the number of foreign minors, born in Italy, is increasing and that the birth index of immigrants surpasses that of the natives. This gives us a glimpse of the existence of a notably multi-ethnic and culturally-differentiated society, of which children of foreigners will make up an essential part. Second generations are balanced by gender within single communities, the gender imbalance appears more in the representation of the phenomenon, than in reality: Italians think of young migrants normally as adolescent males. Second generations, in a narrow sense, born in Italy by foreign parents, increase at a sustained rate, with an almost constant progression: from 2001 to today, they have grown by about 20%. Their quota, within the youth population, is destined to grow very rapidly. Today, in major Italian cities, about 20% of all newborns are from a foreign mother. In the North-East it is 23% (Caritas – Migrantes, 2009). As Ambrosini notes, the same expression immigrant minors is incorrect in the measure that it includes subjects born in Italy, not to speak of the paradox, to consider them fully fledged migrants just like their parents (Ambrosini, 2005). The Council of Europe (Recommendation, L’appartenence de l’étranger à plusiers cultures et les tensions qui en résultent, Strasbourg, 1983) considers children born in the receiving country to foreign immigrant parents, arrived with the family or arrived in the receiving country because of family reuniting, and who have done part of their schooling or professional training there, as second generation migrants. In reality, to define the meaning of second generation poses a problem which is not only classificatory. This appears particularly relevant for minors born in Italy to immigrant parents who find themselves having to face the drama of perceiving themselves as Italian, but not being recognized as one, neither by their own parents, nor by the society into which they have been inserted. Some studies highlight that many adolescents do not accept being defined as immigrants because the term recalls the idea of instability, of provisional permanence in a given territory, which is not recognized as being part of one’s own life project (Chryssochoou, 2006). Speaking of second generation immigrants makes no sense: in the verb to migrate the idea of movement is implicit as a consequence of an intentional project which is not that of the children, but rather of the parents. The result of the attempt to homogenize individuals on the basis of familial belonging, denies their subjectivity (Costa-Lascoux J., 1989; Moulins and Lacombe,


1999 ) and the peculiarity of children’s experiences with respect to those of their parents, which is being substantiated in the passage to adulthood. Phinney (1990) explains that adolescents, belonging to an ethnic minority, like all migrants, can chose between four possibilities of acculturation:

• • •

assimilation as an attempt to adopt the major part of laws and values of the dominant culture at the expense of those of their own group; marginalization: implies to live in the culture but feeling alien to it; separation: implies to feel united with the members of one’s own culture rejecting the culture of the majority; biculturalism, is the capability to maintain ties with both the dominant culture and one’s own.

Studies surmise that biculturalism is the acculturation strategy most suitable to adolescents as it allows them to maintain the norms and values of both cultures, dominant and minority, and to choose on the basis of circumstance (Phinney, 1990). Knowledge of the language of the hosting country and a self-conscious and valued ethnic identity are elements of positive acculturation. Other factors reinforcing the acculturation process are family support and positive insertion in the school context (Liebkind, 1994, 2001; Phinney and Chavira, 1995, Wentzel and Feldman, 1996). The acculturation process involves, in reciprocal ways, although different, both minority ethnic groups and the societies hosting them. Acculturation is taking the shape of a process of social change and of individual development in which cultures of origin are reinterpreted and rebuilt through negotiation based on comparison of the ethnic-cultural components of identity, between one’s own group and that of the hosting culture (Chryssochoou, 2000, 2004; Bourhis et al., 2006, 2007, 2008). Identity elements, subject to negotiation processes, are represented both by the maintenance of one’s own culture of origin, and the adoption of other cultures, and, in particular, that of the hosting context. Such changes occur in relation to the social, economic and political sphere (Chryssochoou, 2004; Esses, Dovidio, Semenya, Jackson, 2005; Ryder, Alden, Paulhus, 2000). Berry (1980, 1992, 1998 ), Furnham & Bochner, (1986) argue that, when changes can be managed in a welcoming context, acculturation becomes a learning experience as a positive consequence of adaptation, and determines cognitive and behavioural changes that are neutral or positive on social interactions. The complex and systemic articulation of multiple and overlapping belongings, documented by the most recent literature, is outlined in this way. The overcoming of the concept of a cultural identity tout court is foreseen in favor of a more fluid vision, repetitively built, buildable and rebuilt, a compound and modular product to preserve, reinvent, develop, and change through countless negotiations of intercultural identities. Migrants derive their identity sense from the group they belong to through this bidirectional relation, which determines approaches and oppositions, openings and closures, assimilations and differentiations, and, as a consequence, can establish a positive distinctiveness facilitating dialogue and intercultural integration (Chryssochoou, 2006).

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Adolescents are self-builders through two processes that are universal and interact over time: • •

assimilation/adaptation of cultural identity; evaluation of the contents of cultural identity.

To positively face changes, new identities, and threats in the school context, the identity process will have to be anchored in practices of:

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• • • •

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continuity: despite changes, the self is always the same over time; distinctiveness: to feel unique, separate, distinguished from others; self-efficacy: a sensation of capability to perform, competency, control; self-esteem: to feel worthy of oneself.

If one doesn’t manage to reach or maintain adequate levels of self-efficacy, selfesteem, distinctiveness or continuity, the identity feels threatened and strategies of contrast will be developed in the school context. Only an intercultural identity, considered as a natural identity tout court, allows, in the complexity of contemporary Western societies, to include the multiple original forms of belonging that outline the specificity of each one and enrich the original sense of self (Bauman, 2003; Elster, 1995). Identity is inflected inter-culturally in the school context by practicing: •

the dialectic of diversification/cohesion: only intercultural identity is the place of forming social ties as it is built by an interactive process of assimilation and of differentiation in relation to others, starting from plural, through a bidirectional movement of integration/refusal; • the dialectic of particular/universal, of personal/ communitarian: it is an intercultural exercise to the difference and, at the same time, to the likeness; • the dialectic of result/process: the intercultural identity implies a permanent act of identification which presumes both the identity patrimony, bequeathed by birth or through life cycles, and the freedom to express diversity and individual ethical choices. Literature asserts that integration is the acquisition of bicultural identity and represents the best way of acculturation because, by maintaining one’s own identity and adopting important features of the hosting community, one is moved toward cultural pluralism (LaFromboise, Coleman and Gerton,1993; Berry, 1997; Sam, Virta, 2003). This strategy allows a positive image of the Self, to develop satisfactory social relations and to find a personal way to enter into a new reality, even if remaining tied to the community of origin, which functions as support and keeps alive an enhancing perception of belonging (Quintana, Chao, Cross, Hughes, Nelson-Le Gall, Aboud, Contreras-Grau, Hudley, Liben, and Viete, 2006). Integration through biculturalism proposes the contemporary valorisation of one’s own ethnic values and adaptation to the new hosting society (style of alternation of identity) thus permitting to open up to the new culture, to its knowledge, and to aspire to a possibility of promotion, while recognizing oneself in the cultural context of origin. Through the construction of a double identity (Schimmenti 2001), the adolescent integrates values of different cultures and, above all, shapes a double


A) Sstructural or the approach of the permanent discrimination, tends to underline, especially in Europe (US, Canadian and Australian contexts are proven more welcoming with regard to the permanent settlement of immigrants; Sweden is an exception in Europe) the persistent discrimination of the children of immigrants in the work environment and the environment of education and training. Second generations aspire to social roles and positions coherent with their education and training paths. Assimilation, as acculturation behaviour, implies the choice of not maintaining one’s own culture of origin and to favour frequent contact with the hosting culture, and other groups that are in the environment. As Dubet (1994) has highlighted, with reference to new generations of immigrants in France, the process of cultural assimilation, sustained in the name of common republican values and of citizenship, has been substantiated in a laicization of religious practices and in a more general homologation to the aspiration and likings of one’s own age group and of the dominant social group. This type of assimilation, when associated with the consciousness of differences and of the attribution of such differences, from the hosting context, still can lead to situations of discomfort, due to the absence of identity anchorages. As the riots occurred in the French banlieues in November 2005 have brought to light, “this absence of anchorages may lead to situations of anomy if not of conflict” as the historian Jacques Le Goff, interviewed by Pietro Dal Re for the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” (7-11-2005), argued. “Beurs, in the jargon of the suburbs, which has become common language, is what the children or grandchildren of the immigrants are called, those who aren’t authentic Maghrebis, because they are born in France and studied in laic schools of the République, but who don’t feel like authentic Frenchmen, although often having the nationality, because they know that they aren’t accepted as true citizens. A passport isn’t enough to be one, to take advantage of all the rights, enumerated and exalted from the official republican rhetoric learned at school desks, most of the time deserted, for refusal or lack of affection. ”

B) Neo-assimilationist approach, which highlights how the processes of assimilation between the immigrants’ children are produced through the learning of the language of the country where they have settled, making easier progress in their studies, employment outside of the ethnic specializations, and mixed unions. The social process of assimilation is implicit, not wanted, and invisible. It affects the socialeconomic sphere opposing marginalization and segregation. Neoassimilation abandons the most naive and normative aspects of the old assimilation, according to which immigrants should have had to

The process of acculturation and integration

sense of belonging. In general, it has been brought to light that adolescents with an integrated identity obtain better results in psycho-social adaptation and in selfesteem, when compared to subjects with a marginal identity, and have a more successful school record. Ambrosini (2005) identifies at least three different approaches regarding the integration of second generations:

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mutate cultural styles and traditional systems of value to adhere to the language, to the culture, to the traditions of the host society. Brubaker (2001) points out two important aspects: the first affirms that assimilation is a social process that happens at an aggregate level, not intentional and invisible, consequence of individual actions and choices; the second holds that assimilation should be pursued normatively, not in the cultural field, but rather at a social-economic level to oppose segregation. These research hypotheses find theoretical and empirical confirmation in the extra-European contexts most open to immigration (Canada, Australia, and United States).

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C) Intermediate approach introduces the concept of segmented assimilation. It consists of putting under investigation, the generic concept of assimilation by inquiring in which environment, and for which aspects, and with which components of the native population, the second generations tend to assimilate. It is understood that different outcomes are verified on the basis of different immigrant minorities, and on different levels of education of the parents.

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The dissonance between an implicitly succeeded cultural socialisation and a socio-economic exclusion caused by a discriminating society, especially regarding access to work, can cause the concurrent presence of a cultural assimilation and a social non-integration. Such a situation may tend to produce phenomena of invention of ethnicity as a symbolic oppositional identity with regard to exclusion and non-integration. If schools donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t offer opportunities to minors, but are discriminatory on the basis of race and socio-economic class, young males, deprived of positive models, without job perspectives and, as a consequence, of the role of supporting a future family, suffer much more marginality and acquire border-line behaviours; at the same time the number of young single mothers increases (Zhou, 1997). In social exclusion and economic deprivation an oppositional cultural is rooted, and is anticipatory of lives of loss of self-esteem and failure. Studies have shown how cohesion in the community of belonging and investments in education by the family of origin, even if in an urban context of exclusion, produce different levels of integration in the school and the job context of the minors. Most recent research demonstrates that many minorities foster correct and fluent learning of the language of the hosting country, while maintaining their mother tongue and the passing on of the respect of norms, values and culture of their origins. Portes states that such an acculturation strategy leads to a more effective integration through the usage of the social capital of the community of belonging as a vehicle to enhance opportunities of the children towards educational and professional success. An assessment of this thesis demonstrates that fluently bilingual students have more self-esteem, higher aspirations, and above average school results. Selective acculturation is deemed the most suitable strategy to strengthen family and community values, and protect second generations from external discrimination and from the threat of downward assimilation. Selective acculturation associates bilingualism with a low generational conflict. It permits an effective integration without implying a cultural fragmentation.


SOCIO- ECONOMIC INTEGRATION S

CULTURAL ASSIMILATION

llow ow

llow ow Downward aassimilation ssimilation Downward

hi high gh Selective assimilation assimilation Selective

high hi gh

Illusory Illusory assimilation assimilation

Classic linear linear Classic aassimilation ssimilation

by low cultural integration and low socio-economic integration, by the assumption of a reactive institutions of the receiving society, typical of urban ghettos and historically

e d

Table 1 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Acculturation strategies

â&#x20AC;˘

Downward assimilation (downward assimilation in life styles, towards the oppositional minority culture, is characterised by low cultural integration and low socio-economic integration, by the assumption of a reactive ethnic identity, opposed to values and institutions of the receiving society, typical of urban ghettos and historically discriminated minorities). Assimilation of the youngsters occurs in the framework of communities characterised by deviation and marginality, within ghettoized urban areas where immigrants and natives belonging to the most disadvantageous classes live. The chances of exiting from

The process of acculturation and integration

The conservation of communitarian identity and cultural features, re-elaborated and adapted, is a resource for an integration capable of keeping balance between belonging and strangeness, between adaptation and integrity, and represents a resource for school and work success of second generations thereby facilitating the integration path and reducing risks of external discrimination. Its flexibility makes this strategy look like the one toward which the politicalintegration efforts of educational institutions of European, and more advanced extra-European countries, can be more fruitfully addressed. To best adapt to the school context of the hosting society, adolescents swing in a flexible manner between different modalities of acculturation modulating and selecting them in a subjective way. They waver between belonging and strangeness, defining social spaces in which new definitions of multiple belonging find meaning (Andall, 2002). This demonstrates that there are not universal solutions, but each individual responds in a personal manner to oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own needs and requests of the hosting society. The quality, the modality of handing down, the rooting, the consistency, the democraticity of the culture of the hosting country affect the strategies of acculturation and the modalities used by adolescents to reach their own psychosocial well being (Portes, 2003). School is the privileged context where strategies of acculturation pass through and where the premises for a positive integration are at stake. The problematic articulation between the dimension of post-schooling socioeconomic integration and that of cultural assimilation, represent an unsolved question in the contemporary reality of pluricultural societies determining the pathways and the acculturation strategies of second generations of migrants, such as shown in the following table (Zucchetti, 2002). 2002).

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exclusion conditions are scarce and second generations experience a worsening of marginality and unemployment. •

Anomic or illusory assimilation (is characterised by good assimilation in life styles, but by low socio-economic integration). It resides in the acquisition of Westerner life styles, even in situations that lack the necessary instruments to access corresponding standards of consumption, based on exterior and consolatory models.

Selective assimilation (school success and economic progress favoured by community ties and distinctive cultural codes, marked by low cultural integration and good socio-economic integration). The young migrant maintains or develops a defined original ethnic identity, strong but open to dialogue, reaching scholastic success and economic enhancement thanks to maintaining the ties with the ethnic communities of belonging, and giving value to distinctive cultural codes. A young migrant conscious of belonging to an intercultural society and economy. The preservation of minority identity features, re-elaborated and adapted to the new context, becomes a resource for the processes of inclusion, particularly for the scholastic and professional success of second generations.

Classic linear assimilation (through the socio-economic progress the initial cultural identity is progressively abandoned and a good cultural integration and high socio-economic integration are reached). The socio-economic advancement corresponds to the acculturation within the receiving society and this, in turn, implies the progressive abandonment of the identification with ethnic minority belonging and with distinctive cultural practices.

Italy, although offering economic opportunities to migrants, especially in certain areas of the country, proposes a model of subaltern integration, conditioned by the issue of safety that is linked to the risks of radicalization of immigrated Islam, and of imported criminality (Frisina, 2007). Schimmenti (2001) argues that the migratory experience is characterized by a series of phases: 1. the impact of the new reality, characterized by a period of initial euphoria due to the sensation of reached freedom and relaxation; 2. the rebound, often accompanied by feelings of disillusion, rage and diffused unhappiness; 3. the phase of coping that is the reaction to difficulties encountered; 4. the phase of regression or emotional recharge, which occurs through a symbolic contact with one’s own country of origin. If the young immigrant is capable of attributing value to his/her own belonging, the sense of ethnic identity can represent protection and be one of the factors that contributes to favouring good strategies of coping. If the group he/she belongs to is strongly stigmatized, the ties with one’s own culture can interfere with the sense of self-esteem and of self-efficacy becoming a jeopardizing element. This seems relevant especially for those youngsters born in Italy to immigrant parents, defined as the sacrifice generation. They perceive themselves as nationals of the receiving

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“From this perspective, the problem of the second generation arises, not because youth coming from an immigrant background are scarcely culturally integrated, but quite the opposite, because, being raised in more economically developed environments, they have assimilated tastes, aspirations, and consumption models from their native peers. Being young, because of the risks of non conformism, of common condition, of suspicion of not accepting the status quo, of foreign origins, therefore not fully accepted as a member of the society, determines a social condition in which factors that elicit fears, distrust and prejudice in the onlookers (scholars, public authorities, teachers, employers…) are revealed. The school and the society respond with caution, explicit or implicit, of the consolidated organizations, but at the same time experiment with new forms of social cohesion and unknown cultural identities, fluid, composite, negotiated daily, in a incessant jumble of antique and recent, of traditional and modern, of given and acquired, of elements passed down through one’s upbringing and elements learned through socialization outside the family” (Ambrosini, 2005).

Some of the scholars that have dealt with the comparison between the two different migratory waves, have put in evidence the increased difficulties of the integration of today’s second generations, so that they come to speak of second generation decline (Gans, 1992). In this regard Rumbaut e Portes (2003) underline the incidence of two types of factors: I. transformations of the economy towards a post-Fordist socio-economic structure (hourglass economy), in which stable industry jobs are disappearing, as well as the rungs of traditional hierarchical careers, which used to offer immigrants, and especially their children, chances to enter into the middle class, and eventually to aim at higher levels of professional hierarchies, with future generations (the typical path from peddler to plumber to professional). II. ethnic difference, such as it is perceived and stigmatised by the receiving society. The racial characteristics inevitably are passed on to second generations, given also the incidence of homogeneous unions (that is with partners belonging to the same ethnic group), and continues to effect their destinies, even when linguistic and cultural assimilation has reached advanced levels.

The process of acculturation and integration

country without in fact being recognized as such, neither by their own parents, nor society, school, and other institutions. Second generations experience the tension between poor social image, connected to the marginal jobs of their parents, and the acculturation to lifestyles and the image of job hierarchies acquired through socialization in the context of receiving societies. The second generation is no longer perceived as temporary immigration for work reasons, but as settlement immigration, lasting and definite, therefore making the attitude of acceptance of the immigrant uncertain, based on the assumption of temporariness (Sayad 2002, Baldassare et al. 2005). Family reuniting, birth of children and their schooling, increase the relationships between immigrants and the institutions of the receiving society, producing a progressive citizenship process that is “a process which brings one to be a member and subject of the city intended in the broadest sense of the term” (Bastenier and Dassetto, 1990; Bastenier, 2004; Saulini, 2006).

Part of the analyses on second generations takes up again the structuralist framework of the approaches which move from the assumption of systematic

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discrimination of immigrants: also children of immigrants are permanently disadvantaged and condemned to exclusion from the best jobs. School failure ratifies social discrimination. In literature, there are relevant studies on anomic and oppositional behaviours of youth from urban districts, deriving not from extraneousness to prevailing social models, but, from the success of the process of acculturation which fails to find, firstly in the school context, and then in the socio-economic one, opportunities of fulfilment and reflects itself in internalization and in the practice of antagonist models, like the cultural and religious integralist one. Young migrants are committed to the acquisition of their own personal, social and gender identity and, at the same time, to the exploration of their ethnic-cultural identity (Phinney, 1990). To face the double transition the immigrant minor can draw from various resources. Amongst these, the role of linguistic competency is relevant. It is a fundamental skill during the process of acculturation as it permits one to express one’s own capabilities (Ward et al., 2001). Bilingualism helps in the process of acculturation, but it is not a determinant in the adolescents’ process of social and emotional adaptation (Aronowitz, 1984). The relation between individual, culture of origin, and receiving culture, determines the polarity within which the adolescent development of youngsters, who have to face the double transition (the passage towards adulthood and the one towards the receiving society), is put into play. In fact, on one hand, immigrant minors have the same needs and demands as fellow age group members of the hosting country, and share the same tasks of development and growth rhythms. On the other hand, the migratory experience brings them to face specific challenges, such as the learning of a new language, the insertion in a different school system, the reorganisation of daily times and spaces, the comprehension of new social rules, the definition of a specific ethnic-cultural identity, contemporarily to the redefinition of one’s own personal identity and to a renegotiation of social roles and of individual values. Culture, which ensures the migrant adolescent a sense of stability and certainty, becomes a less certain reference point, and the comparison with peers often puts self-image under deep discussion (Schleyer-Lindenmann, 2006). Several studies speak of conflicts generated from belonging to two cultures. The generation of youth, finding themselves in such a conflict, would adopt values, and behaviour norms, that seem more advantageous, more useful, and more convenient (Camilleri, 1979). Malewska-Peyre and Zaleska identify another choice criterion: there would be the tendency to preserve values and behaviour norms that are central and essential to their identity, even if maintaining them could bring disadvantage (MalewskaPeyre and Zaleska, 1980; 1984). The presence of an unsolved dichotomy between original cultural values and those of the hosting society, can affect personal experiences of young adolescent immigrants determining different behaviours: there is the tendency to swing between values (cultural commuting), or, through passive acceptance or the acquisition of a negative identity, the culture of origin and the upbringing models are refused, or, through cultural mimetism (hyper-adaptation), one’s own origins are ignored, and what the new country proposes is acquired. Adolescent immigrants, that live the double transition, show a strong commitment in searching for personal solutions to the challenge of the migratory


tactics of visibility: one’s own ethnic-cultural identity is strengthened by taking pride out of the social stigmatisation through the occurrence of extremisation of the culture of origin; • individualistic social promotion: typical of the market multiculturalism. New cultural products which find room in the market of the big urban centres are invented and an inter-culturality out of courtesy is improvised, doing folklore in schools, and attending initiatives to promote the value of difference; • strategies of inclusion at a local level: when youngsters enter into public space recognised as bearers of positive diversity, for instance they are called to participate in intercultural initiatives and of interreligious dialogue, but once entered into a network with other youngsters committed at a local level, they move within scenarios of active citizenship, and contribute to a normalisation of foreign presence within the civic space; • post-national strategies of inclusion: they put identification with one’s own culture and being Italian into wider perspective: it is preferred to feel European or Mediterranean or citizens of the world. It is not only a matter of being included into a specific, and taken for granted model of society, but of being placed into a view of social transformation as individuals who feel part of a global civil society.

The process of acculturation and integration

experience, trying to give value to experiences, especially the scholastic one, and to the interpersonal relationships they are having in the new society. Therefore it is the daily experience that favours integration as an identity strategy, which moves within the bi-cultural experience (Camilleri, 1998; Boubeker, 2003; Bosisio et al., 2005; Patuelli, 2005 ). Daily multiculturalism (Colombo, 2002, 2009) is the stage of taming the differences in which there is room for change where social actors take the opportunities, by expressing small acts of resistance which often don’t have longlasting pragmatic consequences. Only those who have several resources at their disposal, try out longer term strategies of emancipation. If foreign adolescents are not successful at school and cannot find room in the qualified labour market, they fuel a potential pocket of exclusion, of opposition to receiving society, and to its institutions. Through identity tactics and strategies, adolescents deploy processes that anticipate the possibility of passage from one path to the other in diverse contexts, and over time. Such processes of co-inclusion, together with wider processes of social insertion, characterize adolescent experience marked by the differentiation of pathways, not only in virtue of the family origins, but also of the quality and typology of everyday relations, and of the integration into the school system (Palmonari, 1993; Gasperoni, 2002; Larson and Wilson, 2004). Such strategies cross over, partially being confused with the processes of acculturation. They can be identified, as such, by schematizing them:

Second generations, educated in European schools and acculturated by media and television, show interests, life styles and consumer desires, that copy those of the same age group. Forms and ways of subaltern integration experienced by the previous generation are not considered acceptable. Attendance in school induces acculturation to values and practices common to the age group with whom dual and group relationships are activated.

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School is an influencing institution. It can represent the main context of assimilation and social promotion, or the reality where premises for marginalisation of children of immigrants are laid thereby denying opportunities of effective integration into hosting societies. Tribalat (1995) has assessed a certain social mobility of the second generations, in spite of not very successful school paths. The relation with the educational system appears to be articulated and it does not always confirm optimistic ideas of assimilation, or structuralist ones which are more sensitive to the issue of discrimination. Some recent research, also European based, tends to differentiate the panorama of second generations, noticing different school outcomes depending on the receiving countries, and national components (Crul and Vermeulen, 2003). Processes of internal differentiation and of polarization emerge with the formation, on one hand, of educated elites, and on the other, of layers at risk of social exclusion. The canonical explanations based on the human capital, that is on the lower scholastic success of children of immigrants, are contradicted: not only does equality of opportunities not statistically correspond to an identical level of education. Also the perception of a discriminatory treatment affects the motivation to study and the availability to education. As a matter of fact, the paradox of the three Aâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s burdens on the destiny of the children of immigrants: accent, ascendency, appearance. Accents reveal the foreign inflexion in the pronunciation of the language, the ascendency of the surname points to the place of origin; appearance, in the case of youngsters of colour or those with somatic features, even only slightly exotic, incites racial stereotypes. It has been observed that if these teenagers manage to insert themselves into the education path they obtain school results in line with the average (Favaro, Napoli, 2002). It seems that family motivation for continuing studies, and the time process of advancement, are the main reasons for the improvement of results, and the convergence toward the performance of other students. The insistence of the importance of education by families can be noted, and is demonstrated by the length of schooling undertaken (Casacchia, Natale, Paterno, Terzera, 2008). Family can positively influence the scholastic and professional success of children through the value given to the investment in school, for the realization of the family migration project, and the recourse to devices that allow children to overcome barriers associated with their status of immigrant (language courses, support courses, complementary courses,â&#x20AC;Ś). Expectations and hopes, that immigrant families place on the educational system, are important leverages for the school assimilation process: immigrant families express more intense desire to engage in lengthy studies and more ambitious demands of career guidance than those expressed by native families of an equal social level (Vallet, 1996). It has been observed that immigrant parents aspire to have their children do longer schooling as an important means of social mobility and therefore of social emancipation, and that such a propensity is not compromised even in the presence of possible negative results on the part of their own children (Cologna and Breveglieri, 2003; Giovannini, 2004; Giovannini, Queirolo Palmas, 2002). On the basis of available research, it can be stated that the level of education of parents, despite the difficulties due to the linguistic differences and to the diffused depreciation of educational credentials, in the context of immigration, represent,


The process of acculturation and integration

also for the children of immigrants, the most important predictor of school success, no different than what happens for the native population (Besozzi, Tiana, 2005; Pagani, Robustelli, 2005; Vedder, Boekaerts & Seegers, 2005; Ravecca, 2009). Admission programs of new immigrants, based on the preference for subjects with a high level of education and professional qualification, present as an extra advantage, the higher probability of quality integration of their children in the educational and professional systems. However, schools appear as spaces lived in a diversified manner, given that each class is a social microcosm which produces variable relations of inclusion/exclusion, of metissage or separation, chosen or suffered (Fravega, Queirolo Palmas, 2003). The greater stability of the migratory phenomenon and, in particular, the institute of the family reuniting, have had a direct consequence on the increase of foreign students in secondary school in our country. The welcoming and insertion of a pre-adolescent/adolescent to school, in fact, must take into account: the previous study path embarked upon in oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own country of origin, the greater difficulties in the acquisition of the new language (the so called L2), and the identity earthquake, which these children must face at the same time (Favaro, 2005). In this scenario, the scholastic institution undertakes a fundamental role as an instrument of integration, even through active participation of local institutions which, with a networking action, support policies of integration of immigrant children. These policies entail the development of educational services. The problems of integration that confront local institutions and schools are even more important with regards to foreign minors not accompanied, for whom the network between school and local institutions is more relevant. It is not an insignificant part of foreign children (more than 13%) who are beyond compulsory school age (15-17 year-olds). Amongst problems detected at a national level regarding students of immigrant origin, the delay of schooling and repeating years, are continuing to emerge, prevalent in secondary schools, where 19.6% of foreign registered students are more than 18 years old, and have therefore gone beyond the age by which the secondary schooling would normally have been completed. Overall, the Ministry of Public Education speaks of 42.5 % of foreign pupils not in compliance with their studies. Taking a closer look at the difficulties encountered by immigrant students, it can be said that it is not a problem of school attendance, which is proven regular and stable, but of the delay of schooling and repeating years. Delay of schooling is to be attributed to the enrolment of these pupils in grades lower than their registered age, a phenomenon common especially in secondary school, and which almost never implies an irregularity in the course of study at a later stage. To mark the real gap between those who are successful at school and those who are not, is cultural proximity. Among those that have repeated school years, more than 90% were born abroad, whereas these difficulties are not to be found among those born in Italy. The current picture maintains numerous critical issues, but it shows how the progressive numerical growth of children of immigrants born in Italy predicts a possible overcoming of such problems, if they will be addressed with adequate intercultural educational measures. Headmasters and teachers responsible for

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functions linked to the integration of foreign pupils, seem to consciously adopt the intercultural perspective, promotion of dialogue, and cultural comparisons. It is not only limited to the organization of integration strategies of immigrant pupils or special compensatory measures, but there is an attempt to activate projects and training processes in an intercultural perspective. However, it is noted, that the impact on the overall school structure is not homogeneous, because, resistance remains in the opinion of interviewees, from some teachers and, sometimes, from families of Italian students, to assume diversity as the paradigm of identity of the school, as a privileged occasion to be opened to all differences. It emerges that adolescents, and girls in particular, despite the complexity of being second generations in Italy, are conscious of their plural identity, and bearers of fundamental innovation for the practice of negotiation within hosting societies. In our country a specific model of integration is proposed for several aspects different from those prevailing in Europe, based on urban polycentrism and on the centrality of the relation between work, community and family, as premises of citizenship. However it is only partially transferred within school where structural, normative and also cultural deficiencies are as such to prevent the taking over of a leading role in determining the complementarities of educational policies, at a local, national and European level with the territorial policies (social, housing, economic, etc.) School has the unavoidable task of fostering intercultural relations of mutual enrichment, combating the coming out of radicalisms and of imagining a democratic system, stable in its fundamental values and, as inclusive as possible. It is the fundamental place of learning and aggregation, but it tends to reproduce differences. This process among foreigners is favoured by measures that send them towards short and vocational paths, those that, in fact, majorly tend to perpetuate differences. Technical schools, in the Italian experience, represent a choice of empowerment within training paths, represent the opening to future choices more oriented to self promotion, represent the area of transition to scholastic training open to higher and university education (See: Metropoli, 04.03.2007. We, children of immigrants. Dreams of Generation 2, La Repubblica; Farina, Terzera, 2007, 2008). The major obstacle reported by these adolescents in the approach with the school system, is the knowledge of the language, an essential condition to successfully adapt to the new society. The learning of the language of the hosting country to communicate in daily life is carried out quite quickly, but the learning of language skills necessary to study, of disciplinary terms and concepts, requires considerable effort on behalf of the foreign students, as well as attention and specific didactic competence on behalf of the school and teachers. Numerous studies have uncovered the difficulties of teachers in managing situations of the insertion of adolescents already educated in their country of origin (Eisikovits et al., 2001). The impossibility to communicate and express oneself, in an adequate manner, is a source of discomfort, frustration, anxiety, and depression. Children who have brothers or sisters already educated in the country of origin are proven advantaged. Very often foreign parents do not establish contact with teachers, with the world of school. Reasons are referred as to different social, cultural, economic aspects. They might be overloaded with work, assume an attitude of delegation regarding the institution they entrust, or encounter language difficulties in the communication with teachers. Moreover, they may perceive


• •

cultural resistance, characterized by closure to language, culture of the hosting society, and the development of relations with peers of fellow countrymen, and the resultant antagonistic position in the relational school context; assimilation and adhesion to the models and to the hosting culture, with concurrent refusal of language and customs of one’s own tradition, and the resultant position of sought neutrality and invisibility in the relational school context; marginality, characterized by feelings of not belonging to either of the two cultures and the resultant passive position in the relational school context; biculturalism, characterized by feelings of belonging to both of the cultures and the resultant active position in the relational school context. In this case, school turns out to be the privileged context to successfully adapt, a sort of laboratory, within which to carry out experiences with peers and teachers

On the basis of the different degrees of openness towards pupils with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, of investments in supporting their insertion, and of the practice of intercultural education as a value, different school outcomes are determined. The possibility to legally enter, the recognition of educational credentials acquired in the homeland, the modalities of insertion into the labour market, the incidence of bias and discrimination, intervenes, to forge the chance of insertion and social promotion of immigrants, affecting children, and their school career. Therefore, what should be insisted upon is an endeavour of mutual recognition. On this basis, a collective elaboration, and an identity co-evolution, become more readily achievable objectives, on a path of intercultural training undertaken in the school context. This doesn’t imply elimination of existing cultural conflicts, but their elevation to a useful resource to explore the sensitive zones of identity interactions: an added value to the deconstruction of stereotypes (Gardner, 2001). The concept of integration in school is multi-dimensional. It involves aspects that go beyond the specifically linguistic ones and/or those related to academic performance. It is placed on the level playing field of relations and exchanges, with adults and with peers, inside and outside the school context (Favaro, 2005). School is the primary place for social inclusion or exclusion and therefore, it is within school itself, that the institutions must start to intervene to counter attack discrimination and devaluing stereotypes.

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distance between themselves and teachers, of which, often they put under discussion adopted ways of relating with children, or simply deem inopportune their participation on the basis of the diverse consolidated habits of the country of origin (Giovannini, 2004; Pomicino, Paci, Romito, 2008). If parents consider school as an opportunity to exit from isolation, and to build new social relations, opportunities of contact and collaboration increase, also facilitating learning. The importance of making the most of parent-teacher communication, and of promoting participation of the reference figures of foreign children in their education is, on the other hand, stressed by most authors on these topics (Arayici, 2003; Giovannini, 2004; Rich et al., 1996). The strategies of adaptation to the school experience, exercised by immigrant adolescents, are to be found in the strategies of acculturation, mainly in the following areas:

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School integration concerns the rights, the economic, linguistic, cultural, political and relational sphere of people. The school, which is the education, training and acculturation agency par excellence, is assigned the task of representing the genius loci of the construction of the life in common, between people belonging to different ethnic-cultural groups, according to democratic principles of respect for diversity (Bocchi, Ceruti, 2004). The modalities, with which each country defines and safeguards the right of second generation immigrants to access education systems, anticipate the attitude of the entire society toward the reception of foreigners. Public policies of reception are important for the construction of social cohesion in contemporary realities characterized by towns, more and more multifaceted from the ethnic, social, economic, cultural and religious points of view, as they can offer an alternative to the absence of shared, and unifying values, through participation in political and civil life, and set premises for relationships of mutual recognition for respective differences (Crespi 1996). Integration is pursued, in today’s complexity, in an intercultural perspective: this means to practice a model, which is articulated along conceptual and action lines, recognizable in the intercultural educational paradigm. The school system in our country has undergone, in an original way, the evolutionary phases of intercultural education, as experienced by European and Western schools in the last decades, and can be summed up as follows: • phase of assimilation in which the insertion of minority cultures is observed with little or no attention to the culture of origin; • phase of the multiculturalism which takes into account pluralism, but in a scenario marked by the risk of the relativism of cultures; • phase of intercultural relations, still in progress, that shows itself with approaches and models, not always consistent, in which it is necessary to achieve integration of culture in reciprocity. Migrants in the Italian schools have lived, in the last decade, on a course that can be sub-divided in two time periods: • the first period stretches out, starting from invisibility, soon transformed into a bigger issue, which determines the understanding of the needs of foreign students, as an expression of marginality to be confronted, as a disadvantage to be overcome, only, through compensative pedagogy. • the second period, is characterized by the perception of diversity, implying an intercultural approach to training, and to didactics, proposed to all pupils, foreign or not. This process appears to be linear. But, reality shows evidence of non homogeneousness with regards to both the temporal and the spatial dimension: different phases overlap in national school system, alternating, often randomly, methodological approaches, which are negligent of diversity, and the adoption of perspectives mindful of differences. The itinerary, covered by Italian school system, started in the 1989-90 school year, with the first ministerial circular letters on the insertion of Extracommunitarian pupils containing general norms, and the receipt of the Recommendation of the Council of Europe of 1985 in the matter of the teaching of human rights.

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The regulations, based on educational practices and principles referring to intercultural pedagogy, aim at the reception of all foreign minors, independent of their juridical situation, in full implementation of the right to education. The Italian school system, regarding the problem of immigrants, has intervened with limited measures on the didactic organisation, intended mainly as quantification of the number of foreign students per class, or on modalities of identification of interventions, anticipating, as a matter of fact, an organic project from the State. Integration, more than elsewhere, has been demarked by emergency and necessity to urgently solve language and learning problems. Didactics have been renewed in a partial and fragmentary way, without influencing the overall school structure through spaces allowed by school autonomy. In Italy special classes for foreign pupils have never been implemented, in line with the choice, made in the seventies, of abolishing special needs classes and special schools for pupils presenting learning difficulties or physical handicaps. Two models can be identified that refer to intercultural pedagogical interventions in the Italian school system (Lostia, 2001): â&#x20AC;˘ the first one, typical of the Central-North, in which, besides school, local institutions and associations of the private social sector play a fundamental role â&#x20AC;˘ the second one, prevalent in the South, in which the school institution operates on an exclusive basis. The Italian school system has never solved the imbalance between North and South, and today, to this historical problem, the issue of second generation migrants is overlapping. In both models, it is evident the absence of the Ministry of Education which doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t appear amongst the promoters of initiatives activated within the school system in any of the territorial realities. Integration of foreign pupils in Italian schools is almost exclusively assigned to the school operators and to local Public Administrations. The promotional nature of the Italian model emerges from Article 6 of the Italian Constitution where safeguard and constitutional validity is recognized for all linguistic minorities. The Italian juridical model, unlike the French one, offers the possibility to single students to express, at school, their belonging to a certain religion. The request of establishing Islamic classes, as well as the debate on the crucifix, have begun to uncover, also in the Italian model, potential conflicts which can occur between requests of various religious diversities in a school environment regulated by the Concordat of 1984 between the State and the Catholic Church (P. Bonetti, 2004) The case of the crucifix, not raised by immigrant parents, but by an Italian citizen, who is a practitioner of the Islamic religion, represents an example of potential collision between diversities. The case of Islamic classes in Italy represents a controversy amongst the safeguard of the right to education, such as a universal principle, the integration of immigrant minors, guaranteed by the Italian law, the principle of laity of the State and, the potential segregation, detrimental to the nature itself of the Italian constitutional model, which is a democratic model for the promotion of universal rights. There is a high number of Islamic students, especially girls, who are denied the right to education, because their parents, interpreting in an orthodox manner some

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of the principles of the Islamic religion, regard Italian schools, as they are currently structured, a danger to the integrity of their faith and the faith of their children, and consequently, decide not to enrol them in Italian schools. The issue of the relation between new diversities and traditionally recognized diversities remains an open juridical problem. The Italian model, even if it has given implementation to a policy of integration of foreign minors in the school system, which departs from integration through assimilation, puts under discussion the nature of the promotional model of universal rights, in the absence of a structured and consistent state regulatory framework. As a matter of fact, the balance between the safeguard to the right to education, the rights of equal opportunities of the constitutionally affirmed differences according to Article 3 of the Constitution and sovereignty of the State, enters into crisis. It is evident that there is a need for a careful rethinking of the relationship between school laws and immigration laws, to avoid dangerous deviations and discrepancies at the level of effectiveness and certainty for what is promoted by the school law, if limited by the application of laws on immigration. With difficulty, the cultural, social, and professional structure of the Italian system is flexibly capable of being broken down and being reassembled, adapting, in due time, to the quantitative and qualitative dynamics of students, and to the changing scenarios which presuppose plural linguistic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. Giovanna Zincone (2003) underlines, in fact, that every action of assimilation and every design of functional integration in school, are destined to fail, if the reference framework is not entirely redesigned, innovating it through the intercultural education paradigm. The contraposition between the diversity of Italian students and those of second generation migrant students are numerous and, in turn, various. As a consequence, they can be the cause of discrimination and acts of racism or social exclusion. The universality of the right to education (Article 8 of the Treaty on European Union, signed in Maastricht on 7 February, 1992 and ratified by Italy with the Law no. 454 on 3 November, 1992), becomes effective only if the national order presupposes answers which really assure integration. The answer of institutions to the entrance of increasing groups of foreigners to Italian society has not been immediate: from inattention and undervaluation of the phenomenon, in the early 80’s, it has been moved to urgency and to sectoral measures, relegated to the work context in the 90’s, and only afterwards, to the acknowledgement of the presence of second generations of migrants in the social structure. Between the end of the 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s, the presence of foreign students in Italian schools is strongly delineated: in the 1999-2000 school year, immigrant numbers exceeded 100 thousand. It is the turning point year and, from then on, the data is in a growth trend (data source: Ministry of Education, University and Research). Students coming from third countries are the protagonists of the integration and cultural contamination of Italian schools. Second generations are the bearers of plural and innovative identities (G. Favaro, 2002). The method by which the school system will be able to include second generations will be crucial for fulfilling the conditions of conscious, transformative, and creative access to knowledge in contemporary pluricultural societies.


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Pomicino L., Paci D. (Eds.) (2008) (con la collaborazione di P. Romito). La realtà nascosta: esperienze di minori immigrati in provincia di Trieste. Una ricerca multimetodo su risposte e interventi nei percorsi di integrazione. Rapporto di Ricerca. Portes, A. (2003). L’assimilazione segmentata: la nuova seconda generazione al passaggio all’età adulta. Paper presentato al convegno: Un futuro per l’immigrazione in Italia: l’orizzonte delle seconde generazioni. Torino: Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, 10/6/2003. Portes, A. (2004). For the second generation, one step at the time. In T. Jacoby (Ed.), Reinventing The Melting Pot (pp. 155-166). New York: Basic Books. Quintana, S.M., Chao, R.K., Cross, W.E., Hughes, D., Nelson-Le Gall, S., Aboud, F.E., ContrerasGrau, J., Hudley, C., Liben, L.S., and Viete, D.L. (2006). Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Child Development: Contemporary Reasearch and Future Directions. Child Development, 77 (5), 1129-1141. Ravecca, A., (2009). Studiare nonostante. Capitale sociale e successo scolastico degli studenti di origine immigrate nella scuola superiore. Milano: Franco Angeli. Rich, Y., Ben Ari, R., Amir, Y.m and Eliassy, L. (1996). Effectiveness of schools with a mixed student body of natives and immigrants. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 20 (3/4), 323-339. Ryder, A., Alden, L.E., Paulhus, D.L. (2000). Is Acculturation Unidimensional or Bidimensional? A Head-to-Head Comparison in the Prediction of Personality, Self identity, and Adjstment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 49-65. Rumbaut, R.G., Portes, A. (Eds.), (2003). Legacies. The Story of the Second Immigrant Generation. University of California Press. Berkeley, New York: Russel Sage Foundation. (first edition, 2001). Sam, D. L., Virta, E. (2003). Intergenerational Value Discrepancies in Immigrant and Hostnational Families and their Impact on Psychological Adaptation. Journal of Adolescence, 26, 213-31. Saulini, A. (Ed.) (2006). I diritti dell’infanzia e dell’adolescenza in Italia. 2° Rapporto di aggiornamento sul monitoraggio della convenzione sui diritti dell’infanzia e dell’adolescenza in Italia. Roma: anno 2005-2006. Sayad, A. (2002). La doppia assenza. Dalle illusioni dell’emigrato alle sofferenze dell’immigrato. Milano: Raffaele Cortina. Schimmenti, V. (2001). Identità e differenze etniche. Milano: Franco Angeli. Schleyer-Lindenmann, A. (2006). Developmental Tasks of Adolescents of Native or Foreign Origin in France and Germany. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 37 (1), 85-99. Simmel, G. (2000). Sociologia. Roma: Edizioni di Comunità (1° ed. 1908). Tribalat, M. (1995). Faire France. Une grande enquête sur les immigrés et leurs enfants. Paris: La Découverte. Tylor E.B. (1871). Primitive culture. London: Murray. Vallet, L.A. (1996). L’assimilation scolaire des enfants issus de l’immigration et son interprétation: un examen sur les données francaises. Revue Française de Pedagogie, 117. Ward C., Bochner, S. & Furnham, A. (2001). The psychology of culture shock, Hove, Routlege. Wentzel, K.R., Feldman, S.S. (1996). Relations of cohesion and power in family dyads to social and emotional adjustment during early adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 6, 2, 225-244. Zhou, M. (1997). Segmented assimilation: issues, controversies, and recent resaearch on the new second generation. International Migration Review, 31, 4, 975-1008. Zincone, G. (2003a). Cittadinanza e migrazioni: un’applicazione al caso italiano. Fondazione Cesifin. Zincone, G. (2003b). Immigration policy implementation in Italy: organisational culture, identity process and labour market control. Journal of ethnic and migration studies, 29, 2, March, 257-297. Zucchetti, E., (2002). La cittadinanza economica. In G.C. Blangiardo (Ed.) (2002), Osservatorio regionale per l’integrazione e la multietnicità. Fondazione Ismu, Regione Lombardia.


Cristina Richieri richieri.c@libero.it

Reciprocity among teachers from different language and cultural backgrounds A pivotal strategy to develop an interculturally sensitive attitude in education professionals

Una delle competenze più important e necessarie per affrontare la nostra moderna società multiculturale è la capacità di stabilire un proficuo rapporto con l'alterità, soprattutto quando l'altro proviene da un diverso background culturale e quando il dialogo interculturale sembra essere difficile. Ciò implica che l'educazione deve fornire alle giovani generazioni gli strumenti adeguati per interagire con la diversità, comprendere le motivazioni alla base delle differenze di comportamento, pensieri e sentimenti, così come imparare a governare le dimensioni emotive di paura e di ansia verso l'alterità. In questo lavoro, il concetto di reciprocità è illustrato nella sua cornice teorica, puntando a spiegare ulteriormente il ruolo di tale concetto tra i professionisti dell'istruzione provenienti da diversi background culturali. Questo aspetto viene indagato attraverso l'analisi dei dati raccolti dopo un seminario di scambio internazionale fra insegnanti. Sulla base della suddetta analisi bibliografica e successiva evidenza raccolta nell’indagine empirica, sembra ragionevole concepire che l’incidenza sulla sensibilità interculturale degli insegnanti abbia, di conseguenza, impatto sul loro approccio interculturale nella propria pratica professionale. Keywords: reciprocity, intercultural dialogue, intercultural competence, Pestalozzi Programme

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

abstract

One of the most crucial competences required to face our modern multicultural society is the capacity to establish a fruitful relationship with otherness, especially when the other is from a different cultural background and when intercultural dialogue seems to be difficult. This implies that education has to provide the young generation with the right instruments to interact with diversity, understand the motivation behind differences in behaviour, thoughts and feelings and learn to govern the emotional dimensions of fear and anxiety towards otherness. In this paper, reciprocity is illustrated in its theoretical frame. In addition to this, its role between education professionals from different cultural backgrounds is investigated through the analysis of data collected after an international seminar. On the basis of this analysis and the scientific literature developed on the construct of reciprocity, it seems reasonable to conceive of it as a strategy to generate teachers’ intercultural sensitivity and, consequently, their intercultural approach to education.

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1. New social and economical contexts demanding new competences The new social and economical contexts which the world is now facing imply important changes in the educational field. This is due to the competences the new scenarios are demanding of the new millennium citizens in order to meet the challenges posed by complexity. It is not only a problem of a different length of time over which learning should take place, namely throughout life instead of just during one’s own formal education within the school system, and it is not simply a problem of acquiring additional information or instrumental skills simply because in the name of flexibility we are all expected to be able to cover positions different from the ones we have been used to covering for years. The many social and economical changes of the past decades have caused a significant remodelling of the object of our learning, namely the concept of knowledge itself, which comes to be, as Bateson (1972) put it a few years ago, the permanent restructuring of an individual’s knowledge. As a consequence, knowledge longer identifies itself with a sum of pieces of information, but with an individual’s ability to recombine one’s own subjective knowledge in the light of the changeable objective conditions of reality. Today, these changeable conditions also include more frequent international contacts due to immigration movements as well as to net-based communities created across frontiers through technological devices. As these conditions expose individuals to different languages and cultures, the ability to achieve deep mutual understanding and cooperation becomes one of the competences of the utmost importance, if peace and harmonious relationships between individuals and within societies are to be achieved. Consequently, from now on, educational agencies are asked to face a further challenge which consists in the teaching and further growth of the individual’s relational competences necessary both to understand and respect people from other cultures and religions as well as to encourage the development of the sense of a global community. These considerations lead us to reflect over the role of alterity in one’s own learning processes, as the time has come to become fully aware of how otherness is crucial for one’s own learning. The dynamic perspective of knowledge already mentioned above may well be applied to the construct of learning, which is the result of a process of interaction between the self and otherness (Mezirow, 1991). Thus, in terms of educational aims, in order to develop social competences required to give rise to a positive fruitful relationship with alterity “it is a matter of training the individual to look for authentic communication with otherness and implementing educational strategies aimed at establishing wefts of positive interdependence between individuals” (Raffaghelli, Richieri, 2010)1. In the light of the above, it is indisputable that nowadays adults’ as well as young generations’ new educational needs coincide with two main abilities, the first consisting of lifelong learning in both informal and non-formal situations, and adjusting their competences to the specific contexts determined by socioeconomical conditions, the second consisting in developing suitable instruments to establish a positive relationship with otherness.

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J. Raffaghelli, C. Richieri, “A classroom with a view. Networked Learning strategies to promote intercultural education”. Proceedings of 7th International Conference in Networked Learning 2010. Aalborg, Denmark, 3-4 May 2010.


It is important to underline how these two competences are intimately linked to each other, as learning is not a solitary activity at all, and in no way prescinds from the others. On the contrary, it inevitably implies them. Consequently, the pursuing of learning entails cultivating fruitful relationships with other people, which can become really beneficial when they are reciprocity-based since the two parties can mutually gain by exchanging knowledge. Moreover, the ability to foster reciprocal relations, apart from enhancing the development of the bidirectional transfer of knowledge (Zamagni, 1997), satisfies a social need as it helps both parties dismiss autoreferential inclinations and admit the limits of oneness.

What is the teachers’ role in this new educational context? They are expected to undergo an important, vital change which entails the capacity to shift the focus of their educational action from the curriculum content to transdisciplinary citizenship competences. Becoming less concerned about the quantity of what is taught leaves time and room for quality teaching interested both in engendering in the student motivation for and commitment towards further education, as well as in caring about relationships within the class group and between the class and what lies outside. All this represents hard work but we are convinced that having direct experience as a teacher of the contexts our students might be exposed to is extremely helpful in order to understand the emotions, the motivations, the difficulties implied in their leaning processes. Sometimes anecdotes really help understand the very essence of what we mean. Thanks to a flash of insight, they help reveal a truth which is more general than the brief tale itself. This is the reason why I would now like to tell a short story which will reveal how important our learning experiences are in order to modulate out teaching practice. One day a young woman from Moldova, whom I know quite well, asked me if a friend of hers could call me to have some information about the Italian school system, as her daughter was going to move to Italy and join her. I said yes, so a few days after the lady called me and I tried to help her by answering her questions. The next time I met the young woman, I was congratulated since my Italian, in her friend’s opinion, was so clear that I had been able to make myself understood very well. Her final comment sounded like this: “My friend said that the way you speak reveals that you are a language teacher!” I immediately realized that the way I had conveyed the information needed was peculiar to a person who had had the experience of speaking a foreign language while talking to a native speaker. In fact, I had spoken clearly and slowly, bearing in mind that I was communicating to a foreigner. I had spontaneously adapted my language to the other person’s, like in a Tai Chi Chuan armonic movement of two bodies which reshape themselves according to each other’s motion. In other words, my past experience as a foreign language learner had proved significant in modelling my approach towards a person with a lower level of language competence in Italian. The idea that has just been pointed out by means of an anectode became one of the principles on which a teacher training model was developed at St Martin’s

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College (UK),2 according to which the future foreign language teachers, apart from receiving specific training in language teaching, are asked to do a two-week course of Italian. The possibility of playing the role of the leaner in a formal educational context is meant to induce teachers’ awareness of learning processes by undergoing the learning operations a student may experience, and by reflecting over good and bad points of teaching practices and their didactic implications. This approach to teacher training procedures shows how the link between personal experience and reflection upon it is highly considered as a source of awareness which becomes strategic when the trainees start facing a real classroom context. As a result of all this, we can conclude that the more the teachers can be exposed to the learning experiences their students may have, the deeper their insight into learning emotional and relational dimensions can become. This conclusion suggests, for example, that everything possible should be done to promote teachers’ participation in in-service seminars and workshops, especially international ones, in order to let them experience how the self and otherness interact in relation to lifelong learning, how reciprocity-based relations can help, what intercultural dialogue is, what it entails and what it can generate.

Richieri

3. What is reciprocity? We should now recall the definition of reciprocity, as we are convinced that it is a key generative construct in terms of learning acquisition and relationship with otherness. Trying to understand what reciprocity is, implies to cover the notion of the gift from Mauss’s perspective. In fact, Mauss (1950), far from explaining the notion of the gift as what is responsible for establishing an asymmetrical relationship between two individuals as Derrida (1996) did, considers it as a sort of delayed exchange. Each of the three phases of the exchange, in which the gift is given, accepted and returned, has a feature of necessity, when it is given to establish an alliance, when it is accepted to show the pleasure of establishing a social tie, and finally when it is given back to keep the tie alive. This feature of necessity is consistent with Mauss’s functional vision of the gift, based on his ethnographic studies of primitive cultures, according to which the gift is not free, its aim being to establish or maintain a friendly relationship. Thus, the gift can be considered a political act (Caillé, 1998). Yet, in our modern western society the gift is often conceived of as free and unidirectional. This is due to the individual’s propensity for interpersonal relationship models independent from the obligation category, which may raise

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European Profile for Language Teacher Education - Final Report, September 2004, p. 23. <http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/lang/doc/profile_en.pdf>. C. See Richieri (2007). Spunti per lo sviluppo professionale del professore di lingue. In U. Margiotta, G. Porrotto (Eds.). I° Rapporto sulla Ricerca Educativa e Formativa in Italia (pp. 211-231). Venezia: Mazzanti. On 1 August 2007 St. Martin’s College merged with other istitutions to form the University of Cumbria.


the issue of Mauss’s theory’s up-to-dateness. Godbout (2004) does not explain the issue in terms of a diachronic vision, opposing a modern model to an ancient one, rather in terms of motivation, that is to say the individual’s willingness to seek for a close tie with another person through an act of donation. Moreover, the nature of the tie affects the way of receiving and returning the gift: the intensity of the relationship allows the person who receives the gift not to perceive the debt towards the giver, with the result that, for the individuals involved in the relationship, there is no difference between giving and returning the gift. The debt becomes the expression of liberty because each individual involved in the relationship does not feel the need to return the gift immediately, on the contrary, one becomes convinced that he/she will never be able to extinguish it, and the experience of this condition brings about pleasure and the awareness of reciprocal delight and appreciated dependence (Godbout, 1998).

In addition to these principles, studying reciprocity also entails considering the dangers intrinsic to the exchanging of gifts. In fact, it seems that the degree of solidity of the receiver’s identity represents a significant variable which can determine the success or the failure of the gift. This is due to the fact that a frail identity is inclined to perceive the gift as a threat, and for this reason attitudes of resistance are developed which are aimed at protecting oneself against the giver’s power (Godbout, 1998; Pouillon, 1978). On the other hand, even the giver is exposed to a danger, as he/she can be exploited by the receiver (Gouldner, 1960). This may happen when the gift is given out of altruism, that is to say when it is not a matter of a circulating gift. On the contrary, when the giver and the receiver cultivate reciprocity, the giver’s exploitation is neutralised because the action of giving back the gift received, apart from the form it will assume when returned, cancels the negative effects induced by the unidirectional gift. The exploitation syndrome was also studied by Axelrod (1984), who identified the germinal traits of cooperation in the Tit for Tat strategy. The Tit for Tat strategy is a form of reciprocity which is both positive and negative as the individual “cooperates on the first move and then does whatever the other player did on the previous move” (p. 20). This means that, if the other defects after a first cooperative interaction, the defection is returned and then cooperation starts again. Thus, also in Axelrod’s theoretical framework, generosity is aimed at establishing and spreading cooperation, thereby showing its high social value as it is able to train individuals to elicit cooperation through the control of defection escalation. Therefore, after taking into account both Mauss’s gift theory and Axelrod’s cooperation theory, the construct of reciprocity can be declined as follows: • •

you do not donate in order to receive, but to get the other to donate in turn; reciprocity is not disinterested, thus it can be generated in unfavourable contexts;

Reciprocity among teachers from different language

In the gift relationship, the equivalence principle is not given because one does not keep the accounts of what has been received, nor is the same thing ever returned. On the contrary, it is the receiver’s state of need together with the giver’s resources at his/her disposal that regulate gift circulation and establish the value of the exchanged gifts (Gouldner, 1960).

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• • • • •

reciprocity does not imply an equivalent exchange of goods, nor immediate return; the exchange of goods is governed by the principle of the receiver’s need and the principle of the giver’s availability of goods; reciprocity neutralises the danger of exploitation which is intrinsic to a unidirectional gift; the degree of solidity of the individual’s identity affects the way the gift is received; reciprocity can be taught and learned.

Richieri

4. How can reciprocity help? The exchanges which take place between individuals, apart from belonging to the category of objects, can also include the circulation of knowledge and ideas. From this perspective, reciprocity may well be considered a multi-dimensional generative device affecting the education of both the self and otherness. As table 1 shows, reciprocity can act on dimensions related to the relational context in which work groups operate, namely the search for help, the telling of experiences, the exchanges of roles, the start of an interaction, negotiation.3 While cultivating reciprocity, individuals assume mutual care on the basis of an almost unperceived distinction between giving and receiving. Yet, in order that the exchange-based relationship may keep on existing, it is necessary that the individuals continuously attain what will possibly be reciprocated. This implies that both parties feel the need to increase their knowledge and abilities since these will be used as an exchange equivalent, as a counter-gift the individual will be able to offer at the right moment. This cultivation of the self, originated by the prospect of future exchanges, brings about a feeling of well-being because the individual is certain that he/she can govern the flow of gifts, which means being able to reciprocate the gift received. Moreover, this very cultivation of the self implemented with the prospect of future exchanges helps the individual win over their reticence to look for other people’s help when needed. Thus, the care of the self takes on a greater value because it not only substantiates the individual’s development as an end in itself, but produces other people’s education. In other words, by having this impact reciprocity can be conceived of as a device bringing about positive social outcomes. It is not only a matter of knowledge circulation, but also of exposure of the self to existential transformation. Thanks to mutual exchange, individuals are induced to abandon individuality and autoreferential inclinations, give a special value to differences which identify individuals, understand different analysis categories, admit the limits of oneness and discover themselves through otherness.

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The table shows part of the results of a research undertaken to elaborate a doctoral thesis in Cognitive and Educational Sciences (C. Richieri, Autoformazione di reciprocità, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, 2009). The conclusions of the research are also in Richieri (2011).


How can learning benefit from reciprocity?

Searching for help

Reciprocity promotes individual competences and gives meaning to one’s own learning which becomes care of one’s self as well as of the others’ Reciprocity consolidates the individual’s awareness of the necessity of the other’s existence Reciprocity keeps the work group alive because feeds the osmosis between inside and outside the group by means of helping relationship

Telling experiences

Reciprocity trains the subject to focus the form of his/her narration Reciprocity trains the listener for active listening and reflexivity (which allows the individual to detect the learning opportunities offered by the context) Reciprocity promotes self-knowledge through the reading of oneself in the other and with the other, by means of the adoption of different perspectives (self-reflective learning) helping to demolish the wall which everyone builds up to defend one’s own identity

Exchanging roles

Reciprocity promotes responsibility as well as increased self-esteem by offering the opportunity to measuring oneself against new challenges and inducing new learning (which can be instrumental, dialectical and relational) Reciprocity promotes the admission of the limits of oneness Reciprocity promotes the adoption of different points of view

Starting an interaction to: a. ask for opinion b. offer formative opportunities c. facilitate mutual understanding

Reciprocity trains the subject to understand one’s own cognitive structure Reciprocity helps recognize one’s own contribution to the group work and promotes self-appreciation Reciprocity promotes the transformation of one’s own relational models by means of the the use of appropriate forms of communication

Negotiating

Reciprocity increses the capacity to participate through one’s willingness to listen and the continuous monitoring of mutual understanding Reciprocity promotes the capacity to exchange Reciprocity promotes the evolution of identity through the connection with otherness

tab.1 – The role of reciprocity in learning

Thus, reciprocity becomes an intervention on the relation, not on the other individual. Consequently, there is no exploitation but the research of the conditions which can determine the beginning, or the maintenance, of a certain kind of relationship. What is most fascinating is that the subjects who cultivate such a relationship do not win one over the other, but the one and the other discover that they are both winners thanks to the gains they are able to offer each other in order to develop one’s own potential and refine one’s own differences. The relationship, since it is based on exchange, does not produce dependence but interdependence which, paradoxically, is aimed at the subject’s autonomy. The contradiction is only apparent as interdependence is not the ultimate end of

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education, but the medium, the bridge to get to know the other and take advantage of the established relationship.

5. The European dimension of teachers’ professional development: the Pestalozzi Programme

Richieri

The reciprocity-based relational model presented above thoroughly suits Europe’s educational guidelines which strongly recommend cooperation (which, as we have already seen in the previous paragraph, can develop when and where exchange between individuals takes place)4 and mutuality.5 This position harmonises with the aim the member states are asked to pursue, namely an intercultural society fully respectful of each individual’s identity, as illustrated in A New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism, which is a recommendation of the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: The European Union is founded on ‘unity in diversity’: diversity of cultures, customs and beliefs - and of languages […]. It is this diversity that makes the European Union what it is: not a ‘melting pot’ in which differences are rendered down, but a common home in which diversity is celebrated, and where our many mother tongues are a source of wealth and a bridge to greater solidarity and mutual understanding.6 As Balboni (2006c) points out, these statements show strong dissociation from the American melting pot model where differences cohabit but are not supposed to provoke any kind of mutual transformation. On the contrary, an intercultural society is here foretold, based on mutual understanding and reciprocal contamination. With this aim to realize, Europe has been promoting both

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E. Cresson (1995). White Paper on Education and Training. Teaching and Learning towards the Learning Society, p. 14, http://europa.eu/documents/comm/white_papers/pdf/com95_590_en.pdf (retrived 10/11/2010). F. Buchberger, B.P. Campos, D. Kallós, J. Stephenson (Eds.) (1998), Green Paper on Teacher Education in Europe. High Quality Teacher Education for High Quality Education and Training, TNEE, Umeå (Sweden), Part IV, p. 50, http://tntee.umu.se/publi cations/greenpaper.html (retrived 10/11/2010). Common European Principles for Teacher Competences and Qualifications, version 15/03/2005, pp. 3, 6, http://www.etuce.homestead.com/News/June2005/principles_en.pdf (retrived 10/11/2010 ). In this last document the terms used are collaborate and collaborative which, here, we assimilate to cooperate and cooperative. The difference between the two is discussed in Richieri (2008), p. 373. European Profile for Language Teacher Education - A Frame of Reference- Final Report, September 2004. The document, written by Michael Kelly, Michael Grenfell, Rebecca Allan, Christine Kriza and William McEvoy, pp. 44, 88, 123, http://ec.europa.eu/education/poli cies/lang/doc/profile_en.pdf (retrived 10/11/2010). Comunication from the Commission to the Council and to the European Parliament, COM (2006) 481 final, pp. 2, 11, http://ec.euro pa.eu/education/policies/2010/doc/comm481_en.pdf (retrived 10/11/2010). Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - A New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism, 22-11-2005, http://eurlex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smar tapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=en&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2005&nu_doc=596 (retrived 10/11/2010). Quoted by Balboni (2006c), p.36.


7 In A New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism, multilingualism is conceived of as twofold: personal (“a person’s ability to use several languages”) and social (“the co-existence of different language communities in one geographical area”). Quoted by Balboni (2006c). 8 See Mezzadri (2006) for references to Europe’s promotion of communicative competences in foreign languages and mutual understanding among European countries. 9 See De Matteis, Guazzieri (2007) for teacher training experiences abroad. 10 Quoted by Spinelli (2006). 11 http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/pestalozzi/About_us_en.asp (retrived 10/11/2010). 12 The seminar took place from 3rd to 5th October 2010 at Bildungshaus Schloss Puchberg, Wels (Austria).

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multilingualism7 and mobility for years8 and, as a result of this political decision, European students and teachers9 are being offered interesting opportunities of studying abroad. Thus, they can develop both their communicative competence in a foreign language and their intercultural communicative competence which, in addition to the knowledge of one’s own culture as well as of the one of the country which is being approached, implies relational competences and specific attitudes such as curiosity and openness towards others (Byram, 1997).10 The Pestalozzi Programme is one of many opportunities European education professionals are offered for their professional development. The programme has been developed by the Council of Europe “to respond to the challenges of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of 2005. At this summit leaders called for a concerted effort by the Council of Europe to ensure that its values of respect of human rights, democracy and rule of law are placed at the centre of our education systems. They emphasised the key role of teacher education in this process”.11 For this reason, the Pestalozzi Programme works on such themes as children’s rights, the values of democracy, equality, democratic citizenship, the prevention of violence and crimes against humanity. In such a context, teachers become acquainted with the work of the Council of Europe in the field of education, are involved in a multicultural experience, share information, ideas and teaching material with colleagues from other countries and, then, act out their role of multiplier in informing their colleagues. As I was given the opportunity to taking part into the three-day seminar School culture(s) – values – identities (related to the Council of Europe Projects The intercultural dimension of religious diversity and Intercultural education and exchanges),12 I thought this may offer an interesting chance of investigating the participants’ attitudes and feelings concerning their idea of reciprocity as a strategy to develop interculturally sensitive attitudes in education professionals. The data which are presented and analysed in the following paragraph were collected through a multiple choice questionnaire (Likert scale) whose last question was an open one in order to try to collect some qualitative data. The participants were told a questionnaire about reciprocity would be administered at the end of the seminar. It was decided to give this information before the start of the seminar because it was thought that the participants would be able to activate their awareness throughout the three-day seminar and their answers would be more relevant thanks to their focused attention on the exchanges taking place in the group.

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6. Teachers reflecting over the construct of reciprocity: data presentation and analysis

Richieri

The group of education professionals who answered the questionnaire was formed by twenty people, nine from the host country, Austria, and eleven from other countries in – or not-yet-in – the European Community: Germany (1), Italy (2), Norway (1),ofPortugal Cyprus (5),answered and Turkey questionnaire was The group education (1), professionals o who the questionnaire q (1). The was formed by b twenty y p answered within the prescribed time by seventeen out of twenty members.13 The n members of the group, did not answer u n researcher,o who was one of the the The group of education professionals o who answered the questionnaire q was formed by b twentyy questionnaire. Two out of twenty were headteachers, the others being foreign p language oteachers in a secondary school or all-subject teachers in ua primary n n school. The consequence of this was that communication took place without much difficulty as everybody’s competence in English was rather high. After inquiring (through item 1) about this aspect of communication, which was fundamental for the development of reciprocity, a set of other questions were asked with the aim of investigating the gains each member of the group perceived as the result of being exposed to an enlarged cultural context.

Figure Figure 2 2.. Ite m1 as d ifficult tto ou nderstand each Item 1.. It w was difficult understand each o ther b ecause o he llanguage. anguage. other because off tthe h

1.

As a result of the time spent together exchanging opinions, practices, and knowledge, somee g As a result of the time spent together exchanging opinions, practices, and

knowledge, some gains were perceived in the dimension of educational values As a result of the time spent together exchanging opinions, practices, and knowledge, somee (item 2), some previous ideas about other cultures underwent some kind of g transformation (item 3), and some useful learning took place within the group (item 4). d Figure Figure 3. 3. Ite m2 fter th orkshop you you perceived Item 2.. A After thee w workshop perceived ssome ome tr ans for mation iin n your your own ow n transformation educational values. values. educational

13 I would like to thank all the colleagues met in Wels for taking part in this research by answering the questionnaire. Many thanks also to Juliana Raffaghelli for her advice and assistance in the administration of the questionnaire. 13

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Figure Figure 4 4.. Ite m3 fter th orkshop you you perceived perceived Item 3.. A After thee w workshop some transformation trans for mation iin n the the ideas ideas yyou ou u sed to some used h ave about about o ther cultures cultures different different ffrom rom yyour our have other own. own.

Figure Figure 6. 6. Item in Item 5. 5 . Thanks Thanks to to the the eexperience xperience in W Wels, e ls, yyou ou h have ave rrealized ealized w what hat b being eing eexposed xposed tto o aan n iintercultural nte rcultu ral eeducational ducational ccontext ontext m eans. means.

Figure 7. 7. Figure Item 6. 6. A f ter rrealizing ealiz ing what what b eing Item After being eexposed xposed tto o aan n iintercultural nte rcultu ral educational educational ccontext ontext m eans, yyou ou ffeel eel b etter eequipped quipped means, better tto o iimprove mp rove yyour ou r eeducational ducational w o rk work aimed aatt d eveloping iintercultural nte rcultu ral aimed developing ccompetence ompetence iin n yyour our sstudents. tudents.

The data shows that sharing experiences with colleagues from other countries may help teachers f Two other h a aim ofx understanding the l questions were hconceived of with the

subjectsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; awareness of the value of the experience they were having. In fact, by being part of an international work group, they were supposed to have the opportunity to understand what being exposed to an intercultural educational context means and what this awareness implies in terms of suitable newly acquired instruments for them to develop intercultural competence in their students (items 5 and 6):

Reciprocity among teachers from different language

Figure Figure 5. 5. Item 4. 4. Y ould b enefit from from the Item You o u ccould benefit the ou llearnt earnt eexperience xperience iin n We Wels ls b because ecause yyou h ich ssomething omething n ew ffrom rom tthe he o thers w new others which w ill b seful tto o yyou ou aass a will bee u useful tteacher/headmaster. eacher/headmaste r.

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The data shows that sharing experiences with colleagues from other countries may help teachers feel empathy with their students who themselves are more and more exposed to international contacts, mainly due to immigration movements but also to net-based communities created across frontiers through technological devices. The ability to imagine oneself in the position of those students, be they immigrants or natives, sharing and understanding their feelings, seems to be useful for planning educational activities aimed at developing intercultural competence in the students. Another set of items regarded the role of reciprocity in the development of intercultural competence according to Byramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theoretical frame (1997).

Graphic 8.9.: Teaching_experience

Graphic 8.10: Teaching_experience

3.3. The teachers' linguistic competence

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Figure Figure 1 12. 2. Ite m1 1. Reciprocity Reciprocity between between Item 11. teachers/headteachers from from different different teachers/headteachers cultures plays plays a crucial crucial rrole ole in in the the d ime nsion cultures dimension o ntercultural ccompetence ompetence. off iintercultural

Finally, the role of reciprocity between teachers from different cultures has been investigated in t Finally, the role of reciprocity between teachers from different cultures has

been investigated in terms of school culture and school practices. The data collected through item 12 shows that there is strong agreement on perceiving d reciprocity as crucial in building intercultural dialogue within schools, both among children and among parents from different cultures. On the other hand, the Here again, caution is expressed by the respondents who partially agree on the role of reciprocity b dimension of school practices seems to be less affected by reciprocity between teachers from different cultures, as shown by the data collected through item 13.

14 It is reasonable to think that mirror neurons play a role in modelling students’ behaviour and feelings on the basis of the teacher’s performance and emotions observed and perceived by the students (Fadiga, Fogassi, Pavesi, Rizzolatti, 1995).

Reciprocity among teachers from different language

The data collected through items 7, 9 and 10 shows respectively that there is strong agreement on considering reciprocity between teachers from different cultural backgrounds as responsible for their students’ curiosity to know about other cultures (the cognitive dimension), their control over negative feelings such as fear and anxiety towards otherness (the affective dimension), and their acquisition of the instruments which facilitate their interaction with diversity (the social dimension). On the other hand, the data collected through item 8 seems to suggest that the metacognitive dimension is not so easily affected by reciprocity. Actually, we might observe that school activities planned to acquire knowledge about a different culture (cognitive dimension) can be successfully realised without much transformation of personal values. As far as the affective and social dimensions are concerned, it is possible that the model offered by the teacher’s positive and open behaviour can be easily reproduced by the students.14 On the contrary, understanding other cultures in relation to one’s own implies suspending judgement and rejecting prejudice, which may be strongly and deeply embedded in one’s own attitude and used to reduce complexity to preconceptions according to culturally learned models. It also implies critical b awareness of one’s own culture which can be fully acquired only thanks to understanding it through the other’s eyes. These reasons might explain the cautious answers to item 8. Nevertheless, the data collected through item 11 (which, focusing on intercultural competence, sums up the dimensions 8. Nevertheless, thefrom data collected mentioned above) clearly shows that reciprocity between teachers different t cultures can be crucial in developing students’ intercultural competence, even if it has been observed above that in some dimensions the effects can be attained more easily than in others.

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Here again, caution is expressed by the respondents who partially agree on the role of reciprocity between teachers from different cultures in determining transformation in school practices.

FFigure igure 1 13 3 Ite m1 2. R eciprocity between between Item 12. Reciprocity teachers/headteachers ffrom ro m d ifferent teachers/headteachers different ccultures ultures p lays a ccrucial rucial rrole ole iin n tthe he d ime nsion plays dimension o ntercultural d ialog ue w ithin sschools, chools, off iintercultural dialogue within aamong mong cchildren hildren aand nd aamong mong p arents ffrom ro m parents d ifferent ccultures ultures. different

Richieri

FFigure igure 1 14 4 Ite m 13. 13. Reciprocity Reciprocity between between Item teachers/headteachers from from different different teachers/headteachers ccultures ultures p lays a ccrucial rucial rrole ole iin n tthe he d ime nsion plays dimension o chool p ractices. off sschool practices.

By ch

n

By choosing to partially agree on item 13, they show they are aware of the complexity of planning and implementing educational actions aimed at promoting The analysisdialogue of the free and observations which close each respondent’s intercultural intercultural competence. This questionnaire complexitypoints mayoutbe h related to the difficulty of devising and developing dedicated educational projects within the narrow boundaries of the school curriculum. e : The analysis of the free observations which close each respondent’s questionnaire points out how school practices might be affected by reciprocity o d sby the between teachers from different cultures. The dimensions pondered respondents are (1) teachers’ exchange, (2) mutual narration and (3) common projects:

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(1) “For gme it would be the best of other l to be all the year in contact with teachers . m countries to get new ideas to work to the same topics. Our pupils should have the possibility to know foreign teachers, to meet them in their classes. Teacher exchange!!!! If you know a person you can understand some problems better and its a way to clear out prejudices!!! We had best experiences with the Comenius project in our school!!” (teacher from Austria) ( “Reciprocity between teachers brings in lots of questions which should be answered in further sessions, which means more time for meeting each other.” (two teachers from Austria) “Learning must be based on personal experience, as it is essential for ) understanding.” (teacher from Germany) p g ” ) (2) “There should be space for personal stories. ” (teacher from Austria) This data shows that the respondents are convinced that having direct experience of different “Share activities across frontiers.” (teacher from Cyprus)


This data shows that the respondents are convinced that having direct experience of different cultural contexts can produce effects on school practices. This is the reason why one of them stresses the value of teacher exchange. In addition to this, the importance of developing the links created within seminars, such as the one in which this data was collected, is underlined by another. Teacher exchange is closely connected with the practice of narration mentioned in the second group of observations, both face to face and through technological devices. What is interesting is that narration, apart from being conceived of as between teachers from different countries (“[…] exchanging ideas and teaching methods”), could also profitably develop between teachers and students from different countries, thus helping the teachers to understand those students’ perspectives which might be of some help for their own. Finally, having common programmes is considered to be useful for promoting mutual understanding, sharing school practices and, consequently, fostering reciprocal transformation. Having this vision of the possible outcomes, a wiki called SchoolCultureValuesIdentities was opened by one member of the Wels group in order “to continue the efforts to communicate and collaborate about educational issues and activities”. Thanks to this virtual space, the members of the Wels group will be able to edit pages, upload files, and join discussions.

7. Conclusions On the basis of the above analysis, it is reasonable to underline the value of international experiences for teachers. This means that both exchanges and netbased connectiveness should be fostered. We are convinced that these experiences have a great impact on education professionals’ identity because they can help develop their awareness of the absolute need of reciprocal interdependence. The transformations which take place in teachers’ identity in terms of professional and existential contaminations strengthen their intercultural sensitivity and, consequently, will develop their students’ intercultural competence. What is extremely necessary to promote is all teachers’ communicative competence in a foreign language in order to create networks not only among foreign language teachers, but also among social studies teachers, music teachers and P.E. teachers. Indeed, the teachers of these specific subjects could deeply affect their students’ acquisition of intercultural competence through their subjects, their specific approaches, and the extraordinary projects which could be carried out across frontiers. Of course, even pre-service teacher education should include a training period abroad for all teachers, not only for foreign language ones. This model of pre-

Reciprocity among teachers from different language

“It would also be very useful to talk to students from different countries to hear about their experiences.” (headteacher from Norway) “More teachers all over Europe should join that process of exchanging ideas and teaching methods. The way it was done in Wels was really appropriate. Films about different projects could be spread easily via you tube.” (teacher from Austria) “Time and space for telling stories about one’s own background.” (teacher from Austria) (3) “[Have] common programmes. Create a platform where we can exchange ideas.” (two teachers from Cyprus)

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service teacher education might include the use of a dedicated section in a portfolio in which the student teachers would be invited to record the intercultural experience, describing, analyzing and valuing the encounter with the other culture. They might be asked to reflect on the strategies which have proved successful in resolving conflicts, the progressive development of their behaviour towards openness, and the process of reciprocal discovery (Byram 2000).15 In consideration of all the above, teachers’ mutual learning in informal and non-formal contexts across frontiers, together with their consequent intercultural sensitivity which can generate cultural competence in their students, appears to be the possible answer to the problems generated by world complexity and its repeated denial of the individual. In fact, it implies greater attention to relationship and strongly asserts the power of connectiveness in terms of mutual learning mover. From this viewpoint, teachers’ mutual learning across frontiers takes charge of social responsibilities because it implies the search for the relationship with otherness and promotes reciprocity in individuals’ behaviour, whose educational value in enlarged cultural contexts, we believe, needs more empirical evidence and pondering in order to fully understand its potential.

Richieri

References Axelrod, R. (1984). The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers. Balboni, P.E. (2006a). Intercultural comunicative competence: a model. Perugia: Guerra. Balboni, P.E. (2006b). The epistemological nature of language teaching methodology. Perugia: Guerra. Balboni, P.E. (2006c). Dal Quadro di Riferimento al Piano d’Azione e al Quadro Strategico per il Multilinguismo: linee di politica linguistica europea del prossimo decennio. In M. Mezzadri (Ed.), Integrazione linguistica in Europa (pp. 21-42). Novara: UTET Università. Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind, New York: Ballantine. Bauman, Z. (2005). Liquid life. Cambridge: Polity Press. Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence. Clavedon: Multilingual Matters. Byram, M. (2000). Assessing Intercultural Competence in Language Teaching. Sprogforum, 18 (6), 8-13. Caillé, A. (1998). Le tiers paradigme. Anthropologie philosophique du don. Paris: La Découverte. De Matteis, P., Guazzieri, A. (2007). La dimensione europea nel tirocinio di Lingue Straniere. In C.M. Coonan, Il Tirocinio di Lingue Straniere (pp. 193-220). Lecce: Pensa MultiMedia. Derrida, J. (1996). Donare il tempo. La moneta falsa. Milano: Cortina (Tit. orig. Donner le temps, Éditions Galilée, Paris 1991). Fadiga, L., Fogassi, L., Pavesi, G., Rizzolatti, G., (1995). Motor facilitation during action observation: a magnetic stimulation study. Journal of Neurophysiology, 73 (6), 26082611. Godbout, J.T. (1998). L’esperienza del dono. Nella famiglie e con gli estranei. Napoli: Liguori.

15 See Spinelli (2006), pp. 176-7.

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Godbout, J.T. (2004). L’actualité de l’Essai sur le don”. In Sociologie et sociétés, 36, 2, 177188. Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal. <http://classiques.uqac.ca/contemporains/godbout_jacques_t/actualite_essai_sur_le_don/actualite_essai_sur_le_don .pdf>. Il documento è stato consultato il 15-11-2009. Gouldner, A.W. (1960). The norm of reciprocity: A preliminary statement. American Sociological Review, 2. Mauss, M. (1950). Essai sur le don. Forme et raison de l’échange dans les sociétés archaïques. Sociologie et anthropologie. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Mezzadri, M. (2006) (Ed.), Integrazione linguistica in Europa. Novara: UTET. Pouillon, F. (1978). Dono. In Enciclopedia. 5 (pp. 107-125). Torino: Einaudi. Richieri, C. (2007). Spunti per lo sviluppo professionale del professore di lingue. In U. Margiotta, G. Porrotto, (Eds.), I° Rapporto sulla Ricerca Educativa e Formativa in Italia (pp. 211-231). Venezia: Mazzanti. Richieri, C. (2008). L’autoformazione di reciprocità nella professione docente: come il docente professionista agisce in ambito scolastico. In I. Padoan, Forme e figure dell’autoformazione (pp. 349-379). Lecce: Pensa MultiMedia. Spinelli, B. (2006). Il Quadro e lo sviluppo di una prospettiva interculturale. In M. Mezzdri (a cura di). Integrazione linguistica in Europa. Novara: UTET. Zamagni, S. (1997). Economia civile come forza di civilizzazione per la società italiana. In P. Donati (Ed.), La società civile in Italia. Milano: Mondadori.

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Umberto Margiotta

How develop intercultural curriculum in learning process. Some issues and considerations

Sia nell’educazione in general che nei processi di apprendimento in particolare, vi è un crescente riconoscimento della necessità di sviluppare negli studenti la competenza interculturale. Lo sviluppo di una tale competenza pone le basi di una serie di sfide sia teoriche sia pratiche. In questo articolo si sottolinea la necessità di sviluppare un curriculum interculturale, considerando e discutendo gli steps e dimensioni necessari per tale obiettivo. Viene quindi introdotto un esempio di descrizione dell’apprendimento delle lingue con un’orientamento interculturale, nonché le modalità per capire la valutazione come parte finale del processo di implementazione di un siffatto curriculum. Successivamente, si discuttono i costrutti relativi alla costruzione di un curriculum interculturale, puntando alla concettualizzazione. Infine, vengono considerati i fattori coinvolti nella formazione della competenza interculturale, proponendo quindi un framework che includa la valutazione e performance come parti componenti essenziali di un curriculum interculturale, che mira soprattutto ad una formazione per competenze con un focus interculturale. Tale framework si compone di quattro processi interrelati: concettualizzazione (come valutare la competenza interculturale attraverso la descrizione della stessa); Stimolo (come stimolare, considerando le dimensioni prima generate, lo sviluppo della competenza interculturale); Giudizio (come giudicare lo sviluppo della competenza interculturale) e validazione (come validare la competenza interculturale acquisita in diversi contesti sociali di appren dimento)

Key Words: Intercultural Education, Intercultural Competence, Learning outcomes, curriculum.

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

abstract

In both education in general and learning processes in particular, there is an increasing recognition of the need to develop students’ intercultural competence. The development of this competence poses a range of theoretical and practical challenges. In this article, it is emphasize the need of developing an intercultural curriculum, considering and discussing steps and dimensions of curriculum. It’s introduced an example of description of languages learning within an intercultural orientation and a model for understanding assessment. Consequently, it is introduced and discussed the construct, towards a conceptualisation. Following, it is considered the issues in eliciting intercultural competence in a proposed framework that includes assessment as both performance. The framework is composed by four interrelated processes Conceptualising (What to assess); Eliciting (How to elicit); Judging (How to judge) and Validating (How to justify). In the end, it’s emphasized the challenge put by the need of not just looking for easy ways to assess but to expand the repertoire of learning to accommodate a more complex view of processes learning that includes the development of intercultural competence.

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1. Introduction In both education in general and learning processes in particular, there is an increasing recognition of the need to develop students’ intercultural competence. While this competence is named and understood in very different ways, it is recognised as one of the implications of globalisation and its resulting transformation of economies, technologies, societies and education. Similarly, reflecting critically on the impact of globalisation on contemporary curriculum development, Lovat & Smith (2003, p. 46) refer to a ‘sharing of the horizons of understanding’. In processes education in recent times, there has been a move towards intercultural process learning (Byram, 1997; Kramsch, 1999; Liddicoat et al. 2003). This orientation builds on a recognition that, in the context of learning processes, communication is at least potentially intercultural, in that it entails students learning to move between two processes and cultures – the students’ own process(s) and culture(s), and the processes and culture(s) they are learning. Making claims about developing this intercultural competence in learning processes raises questions of how it is evidenced for students, parents, teachers and others, and therefore how this competence is to be assessed. This learning poses a range of theoretical and practical challenges. While some initial work has been undertaken in seeking to assess intercultural competence (Byram, Zarate, 1994; Byram, 1997; Byram, Gribkova, Starkey, 2002; Sercu, 2004; Liddicoat, Scarino forthcoming), the focus has tended to be on developing tasks for assessing cultural knowledge and behaviour that require students to enact particular roles (Sercu, 2004) or on attitudes in attitudinal tests (Cadd, 1994) or on cultural awareness tests (Byram, Morgan, Colleagues, 1994). However, none of these tasks captures both the students’ participation in communication, understood as the interchange of meaning, and their reflective experience of what is at play in particular instances of communication across cultures. But before considering how to assess this intercultural competence, it is necessary to characterise learning process within an intercultural orientation and the perspective that has informed the studies. It is also necessary to acknowledge the fundamental paradigm debate in learning (McNamara 2003), for it shapes participants’ conceptions of what is and is not feasible in learning.

2. Learning processes within an intercultural orientation There have been numerous contributions towards understanding ‘what the nature of intercultural communication might be and how it might be taught’ (Kramsch, 2002, p. 277; see also Alred, Byram, Fleming, 2003; Liddicoat et al. 2003).The major characteristic of intercultural process learning is that it engages with the process of understanding and interpreting human communication and interaction – not only with observation, description, analysis and interpretation of phenomena shared when communicating and interacting, but also with active engagement in interpreting self (INTRA-culturality) and ‘other’ (INTER-culturality) in diverse contexts of social and cultural exchange (Papademetre, Scarino, 2009). Intercultural process learning is fundamentally about how process and culture come into play in creating and exchanging meaning. It develops in students the competence to recognise and integrate into their communication an understanding of themselves as already situated in their own process(s) and culture(s)

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3. Understanding the learning process In the ongoing studies on intercultural competence we assume that is possible to organise and develop an intercultural curriculum as a set of four interrelated processes Conceptualising (What to assess); Eliciting (How to elicit); Judging (How to judge) and Validating (How to justify). The starting point is the conceptualisation of what is to be assessed, that is, the construct. In processes education within an intercultural orientation, this means conceptualising what it means ‘to know’ an additional process in the context of diversity. This process drives all the other processes in the cycle. It is also a reminder that, more than being a technical issue, learning is a profoundly conceptual one. The way the construct is conceptualised influences the process of elicitation; that is, the nature of the tasks that are provided influences the type of evidence of the construct that the task can generate. The conceptualisation of the construct influences the criteria for judging performance; these in turn influence the construction of the tasks. The judgments made of students’ performance must

How develop intercultural curriculum

when they communicate with others, and to recognise that others also approach communication from the background of their own experiences within their own process(s) and culture(s). It also recognises that people interpret communication and relationships through the frame of reference of their cumulative experience within their own process and culture. This cumulative experience is constantly reconsidered and re-articulated, and re-shapes the frame of reference that people draw upon in creating and interpreting meaning. Learning an additional process and culture, especially through experiences that invite students to move between the two linguistic and cultural systems, contributes to re-shaping this frame of reference. The goal of intercultural process learning is to develop, extend and elaborate upon students’ interpretive frames of reference through experiencing and reflecting upon communication in increasingly complex intercultural contexts. This means extending students’ repertoires of communication and their metaawareness of the relationship between process, culture, meaning and learning. Students therefore have dual roles. As participants of the target process they use process to communicate meanings and experience different ways of making meaning between processes and cultures. They are also LEARNERS/ANALYSERS of the target process, constantly reflecting critically on the exchange of meanings from multiple perspectives; reflecting on their own values and those of others. In the dual process of experience and analysis of communication between processes and cultures, students are invited to de-centre from their own linguistic and cultural situation to consider that of others. They become participants in diversity. Through these experiences, students come to understand over time that in intercultural interaction the ethical consequences of communication are always amplified, because intercultural interaction involves negotiating difference as well as experiencing new and at times challenging ways of ‘reading’ the world. Assessing intercultural competence therefore involves assessing students’ performances in experiencing and analysing communication, a dual process that requires moving between the students’ own processes and cultures and the process and culture being learned.

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be justified as accounts of the construct being assessed. Inferences that are made about students’ performances are warranted through the process of validation. This involves matching the construct with the evidence-eliciting processes and interpreting and justifying the inferences made, based on the evidence. These four processes, operating in a mutually informing cycle, provide a framework through which to consider conceptual and practical issues in assessing intercultural competence. The learning process in education is located in a tension between two contrasting epistemological cultures that influence views of learning on the one hand, and views of learning (Shepard 2000) on the other. These are traditional psychometric perspectives set within a positivistic paradigm, and more recent qualitative sociocultural perspectives set within an interpretive paradigm (Gipps, 1999; Delandshere, 2002). In her highly influential paper, Sfard (1998) draws a distinction between the ‘acquisition metaphor’ (i.e. having knowledge) and the ‘participation metaphor’ (i.e. knowing through doing with others). These metaphors can be connected to learning paradigms. Within the acquisition metaphor, learning is understood as a process of acquiring factual knowledge that is then abstracted and generalised. This view of learning fits best within the traditional psychometric paradigm, which focuses on testing content through objective procedures. In the psychometric paradigm, student learning is referenced to either the performance of other students (norm-referencing) or a predetermined standard (criterion-referencing). Within the participation metaphor, learning is understood as a process of constructing understanding by interacting with more knowledgeable others in diverse contexts. This view of learning aligns with the qualitative, sociocultural, interpretive paradigm, which provides a contextual and personalised view of learning. Curriculum-related, authentic content is assessed using both objective and subjective procedures. It is designed to show in the best way possible what it is that students know. Sfard highlights the need for both metaphors to be taken into account. The learning of intercultural competence is set within these contrasting paradigms. The challenge is to reconcile the two perspectives in practice.

4. Conceptualising Considering the learning of intercultural competence must begin with defining the construct. This is by no means straightforward as it has been conceptualised in diverse ways (Byram, 2003) Furthermore, with regard to intercultural competence in processes education, two additional matters need to be taken into account. First, learning processes necessarily involves the movement between at least two processes. In other words, the construct is per force plurilingual and pluricultural: the students’ first or home processes and cultures are an integral part of and not separate from learning an additional process. Second, intercultural competence needs to be considered both in particular instances or episodes and developmentally. Intercultural competence has been conceptualised in a number of different ways. Risager (2007) describes two models of intercultural competence, one of which adopts an anthropological point of departure while the other has a linguistic point of departure. The anthropological models describe intercultural

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competence as allied to but separate from communicative competence (processin-culture). The linguistic models frame cultural competence within communicative competence (culture-in-process). One of the most elaborated of the anthropological models is that of Byram & Zarate (1994). It includes four sets of skills, attitudes and knowledge which they call “savois” :savoirs, savoir comprendre, savoir apprendre/faire, savoir ˆetre. To these four Byram (1997) has added a fifth: savoir s’engager. This view of intercultural does not specifically deal with the interrelationship between these savoirs and linguistic competence. Byram (1997) also developed a model of intercultural, not only communicative competence that includes: linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence and intercultural competence, defined as the savoirs. Byram sees these dimensions as interrelated but also separable. There is therefore a lack of clarity about the level of integration within the model. Risager (2007) extends Byram & Zarate’s model by foregrounding the plurilingual nature of intercultural communicative competence within a transnational perspective. She foregrounds the centrality of resources, creating two additional categories beyond structural, semantic and pragmatic competence (Byram’s linguistic and sociolinguistic dimensions), namely, languacultural competences and resources (linguistic identity) and transnational cooperation. WhileRisager’s model captures additional important dimensions of intercultural communicative competence, an issue remains that is inherent in all models, and that is how the dimensions interrelate, in particular for the purposes of learning. Sercu (2004) has also extended the construct, but in a different direction. She includes a ‘meta-cognitive dimension’ to enable learners to plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning processes. The monitoring of one’s learning processes, however, does not necessarily include meta-awareness of the play of process and culture in the process of communication itself in variable contexts, or in the dynamic process of negotiating meaning across cultures or, indeed, in working towards the fundamental goal of the learning process that is the development of self-knowledge-andawareness as the basis of all human understanding. Through these models we gain an elaborated and valuable understanding of the range of dimensions that might be included in conceptualising intercultural competence. How these various dimensions and combinations are operationalised for learning remains an issue. For example, values classification, while an important dimension, is insufficient on its own as a model of intercultural competence in the context of learning processes. As such, learning of intercultural competence through attitudinal tests (Cadd, 1994), culture assimilator tests (Brislin et al. 1986) or cultural awareness tests (Byram, Morgan & colleagues 1994) would be too limited. Examining learning in the context of communicative process ability and communicative process use Van Ek (1986) describes communicative ability as comprising six competences as well as the non-linguistic dimensions of autonomy and social responsibility. This is the only model that includes sociocultural and expressive competence (understood as familiarity with the frame of reference used by the target culture). The remaining competences in this model are linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence, strategic competence and social competence. By far the most elaborated model of communicative process ability for the purposes of learning is that developed by Bachman (1990) and Bachman & Palmer (1996). Like the Van Ek model, the Bachman & Palmer model is a psycholinguistic one that takes as its starting point the

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native-speaker as the communicative normand assumes that communicative ability is developed as an individual accomplishment. The psycholinguistic models do not capture the social–interactive dimensions of communication (McNamara, 1996, 2001; Chalhoub-Deville, 2003; McNamara, Roever, 2006). Communication is mediated socially and culturally in interaction. This is a defining feature of intercultural competence. It is interactive. It is the social–interactional perspective that is of particular interest to the construct of intercultural competence. Claire Kramsch, one of the most important researchers in process, culture and learning, used the term ‘interactional competence’ to capture the nature of communication as human interaction in a cross-cultural perspective. Successful interaction entails ‘not only a shared common knowledge of the world, the reference to a common external context of communication, but also the construction of a shared internal context or “sphere of inter-subjectivity”’ (Kramsch, 1986, p. 367). For Kramsch, learning an additional process ‘entails not only process but also metaprocess skills in the foreign process, such as the ability to reflect on interactional processes, manipulate and control contexts and see oneself from an outsider’s point of view’ (p. 369). This points to inter-subjectivity (i.e. the movement between subjective life-worlds of the interactants) and a particular kind of meta-awareness about the context of communication as distinctive dimensions of communicative process ability. By engaging in both of these in communication a person comes to understand the self and the other. The interactional approach to defining the curriculum construction extends the dimensions that need to be taken into account in learning. Chalhoub-Deville (2003) describes the construct to be assessed as the ability-in-individual-in-context. She presents this as a way of rendering the social–interactional perspective, arguing that there is a reciprocal influence between the abilities of the individual process user and the context. She notes that the interactional perspective presents two challenges to learning: (1) ‘amending the construct of individual ability to accommodate the notion that process use is . . . co-constructed among participants’, and (2) the notion that process ability is local, and the ‘conundrum of reconciling that with the need for learnings to yield scores that generalize across contextual boundaries’ (p. 373). Kramsch (2006) recently extended the notion of interactional competence to include the likely interaction of process learners not only with monolingual native speakers but also with multilingual users with diverse values and ideologies. She suggests students ‘might need more subtle semiotic practices that draw on a multiplicity of perceptual clues to make and convey meaning’ (p. 250). She highlights the need to understand the practice of meaning-making itself (p. 251), describing it as ‘symbolic competence’: Process learners are not just communicators and problem-solvers, but whole persons with hearts, bodies, and minds, with memories, fantasies, loyalties, identities. Symbolic forms are not just items of vocabulary or communication strategies, but embodied experiences, emotional resonances, and moral imaginings. We could call the competence . . . symbolic competence. Symbolic competence does not do away with the ability to express, interpret and negotiate meanings in dialogue with others, but enriches it and embeds it into the ability to produce and exchange symbolic goods in the complex global context in which we live today (Kramsch, 2006, p. 251) When diverse processes and cultures are at play in communication this competence extends beyond interaction as a social practice to the interpretation of symbolic systems. This qualitative meta-layer ‘makes process variation, choice


• the experience in situ of interaction among people with diverse cultural and process backgrounds and reflection on the social and cultural construction of meaning, and the variability of context; • the appreciation of multiple perspectives, and responses to different perspectives, in deciding, comparing, etc. and explaining how they ‘make sense’ or interpret reflexively; • the ability to de-centre, to question assumptions; • growing increasingly aware of the processes of interpretation and meaningmaking.

How develop intercultural curriculum

and style central to the process learning enterprise’ (Kramsch, 2006, p. 251). An important concern in learning processes, then, is understanding meaning and meaning-making. Intercultural competence requires both interactional competence and symbolic competence. Thus intercultural competence includes the experience of interpreting and constructing meaning in communicative interaction in diverse contexts and the competence to analyse the process of meaning-making itself in the context of diverse cultures. The relationship between the experiential and analytic dimensions remains a complex issue for learning because it raises the question of whether they can be assessed in an integrated or separate manner. The learning process needs to take into account the dynamic nature of the construct. We do not have an adequate theory of process development from an intercultural perspective. Attempts to depict development have tended to address what is learned, employing categories that capture the increasing complexification of process and content.Development, however, is ‘not just a question of knowledge (content and skills or changing mental representations) but of the relationship between learners and knowledge, which entails questions of identity and agency as they participate in practice where the knowledge has meaning’ (Moss, 2008, p. 233). Bennett, Bennett & Allen (1999) have proposed a model for the acquisition of what they call ‘intercultural sensitivity’: the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS). The model describes a progressive series of stages from ethnocentrism to ethno-relativism. The descriptions are highly generalised and do not recognise that intercultural sensitivity may well be context- or task-specific. The linear progression that is assumed does not accord with the complexity of development. Overall, the model does not address the important relationship between process and intercultural sensitivity. The authors have grafted their proposed stages of development onto the process proficiency scale of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Processes (1985). This grafting process, however, assumes that students have had no exposure to intercultural experiences within their development before commencing their learning of the additional process. When focusing students’ developing intercultural competence we need to expand our conception of what it means to know a process, to include notions such as:

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5. Eliciting: operationalising the construct

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When eliciting an intercultural competence in learning processes, the conceptual challenges I have already discussed transfer to the process of eliciting. At the same time, insights from sociocultural theories of learning and learning in general education help us to reconceptualise how we might assess an intercultural competence in the learning of processes. Theories of learning from general education emphasise (1)the participation and interaction of the learners as social beings, within communitiesof practice and within the culture of the learning environments; (2) experience and meaning; and (3) a constant critical reflection on process, culture, positioning and identities (Haertel et al. 2008: 8). Experiencing and critical reflection are ongoing dynamic processes in the context of students’ developmental trajectories as they learn ways of being, acting, communicating, thinking and valuing. A sociocultural orientation to learning and learning implies two things. First, it implies that learning is evolving and dynamic, as the individual learner interacts within a learning environment consisting of people (with their own particular histories, home and peer cultures, and previous learning experiences) and resources (Moss, 2008, p. 228). In this dynamic view of learning, learning and learning are no longer separate but integrated. Second, it means expanding the instruments of learning to include evidence-based evaluations and judgments from the classroom, both formal and informal, and both tacit and explicit (Moss, 2008, p. 223). Thus, elicitation can include individual tasks, sets of tasks that shape learners’ experiences over time, analyses of moment-to-moment action and interaction, and conversations that probe students’ meanings, focusing not only on ‘knowledge and skill but also on embodied experience, meaning, process, culture, participation, positioning and identities enacted’ (Moss 2008: 238). This means eliciting the meanings that students themselves make of experiences, texts and images, and their participation in or engagement with them. This expanded view of elicitation opens useful possibilities for assessing the intercultural competence, not only at designated learning moments but also as an integral part of the continuous process of teaching and learning. However, our experience in the two studies on assessing intercultural competence indicates that teachers who operate within a traditional view of learning find this expanded view of learning challenging. All processes designed to elicit intercultural competence need to include learning of communication in intercultural interaction that is elicited in ‘critical moments’ (moments where the exchange matters to the student/participant) and to probe students’ meta-awareness of processes of interpretation or making sense, as evidenced in analysis and reflection elicited in commentaries (where students are asked to reflect upon their experience of participation or engagement). There may be different loci in different tasks. For example, students may be invited to analyse and reflect. The critical moment in an intercultural interaction may be when students realise that the way they will be perceived by their interlocutor or reader is vital. The task would also invite students to analyse and reflect upon their own participation, choices, process, culture and meaning. Other tasks could invite students to analyse and reflect on a concept idea. The concept or idea could emerge from exploring personal, cultural or intercultural experiences through texts (print, visual, etc.) based on themes from social life and how they are played out in different ways in different contexts; for example, stereotypes, alternative cultures, or respect for the elderly. Further experiences


6. Judging and validating Like conceptualising and eliciting, so too the judging and validating processes are situated in the tension between the two contrasting paradigms. Within traditional approaches, judging involves a system of evidence, criteria standards and rules of aggregation applied to student performances. Within qualitative, sociocultural approaches, judging is seen as inherently social (McNamara & Roever 2006), involving an act of interpretation; criteria and standards are understood as constructs that are not formulated through definition but through interpretation and meaning-making in multi-criterion qualitative judgments (Sadler 1987, forthcoming). Validation is the quality assurance process of learning as a whole: conceptualising, eliciting and judging in relation to the particular purpose and use of learning. In current conceptualisations there has been a meaningful shift from validating tests and scoring to validating the inferences made and their social consequences (Messick, 1989; McNamara, 2003). This shift highlights both the importance of the process of inferencing and its bases in the learning process and the need to consider the consequences of learning. Teachers and lecturers involved in the two studies on assessing intercultural competence report that they are able to identify important features of the construct and incorporate them in some way in experiences designed to elicit this developing competence. The process of judging, however, presents challenges. One of the participants in the study on assessing intercultural competence in international education (see

How develop intercultural curriculum

provided for students could invite students to analyse and reflect on experience itself; for example, a comparative consideration of naming, greeting, forms of address, politeness, or apology in the diverse processes. Given the developmental dimension of intercultural competence, elicitation processes also need to provide for learning over time. This might include processes such as ongoing observation; the use of portfolios; the use of journals for recording intercultural experiences in the target process and reflections on these experiences; and extended projects strengthened by analysis, cumulative commentary, summation, explanation, and elaboration. From the spoken, written, and interpretive performances of intercultural interaction we assess studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ways of managing interaction in the target process, their openness to the expectations of others, their actual communicative exchanges, responding to others, and their processes of interpreting, comparing, connecting, relating and valuing while taking multiple perspectives into account. From analysing and reflecting tasks we assess studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; meta-awareness of variability; interpreting contexts, roles, relationships, purposes, choices, perspectives and change; the social, cultural, linguistic and historical construction of meaning; and ultimately, critical and ethical awareness of process(s), culture(s) and their relationship. When communicating, people routinely accomplish these two roles; that is, the role of communicator and the role of analyser, reflecting constantly on the nature, process, substance and impact of communication. In eliciting intercultural competence, it is necessary to tap both roles. Nevertheless, finding ways of holding both roles in play simultaneously in the learning process remains a challenge.

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Crichton et al. 2006) comments on the issue from his perspective as a psychologist, not a specialist in process and linguistics. This lecturer captures the themes of: (1) the relationship between process and the mediation of meaning, (2) judging as a process of analysis that might be undertaken from diverse points of view, (3) the importance of comparison and standpoints or world views, and (4) the centrality of interpretation. While the complexity of making judgments about intercultural competences can be partly explained by acquiring the vocabulary to talk about the ways in which multiple meanings are socially mediated through process and culture, this issue of process can also be seen as the surface manifestation of a deeper issue. What appears to be absent is a larger frame of reference or fore-understanding that educators necessarily bring to making judgments. All the lecturers involved in the study were able to identify instances of intercultural experience, interaction and understanding, and to analyse evidence of studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; engagement and understanding. In order to judge any one instance of performance, however, it is necessary to reference it against a map of other possible, relevant instances representing the scope of the discipline as a whole, and against a likely trajectory of process learning and development in studies on assessing an intercultural competence in learning processes. It is these interconnected maps of possible instances and development that are not available as frames of reference for making and justifying judgments. These frames of reference are available, albeit tacitly, for skills such as writing in the target process. This is not to say that there is or should be a single agreed frame but rather, based on their own experience and/or the literature in the field, experienced teachers have been able to develop an integrated framework for judging writing. They have also been able to develop a sense of what constitutes evidence of learning, and a common process for talking about the learnings they make. Such a map of possible instances and evidence, and a common process that would facilitate the dialogue necessary for making and justifying judgments about intercultural competence has not yet been developed (or begun). The current focus on understanding the processes of judging is particularly promising because it invites exploration of processes of interpretation (Moss, 1996). Understanding these processes is critical to the learning of intercultural competence in process learning; that is, it is important to examine the fore-understanding that students bring to communication and process learning, and to expand their interpretive frames. Similarly, the goal for teachers is to interpret studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; meaning-making both episodically and longitudinally, because a consideration of peoplesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; continuously developing interpretive frames is integral to human understanding in general, and to the understanding of self and other. Research continues in both studies using the four interrelated processes of the learning cycle. The process of learning, because of its very nature, sharpens the focus of thinking towards addressing what it is that we are assessing (and teaching), what it is that students are learning, how we assess it and why. An issue, however, is the resilience of traditional views of learning, which may interfere with the need for further inquiry and experimentation. We need to keep recognising both the challenges and opportunities in learning.


7. Conclusion

References Alred, G., M. Byram & M. Fleming (2003). Intercultural experience and education. Clevedon: Multicultural Matters. American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Processes (1985). ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines (revised edn.). Hastings-on-Hudson, NY: ACTFL Materials Center. Bachman, L. F. (1990). Fundamental considerations in process testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bachman, L. F. & A. Palmer (1996). Process testing in practice: Designing and developing useful process tests Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bennett, J. M., M. J. Bennett & W. Allen (1999). Developing intercultural competence in the process classroom. In R.M. Paige, D. L. Lange & Y. A. Yershova (eds.). Culture as core: Integrating culture into the process curriculum. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, The Center for Advanced Research on Process Acquisition, 13-46. Brislin, R., K. Cushner, C. Cherrie &M. Yong (1986). Intercultural interactions: A practical guide. NewYork: Sage. Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Cleveland: Multilingual Matters. Byram, M., B. Gribkova & H. Starkey (2002). Developing the intercultural dimension in process teaching: A practical introduction for teachers. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Byram, M., C. Morgan & Colleagues (1994). Teaching-and-learning process-and-culture. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Byram, M. & G. Zarate (1994). D efinitions, objectifs et evaluation de la comp etence socioculturelle [Definitions, objectives and evaluation of socio-cultural competence]. Strasbourg: Report for the Council of Europe. Cadd, M. (1994). An attempt to reduce ethnocentrism in the foreign process classroom. Foreign Process Annals 27.2, 143-160. Chalhoub-Deville, M. (2003). Second process interaction: Current perspectives and future trends. Process Testing 20.4, 369–383. Council for the Australian Federation (2007). The future of schooling in Australia: A report by the States and Territories (Federalist Paper 2). Melbourne: Department of Premier and Cabinet. Crichton, J. & A. Scarino (2007). How are we to understand the ‘intercultural dimension’? An

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Much more research is needed towards understanding the intercultural competence in learning and using processes in diversity. The role of learning is important both because it sharpens the conceptual focus on the nature of learning and using processes within an intercultural orientation and because it provides valuable information about students’ actual learning. It is also important because learning has the power to shape what process learning is; who the learners are and their understanding of what it is that is important to learn. The challenge is not to look for easy ways to assess but to expand the repertoire of learning to accommodate a more complex view of processes learning that includes the development of intercultural competence. Grounded research with teachers and lecturers, as in the studies in-progress reported here, begins to provide a finegrained picture of the nature of this intercultural competence. It generates ways of eliciting it and ways of understanding and evidencing it, while always foregrounding the intimate relationship between process, culture and meaning, which is the core work of teachers of processes.

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examination of the intercultural dimension of internationalisation in the context of higher education in Australia. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 30.1, 4.1-4.21. Crichton, J., A. Scarino, L. Papademetre, S. Barker, K. Lushington & M. Woods (2006). Assessing and evaluating intercultural teaching and learning: A focus on sites of intercultural interaction (A commissioned Teaching and Learning Study by the University of South Australia). Adelaide: Research Centre for Processes and Cultures, University of South Australia. Delandshere, G. (2002). Learning as inquiry. Teachers College Record 104.7, 1461-1484. Gipps, C. (1999). Sociocultural aspects of learning. In P. D. Pearson & A. I. Nejad (eds.). Review of research in education (vol. 24). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association, 357-394. Haertel, H. H., P. A. Moss, D. C. Pullin & J. P. Gee (2008). Introduction. In Moss et al. (eds.), 1–17. Kramsch, C. (1986). From process proficiency to interactional competence. Modern Process Journal 70.4, 366-372. Kramsch, C. (1999). The privilege of the intercultural speaker. In M. Byram & M. Fleming (eds.), Process learning in intercultural perspective: Approaches through drama and ethnography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 16–31. Kramsch, C. (2002). In search of the intercultural. Journal of Sociolinguistics 6.2, 275–285. Kramsch, C. (2006). From communicative competence to symbolic competence. The Modern Process Journal 90.2, 249–252. Liddicoat, A. J., L. Papademetre, A. Scarino & M. Kohler (2003). Report on intercultural process learning. Canberra: Department of Education, Science & Training [now Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations]. http:// www1. curriculum. edu. au/nalsas/pdf/intercultural.pdf. Liddicoat, A. J. & A. Scarino (forthcoming). Eliciting the intercultural in foreign process education. In L. Sercu & A. Paran (eds.), Testing the untestable in process and education. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. http://journals.cambridge.org Downloaded: 06 Jun 2009 IP address: 82.48.230.137 Lovat, T. J. & D. L. Smith (2003). Curriculum: Action on reflection (4th edn.). Tuggerah, N.S.W.: Social Science Press. McNamara, T. (1996). Measuring second process performance. London: Addison Wesley Longman. McNamara, T. (2001). Process learning as social practice: Challenges for research. Process Testing 18.4, 333–349. McNamara, T. (2003). Tearing us apart again:The paradigm war and the search for validity. EUROSLA Yearbook 3, 229–238. McNamara, T. & C. Roever (2006). Process testing: The social dimension. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Messick, S. (1989). Validity. In R. L. Linn (ed.). Educational measurement (3rd edn.). New York: American Council on Education & Macmillan, 13–103. Moss, P. A. (1996). Enlarging the dialogue in educational measurement: Voices from interpretive research traditions. Educational Researcher 25.1, 20–28 & 43. Moss, P. A. (2008). Sociocultural implications for Learning I: Classroom learning. In Moss et al. (eds.). 222–258. Moss, P. A., D. C. Pullin, J. P. Gee, H. H. Haertel & L. J. Young (eds.) (2008). Learning, equity and opportunity to learn. New York: Cambridge University Press. Papademetre, L. & A. Scarino (forthcoming). Reflections on practice: Given a set of principles for intercultural teaching and learning, what are the implications for processes pedagogy? Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Risager, K. (2007). Process and culture pedagogy: From a national to a transnational paradigm. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Sadler, D. R. (1987). Specifying and promulgating achievement standards. Oxford Review of Education 13, 191-209. Sadler, D. R. (forthcoming). Indeterminacy in the use of preset criteria for learning and grad-


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ing, Learning and Evaluation in Higher Education. http://www.informaworld. com/ smpp/content?file.txt; doi:10.1080/02602930801956059. Sercu, L. (2004) Assessing intercultural competence: A framework for systematic test development in foreign process education and beyond. Intercultural Education 15.1, 73-89. Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one. Educational Researcher 27.2, 4-13. Shepard, L. (2000). The role of learning in a learning culture. Educational Researcher 29.7, 414. Van Ek, J. A. (1986). Objectives for modern process learning. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

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Part Two A case study


Roberto Melchiori, Rita Minello, Juliana E. Raffaghelli

Methodological aspects in Permit Project: the Italian experience

abstract

The definition of what a good research methodology is varies according to initial assumptions, theories and philosophical approaches shared by researchers and based on the intended uses of the results of a research. In the Permit project the methodological approach adopted by the Italian research group has involved both quantitative and qualitative methods. More than that, studies using mixed-methods have shown that integration of these traditions within the same study can be seen as complementary1. The present paper will examine the methodology chosen, which includes both the survey and the choices made for the design of the project. Such methodology can be regarded as an example of mixed-method approach.

La definizione di cosa può considerarsi come una buona metodologia di ricerca varia secondo le iniziali assunzioni, le teorie e gli approcci filosofici condivisi dai ricercatori e basati sulle intezioni circa l’uso dei risultati di una ricerca. Nel progetto Permit l’approccio metodologico assunto dal gruppo di ricerca italiano ha riguardato gli aspetti metodologici sia qualitativi sia quantitativi. In particolare è stata assunta come riferimento la metodologia mista che complementa e integra i metodi dei due diversi approcci. In questo articolo, progressivamente, si esamina la metodologia scelta che comprende sia lo studio/survey sia le scelte di disegno della ricerca. Tale metodologia può considerarsi come esemplificazione della metodologia mista.

1. Introduction The definition of what a good research methodology is varies according to initial assumptions, theories and philosophical approaches shared by researchers and based on the intended uses of the results of a research. One dimension that unites all researchers, however, is the particular concern regarding the quality of their work. Somehow, this explains why research methodology is an important topic to which Italian researchers paid such close attention and even struggled for assuring it in the PERMIT Project. Within the so-called quantitative methodology tradition, quality standards have

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Key Words: Methodology, Research design, Interculture

See Greene and Caracelli, 1979; Caracelli and Greene, 1997.

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been defined using the concept of validity2. This concept can be -and isconsidered as a cumulative process consisting of, almost, four steps. The initial steps are: one) to assess whether two variables are related to each other (conclusion validity) and two) to determine if this relationship is causal (internal validity). The third step examines if the means through which the theoretical model was operationalised are sufficiently representative (construct validity). Finally, the fourth step, examines if, and to what extent, findings can be generalized to other groups, places and time (external validity). This conceptualization of validity, like that of quality, has been very influential even within the so-called qualitative methodology tradition, wherein a solid approach to assess the quality of interpretative inquiry is the use of truthworthiness criteria3. Besides the critiques to the classical approach of validity, these criteria include the notions of credibility and transferability comparable with the concepts of internal validity and external validity. These initial correspondences suggest that the Italian methodological approach has involved both quantitative and qualitative methods. More than that, studies using a mixed-method have shown that the integration of these traditions within the same study can be seen as complementary to each other (Cresswell, 2003). Therefore, in this paper, both the study and the choices of the Permit Project research methodology will be analized on the light of the above mentioned mixed-methods approach.

2. The PERMIT survey The first phase of the PERMIT project was devoted to study cultural values influencing the school system. The main purpose of this activity was to gain an insight into cultural identities and problems within participant schools, in order to address teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; professional development programs and for the experimentation of intercultural education units among the several schools involved in the project. The main focus of the above mentioned research phase is a comparative analysis of the different values, opinion, and attitudes of teachers and students that influence teaching practices and learning outcomes. Special attention was paid to the spoken and learned languages and dialects, since these were thought to play a key role within the acquisition of intercultural competence. This explorative survey was clearly based on the idea of analyzing the relevant values and elements influencing the school system in partner countries and, in particular, whether intercultural values are utilized and how by research hypothesis. The assumption lying behind these ideas is that intercultural dialogue between the partners have to be achieved through a process of knowing and sharing own and othersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; involved cultural values. However, this is easier said than done. PERMIT project was entirely devoted to provide the basis to achieve this complex aim.

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See also Cook and Campbell, 1972. See also Denzin and Lincoln, 1993.


After the 1st Scientific Committee was constituted, an important hypothesis considered and further explored by the research group in its 1st meeting at Istanbul was: “Intercultural awareness among researchers, teachers and students involved in the project is supposed to be low. The processes of building a joint research framework, as much as introducing innovations in teaching methodologies and materials, are expected to enhance all PERMIT participants’ awareness of cultural diversity and understanding”.

Furthermore, the Scientific Committee assumed that the project’s impact should be visible on the following dimensions:

“The new methodology and the innovative teaching materials are expected to enhance students’ awareness of cultural diversity and understanding.” “The projects activities and research findings contribute to build bridges among nations and minorities (in Italy, Turkey, and Slovenia) and promote awareness of the intercultural reality4.”

The Italian research team focused on these assumptions in order to define the specific methodology and to create its main tools, utilized to explore the several realities in object. The aim was to achieve a comparative picture, and consequently help teachers to generate their own teaching materials, which, hopefully, should significantly contribute to change that picture throughout time. “After piloting the innovative teaching materials teachers can register heightened students’ knowledge, understandings, cognitions; they are better informed on cultural variety, they can understand various beliefs and values and accept otherness, they accept differences among cultures, they can decenter, view their own attitudes towards intercultural reality.”

Moving forward, the Italian research team explored these assumptions in order to draw conclusions on the data gathered through the several phases of the project development: At the First Residential Workshop (Istanbul, Turkey), a research on Autonomous/relational Self was introduced. It addressed one of the main issues on cross-cultural psychology, and was built on the idea that intercultural dialogue is to be achieved on the basis of similarities rather than on differences5. At the Second Residential Workshop (Koper, Slovenia), a new debate on the theme of intercultural communicative competence was raised by the researchers of the Universities of Primorska, based on their research background6. At the Third Residential Workshop (Venice, Italy), the Permit model was qualified according to the several research traditions, as presented in figure 1. The structure of the model will attempt to create common foundations of an original multicultural integrated teaching and teachers’ training (see Figure 1).

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Methodological aspects in Permit Project

Rationale: First Scientific Committee – Synthesis of the SC discussion prepared by Prof. Lucija Cˇok, University of Primorska – 25 November 2008. The question asked was: How could teaching address the development of an A-R Self? The main point was understanding to which extent the ongoing intercultural learning units taught by teachers’ experimenters were having an impact on the generation of an intercultural competence.

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Below, you can find the dimensions of the integrated model considered by the Italian group and the case studies7 Intercultural Comunicative Competence Byram, 1997 (following Delors, 1996)

Prof. Cok Model - (LABICUM) Primorska University

Venice Research Group (2nd Scientific Committee Venice)

To Know. Better information on cultural variety, better information on its own culture.

Discovery of Diversity and modulation of inputs – first level proposal –.

Cognition

Know to do. Integration of other knowledges into the use of foreign languages and intercultural interactions.

Dynamic: Attitude, Disposition to cultural diversity

Emotional

Melchiori, Minello, Raffaghelli

Know to be. Understanding how an identity and a culture are socially constructed; setting aside ethnocentric attitudes and perceptions, openess and interest towards the others; intercultural mediation.

Social Dynamic: Transfer of intercultural awareness to life. – dynamic –.

Know to learn. View their own attitudes towards intercultural reality understand various believes and values on the own person, accept otherness, accept differences among cultures.

Metacognition8

Table 1 – First conceptual model of the PERMIT research

3. The PERMIT research methodology In order to determine the research methodology for the PERMIT Project, two points were considered: main purpose and issues; research design. a) Purpose and Issues The Italian research team selected the purpose and issues to be addressed by the methodology. In this particular case, the main purpose of the methodology is to address the efficacy of the “Exploratory Study” in order to make decisions about its implementation.

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In particular, the Permit project moves from an “exploratory study based on questionnaires about the several values, opinions and attitudes influencing teaching and learning” (or WP2 component), to “intercultural teachers’ training” (or WP3 component) and “creation and experimentation of intercultural learning units (or WP4 component). Review of the model after the Second Venice seminar (Treviso, 4-6 June 2009).


Therefore the main issues targeted/identified by the methodology are the following: • Intercultural values – What was/is the difference in terms of intercultural sensitivity in each partner school before and after the project started? – What is the difference among teachers and students in terms of changes in intercultural values since the project has started ( among the partner schools)? • Performance – Are there differences in the intercultural teaching performances of the teachers involved at the conclusion of the project ?

b) Research Design

The Cutoff Criterion. Teachers and students were assigned to the project taking into account their scores on a defined scale (proposed by the partner researchers as element of their personal knowledge and tested research tools). Two distinct groups were created: a) teachers belonging to schools that had adhered to the Permit project; b) students belonging to teacher’s classes. The Pre-Postprogram Measures. The major sources of information for both issues – teachers and students intercultural values — were school performance records. Regarding these issues, two dimensions were considered before and after the project implementation, as well as during seminaries on the project. Statistical Issues. We assumed that the requirements regarding the statistical model were fully met, including statistical power. Programme Implementation. We assumed the project was implemented according to the Project plan and that there was no major delivery discrepancy. This way, the Research Framework was drawn up on a number of Research Activities, Methodology, Purpose and Expected Participants, as it is illustrated in figure 2.

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Methodological aspects in Permit Project

Research design refers to the strategy of integrating the different components of the PERMIT research project in a cohesive and coherent way. Rather than a “cookbook” from which you choose the best recipe, it is a means to structure a research project in order to address a defined set of questions9.” Permit project has been characterized by:

Creswell, J. (2004). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. NY: Prentice Hall.

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#"

Baseline Research: Cultural Values & Educational Systems

!"

Survey on teachers' beliefs and opinions

After Training Questionnaires

Teachers' narratives portfolio Self evaluation instruments / T-S Focus Group

%"

Teachers’ Training: Analysing Teachers’ Professional / Cultural Identity Changes

$"

Teachers’ Piloting: Analysing Teaching/learning process on the light of intercultural d

Observation Grids

Achieving results ---Materials & Accreditation process: Reflection on Action

Melchiori, Minello, Raffaghelli

Figure 2 – Scheme on the research design

4. Implemented methodology The first operative research strategy within the PERMIT project consists of two main steps: the elaboration of the questionnaires10 and the analysis of data gathered (figure 2); the agreement among research groups of Slovenia, Italy and Turkey in order to build the several categories for data interpretation, both at First and Second Level of data analysis. The final presentation took into account the data collected among the three partner countries, allowing some confrontation of 1 Givencase, the theoretical assumptionsspeak introducedabout in the firstapart of this article, the questionnaires organized data; in any we cannot comparative analysis,were given the small a number of respondents and the partial representation of the chosen schools by comparison with regional and national realities. Therefore, PERMIT findings have to be considered an initial input to reflect on inter-culture, but in no way, a definitive picture of the intercultural reality analysed. The sampling procedures (i.e. the way in which the characteristics of participants in the groups were selected) do not allow generalizations, but they delineate a particular and situated picture of opinions, perceptions and imaginaries on intercultural dialogue among the intervening teachers and students. The analysis of questionnaire results allow an in-depth examination of ideas and theories about how intercultural dialogue is conceived and furthermore the

10 Given the theoretical assumptions introduced in the first part of this article, the questionnaires were organized according to the following conceptual categories that were explored through the survey: Students: Demographic Information; Intercultural Learning; Contact with other cultures; Considerations on values, beliefs, opinions about intercultural dialogue. Teachers: Demographic Information; Teaching Methods; Contact with other cultures; Considerations on values, beliefs, opinions about intercultural dialogue.

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Figure 3 – Structural model of the content of the questionnaires11

5. General methodological findings The methodology developed by the Italian research team in the PERMIT project must be definitely considered positive, as proved by the findings,impacts and outcomes on intercultural teaching and learning attainments. The Permit Project Programme generally allowed an improvement of teaching methodologies and management strategies, that were crucial in enabling students to achieve the expected results and maximize satisfaction regarding intercultural issues. The results obtained through the research actions were crucial to identify the positive factors characterizing the PERMIT project and also to define the critical aspects that emerged. Both elements are reported below in order to provide “new inputs” to future European Projects about intercultural education.

Methodological aspects in Permit Project

detailed description of teaching and learning practices present in the schools participating in the PERMIT experience. Findings brought to a reflection on the congruence between conceptions on intercultural education in the participants’ schools as well as considerations included in international literature and/or European policy documents.

11 Research Report: “An exploratory Study on Cultural Values Influencing Schooling System” PERMIT Research Group. The scheme was developed by Juliana Raffaghelli and Roberto Melchiori.

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Critical issues

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– The information and communication procedures implemented by the PERMIT project carried using technological tools, were frequent and this reduced the dissemination of intermediate results in particular. – Relationships with the school organizations were often weak and started up only at the project-development phase. This means that during the initiative experiments did not always lead mutual strengthening and motivational processes between teachers and their host school organizations in order to assure a positive conclusion of the experience. – The breadth and multi-sector nature of the intercultural projects led to difficulties in handling the agreements among the various partners and the workgroup network. Sometimes, the promoters, were unable to maintain solid bonds and control over other members. – Even after the project was developed, the practices and the products were, in some way, short-lived, and this contributed to weaken the partnership and also the actions carried out without further opportunities for valorisation. Because of this, the initiative lost effectivess. – The understandable concern for the obtainment of a product and/or the final elaboration of research findings often led to a lack of attention to the ongoing processes. Positive Issues – The cooperation among the PERMIT partners concerning intercultural education was designed and validated by setting up the steering committee and helped to get to know the systems of the partner schools better; – The networks set up and consolidated through the PERMIT Project can become the context for promoting and starting many other initiatives. – Taking part in the LdV Program was the starting point for participating in other European Intercultural programmes. – The PERMIT Project was considered an opportunity to improve the education and training offer of the schools and an occasion for experimenting innovative teaching methods and procedures. – The glossary definition was an opportunity to share a common terminology and to promote comprehension on language learning. – The discussion and debate between partner researchers and teachers involved in the project about the European interest in intercultural matters was also facilitated by the seminars organized by partners between institutions and organizations belonging to the same sector (Universities). – A increased ability in the design of teaching learning units is the result of the activities of support and assistance, led by the partner research teams, in the project drafting phase as well as in the project development phase.


Denzin, N. K., Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Creswell, J. (2004), Educational Research: Planning, Conducting and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. NY: Prentice Hall. Guilherme, M. (2007), Educating Educators for the Intercultural Dimension of Citizenship Education: Giving Voice to Teachers, Academics and Policy-Makers. Università di Coimbra, Portogallo. Atti del Congresso Internazionale XIII World Congress on Comparative Education Societies, 3-7 September, Sarajevo. Grossi, L., Serra, S. (2004) (Eds.). Mobilità studentesca e successo formativo. Roma: Armando. Keeves, J., Lakomski, G. (1999) (Eds). Issues in Educational Research. Amsterdam: Pergamon -Elsevier Science-. Landis, D., Bennet, J., Bennet, M. (2004). Handbook of Intercultural Training. 3rd. Edition. Thousand Oacks, California: Sage Publications. Melchiori, R., (2009). Pedagogia. Teoria della valutazione. Lecce: Pensa Multimedia. Morin E. (1987). Penser l’Europe. Gallimard. Whitehead, J., McNiff, J. (2006). Action Research: Linving Theory. London: Sage. Denzin, N.K., Lincoln Y.S (Eds.) (1994). Handbook of Qualitative Research.Thousand Oaks: Sage. Argyris, C., Putnam, R., Smith, M. C. (1985). Action Science: Concepts, Methods, and Skills for Research and Intervention. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Guba, E. G., Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Fourth generation evaluation. Newbury Park: Sage. Guba, E. G., Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N.K. Denzin, Y.S.Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage.

Methodological aspects in Permit Project

References

131


Juliana E. Raffaghelli

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class PERMIT case preliminar research findings

La ricerca sulla professionalità degli insegnanti ha guadagnato maggiore ‘attenzione negli ultimi anni. Ciò è dovuto probabilmente al fatto che vi sia una crescente attenzione per gli insegnanti come attori principali nel cambiamento educativo, legato esso stesso alla nuova centralità dell’istruzione e della formazione come parte fondamentale dello sviluppo economico e sociale. La discussione sulla professionalità degli insegnanti ha iniziato a delineare un proprio campo di sviluppo nell’ambito della ricerca educativa degli anni ‘60 (e in particolare degli anni 70). Da allora, le tendenze sono cambiate dai modelli oggettivista (attraverso l’osservazione degli insegnanti durante il lavoro) verso la considerazione del funzionamento cognitivo e metacognitivo dell’insegnante al momento di pianificare il proprio lavoro, per una introduzione completa della loro soggettività come individui profondamente coinvolti nella creazione della propria identità professionale. Le nuove prospettive di ricerca sulla professionalità degli insegnanti comportano quindi l’esplorazione di esperienze, credenze, le immagini e le rappresentazioni sociali sull’insegnamento e l’apprendimento, collegati a specifici contesti culturali. Questo articolo tenta di introdurre uno studio sui ‘valori, opinioni e concezioni sul dialogo interculturale in classe, come parte di una ricerca preliminare mirante all’orientamento di successive attività formative sperimentali degli insegnanti in servizio. Key words: In-service teachers’ education, teachers’ beliefs, intercultural education.

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

abstract

Research about teachers’ professionalism has driven attention in the last years. This is due probably to the fact that an increasing attention to teachers as key players in educational changing, linked to the new centrality of education and training as foundamental pieces of economical and social development. The discussion about teachers’ professionalism started to delineate it own field within educational research from the 60’s (and particularly 70’s). Since then, tendencies have changed from objectivist models (through the observation of teachers at work) to consider their cognitive and metacognitive operation when planning their own work, to a complete introduction of their subjectivity as individuals deeply involved in creating their professional identity. The new perspectives of research on teachers’ professionalism involve hence the exploration of experiences, beliefs, images and social representations of teaching and learning, connected to specific cultural contexts. This article attempts to introduce a study on teachers’ values, opinions and beliefs, about intercultural dialogue in class, as part of a preliminar research addressing further experimental teachers’ training activities.

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For a choice of pedagogy inevitably communicates a conception of the learning process and the learner. Pedagogy is never innocent. It is a medium that carries its own message JEROME BRUNER, “The Culture of Education”, 1996

1. Introduction As Jerome Bruner pointed out within his important work “The culture of Education”,

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“...different approaches to learning and different forms of instruction – from imitation, to instruction, to discovery, to collaboration – reflect differing beliefs and assumptions about the learner – from actor, to knower, to private experiencer, to collaborative thinker” (Bruner, 1996, p. 50).

He called this “a folk pedagogy”, as the tendency of every teacher (and adult) to conceive the other’s mind in a certain perspective: they are able of generating a “theory of mind”. Therefore, Bruner, introduced four schematic conceptions about learning and teaching and its implications about the practice of teaching, namely1: a) the conception of learning as imitation, that takes to the pedagogy of transmission; b) the conception of learning from didactic exposure, that takes to a pedagogy of demonstration; c) the conception of learning as the development of “intersubjective interchange”, that takes to the pedagogy of participation and reflection; d) the conception of learning as management of “objective” knowledge, that takes to a pedagogy of “metalearning” in the sense of critical understandings of knowledge – distinguishing between personal knowledge, on the one side, and “what is taken to be known” by a culture or other, in Bruner’s words –. Bruner’s claim about the need of considering folk pedagogies inside every educator, was made in the context of contesting the “anti-subjective behaviourism”, through a perspective that would take into account the deep roots of teachers’ effectiveness in intuitive theories about how the other minds work. In fact, Bruner opened a perspective of education as a “culture” where learning and teaching occur in context, and where meaning making processes shape the mind and the Self of the learners. This perspective would certainly bring out from behind its surface of “neutrality” of knowledge and the culture taught, in the sense that “An official educational enterprise presumably cultivate beliefs, skills, and feelings in order to transmit and explicate its sponsoring culture’s way of interpreting the natural and social worlds (…) it also plays a key role in helping the young construct and maintain a concept of Self. In carrying out that function, it inevitably courts risks by sponsoring, however implicitly, a certain version of the world. Or it runs the risk of offending some interests by openly examining views that might be

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134

This is schematic and synthesized from the author explanations for the sake of simplicity with the aim of addressing the key concepts of this research.


Let me now emphasize this perspective of a “learning and teaching culture”: teachers and students are holders of experiences, representations, and beliefs, that they negotiate in the very moment of sharing an educational space. In that sense, the classroom (and also the extended system of the school) becomes a laboratory where microsocial changes can have place if a dialogic perspective is enacted (Wegerif, 2007). What do I mean by dialogic? It is that capacity of putting difference together, to construct the new meaning, through the tension between voices, stories, and cultures. In that sense, a cultural context of learning can be characterized more as a laboratory of micro-social change, than a stagnant and a alienating experience of transmission, to paraphrase Bruner. But the key to feature a context of learning in that sense, is the capacity of recognition of the involved stakeholders of the own beliefs, values, and images populating their minds, as a metarepresentational capacity. Doubtless, from all engaged actors in the “culture of education”, the teacher represents a crucial one, since he/she conduces groups of students within the educational experience. His/her capacity of mobilizing personal and professional resources and strategies are extremely important at the time of shaping an educational experience as merely transmission as well as dialogic space of creation and construction of new knowledge. This applies particularly to the case of intercultural education: as it has emphasized in an author’s previous work (Raffaghelli, 2009) teachers’ intercultural sensitivity, as that personal dimension based on openness , curiosity, flexibility to interact with otherness linked to work with and through diversity in class, are the kernel of effective pedagogical practices. Effective practices that lead to a context of learning where inclusiveness and participation are the distinctive features of the experience, as part of the so called “intercultural education” – as discussed in chapter 2 –. These assumptions were considered in the exploration of teachers’ beliefs about intercultural dialogue in class as well as teaching methods to tackle the question of diversity through the own subject taught within the research that I’m about to introduce, undertaken within the first phase of implementation of PERMIT project. As we shall see later, the concepts introduced in this last paragraph are completely coherent with a whole line of research about teachers’ professionalism, that I will also take into account to ground my position.

2. Teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning: a powerful research perspective Research about teachers’ professionalism has driven attention in the last years. This is due probably to the fact that an increasing attention to teachers as key players in educational changing, linked to the new centrality of education and training as fundamental pieces of economical and social development (European Commission, 2007, 2010). Coherently, this attention has been mainly focused on: a) teachers’ education and teachers’ effectiveness in class, considering the need of

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

taken as like the culture’s canonically tabooed ones. That is the price of educating the young in societies whose canonical interpretations of the world are multivocal and ambiguous. But educational enterprise that fails to take the risks involved becomes stagnant and eventually alienating” (Bruner, op. cit., p. 15).

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introducing substantial innovations in class (use of new teaching methods, use of resources other than traditional text books and expositions, etc.) and curriculum; b) participating in re-engineering with regard to school organization and relationships among teachers; c) communicating with the outside world; d) linking practices in international learning communities (Margiotta, 2007). One of the most important challenges that teachers have to overcome is, doubtless, the question of new constructivist approaches that put the learner at the center of educational process. This new vision takes the teacher to rethink completely its own role with regard to the students s/he is in charge to lead; in fact, the teacher is supposed to play the part of facilitator, stimulating autonomous processes of exploration of knowledge, responsible participation, and creativity. Traditional teaching techniques are not enough to address new learning cultures. The discussion about teachers’ professionalism started to delineate its own field within educational research from the 60’s (and particularly 70’s). Since then, tendencies have changed from objectivist models (through the observation of teachers at work) to consider their cognitive and metacognitive operation when planning their own work, to a complete introduction of their subjectivity as individuals deeply involved in creating their professional identity (Knowles, 1992; Kompf, Bond, Dworet, Boak, 1996; Bullough, 1997; Connelly, Clandinin, 1999; in Europe: Beijaard, Meijer, Verloop, 2004; Bolivar Botía, Fernández Cruz, Molina Ruiz, 2004; Lisimberti, 2007). The new perspectives of research on teachers’ professionalism involve hence the exploration of experiences, beliefs, images and social representations of teaching and learning, connected to specific cultural contexts; this kind of research is frequently developed through the use of qualitative methods, intensely connected to fieldwork and activities of construction of meaning together with the same teacher, as action research (Whitehead and McNiff, 2006). If in the 80’s the research was focused on teachers’ thinking and other cognitive processes, in the early 90’s researchers where focused on belief’s, values and emotions, being the main hypothesis that those psychological processes, more implicit (like beliefs) or more explicit (like naïve theories of learning) could influence pedagogical practices (Pajares, 1992) Therefore, exploring and discovering teachers’ beliefs could help researchers to think about effective teachers’ education models, that would impact on negative beliefs or outdated perceptions of learning in an attempt to accompany the teachers to reflectively deconstruct the same. In fact, the TALIS research (Teaching and Learning International Survey, OECD)2, affirms that “Teachers’ beliefs, practices and attitudes are important for understanding and improving educational processes. They are closely linked to teachers’ strategies for coping with challenges in their daily professional life and to their general well-

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The TALIS research examined a variety of beliefs, practices and attitudes which previous research has shown to be relevant to the improvement and effectiveness of schools. Using representative data from 23 countries, this chapter presents a cross-cultural comparative analysis of profiles, variations and interrelationships of these aspects as they shape teachers’ working environment.


TALIS examines teachers’ beliefs, attitudes and practices and compares teachers, schools and countries, emphasizing that even when these dimensions don not explain directly student achievement or changes in achievement, student motivation or changes in motivation. To study professional competence the TALIS research draw on the several research trends about the issue of teachers’ beliefs. In fact, recent research, for example, is focused on teachers’ beliefs on the nature of knowledge. Knowledge can be, as conceived by teachers, simple or complex, acquired through an active process or by transmission, certain and well defined or characterized by uncertainty and the necessity of active exploration (Schommer, 1990; Hofer, 2000; Schraw e Olafson; 2008). Another important group of researchers have focused the nature of teaching methods. Measures of the effects of constructivist compared with “reception/direct transmission” beliefs on teaching and learning, developed by Peterson et al. (1989) is a good example of this, followed by the works of Woolley & Wolley, 1999; Chan & Elliott, 2004. Lastly, other studies focus the influence of teachers’ activities in promoting successive changes within professional activities that might lead them to reshape their own beliefs (Merinik et al. 2009). According to this rich state of art, TALIS uses a domain-general version of two teaching and learning-related indices (constructivist and direct transmission) to cover teachers’ beliefs and basic understanding of the nature of teaching and learning. The TALIS survey was structured hence basing on several research trends (for example the incidence of gender or geographical and cultural belonging and beliefs; it also considers the perspective of educational policy, to which is more relevant to look at the impact on teachers’ beliefs, practices and attitudes of professional background factors such as type of training, certification and professional development, subject taught, employment status (part-time versus full-time) and length of tenure. It is important to note that any of these relationships can have different causal interpretations. Therefore, TALIS research highlights the several dimensions of the study of teacher’s beliefs, considering the interest of the focus for policy making, particularly regarding the quality of education. Nevertheless, being a crosssectional study, TALIS can describe relationships of correlation among certain factors and beliefs, but it cannot disentangle causal direction. Some of the TALIS analyses can be considered merely exploratory, because so far there is little research, for example, on beliefs and practices specific to certain subjects. Considering the state of art in Italy, where the topic has also been afforded in several reviews of literature aimed to justify teachers’ education (Lisimberti, 2007; Semeraro, 2010). Both researchers emphasize the subjective perspective of research on teachers’ effectiveness. But while Lisimberti have extensely reviewed Italian and international research trends about teachers’ professional identity, the last work of Semeraro (2010) not only reviews international research background about teachers’ beliefs (“concezioni degli insegnanti”) but it also introduces an empirical field research about initial and in-service teachers’ beliefs. Furthermore,

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

being, and they shape students’ learning environment and influence student motivation and achievement. Furthermore they can be expected to mediate the effects of job-related policies – such as changes in curricula for teachers’ initial education or professional development – on student learning (OECD-TALIS, 2009, p. 91).

137


Semeraro and cols. contrast these results against a framework of competences of the ideal teacher, drawing on SSIS-VENETO Syllabus of teacher professional profile (Margiotta et al. 2003; 2006)3. However, as it emerges from this first analysis of background, research about teachers’ beliefs in the field of intercultural education has been treated scarcely. Therefore, it seems interesting to explore the relations among the exposition to other cultures (both formal and informal, autonomous) as part of the personal and professional story, and the introduction of an intercultural perspective to the pedagogical practices. The PERMIT preliminar research work could thus address interesting research questions about teachers beliefs on intercultural education. This should lead to consider learning design for teachers’ intercultural education; as well as the study of teachers’ effectiveness with regard to the introduction of intercultural perspective to the own subject taught and teaching methods opened to diversity.

Raffaghelli

3. Exploring Teachers’ beliefs and values regarding intercultural dialogue The PERMIT project (“Promote Education and Reciprocal Understanding through Multicultural Integrated Teaching”) aimed at contributing to fulfilling the objective of promoting the Civil Society Dialogue between the European Union and Turkey with specific focus on ensuring a better knowledge and understanding of Turkey within the European Union. PERMIT’s Scientific Committee elaborated a first working hypothesis in order to launch the process of intervention that would lead to reach the ambitious goal envisaged: Intercultural awareness among researchers, teachers and students involved in the project (sample 10, 100, 800) is supposed to be low. The innovations in teaching methodologies and materials is expected to enhance researchers, teachers and students’ awareness of cultural diversity and understanding. From this assumption, the research group worked on the conceptualisation of teachers’ training as the kernel of teachers’ as professionals able of dealing with the complexities of an intercultural education. The departing assumption was that the student’s response to the cultural difference (linguistic, ethnical, of values and attitudes, etc) co-existing in her/his living environment can be related to the teacher’s reflection upon the own intercultural experiences and cultural identity. This also entails the capacity of the teacher of reflecting on the own beliefs when implementing methods and perspectives within teaching, for raising the student’s self-awareness in the processes of learning , from a critical positioning about the cultural values inside the concepts and activities through the learning process. On the contrary, the teachers’ lack of capacity of understanding the own values and beliefs inside the own subject taught and the methods chosen to conduct

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Several academics from the Universities composing the School of Teachers’ Education of Veneto region, Italy worked jointly in this project. They were: Umberto Margiotta (director of SSIS-VENETO) Eugenio Bastianon (University of Venice); Luigina Passuello (University of Verona); Raffaella Semeraro and Carla Xodo (University of Padua).


3.1. Introducing the Study The Study was conducted from January 2009 to March 2009. A questionnaire developed by PERMIT research group (with researchers from Yildiz, Primorska and CIRDFA, Ca’ Foscari) was disposed in electronic form by UNIVIRTUAL LAB, giving access to teachers and students from the schools selected to participate on PERMIT experimentation process (fig. 1). Before administration, teachers’ trainers had a meeting with Italian research group in order to be trained to the administration and areas explored by questionnaire. Following this phase, a letter was sent to Heads of schools informing and asking approval for the administration with at least 4 classes of the selected Institutes. Given this context of work, 17 teachers and 208 students completed the questionnaire in Italy, using school labs to administrate open online questionnaires, followed by trained teachers.

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

learning processes may take the student to reshape the own beliefs, being conducted by the teacher up to the point that acculturation (adoption of a different culture) takes place through the prism of the teacher’s cultural experience. Thus the teacher’s reflection upon the teaching process can be influenced by his/her attitude towards cultural embeddedness of subjects taught (particularly art, languages and humanities, but also sciences), as well as in his/her relations with foreign students. As unaware process, this has heavy implications about both teaching and learning: such a situation may give rise to stereotypes of cultural traits or values related several elements and concepts within the subject taught, as well as in the choice of teaching methods, or when thinking about the assessment criteria and expected learning outcomes. Instead of that, dispositives and tools that enact self-reflection of cultural experience can prove to be constructive with regard to the teachers professional identity and his/her engagement as protagonist of micro-social experimentation to deal with crucial problems within the own socio-cultural context. To this regard, self-assessment tools to analyze the intercultural competence, as proposed by University of Primorska (Cok, 1999, 2009) could be considered in line with the above introduced perspective. To enact a process of training and influencing the intercultural values, opinions and beliefs of teachers involved in the PERMIT experience, as “authentic” environments of intercultural learning , the research group decided to start from collecting some information about teachers’ beliefs and practices with regard to the intercultural education. This information was going to be used in further activities (mainly first awareness sessions) with PERMIT teachers-experimenters. Nevertheless, the following results are of interest in itself to think about the several teachers’ beliefs on intercultural dialogue and education. Due to the nature of organization of the study, we will only present Italian group’s results. The methodological issues have already been discussed and schematized in the chapter 7.

Data analysis was undertaken by the CIRDFA research, under the coordination of Prof. Roberto Melchiori.

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Figure 1 – Groups involved on the Study

Figure 2 – The studied groups within the Italian context

140


The teachers involved in the present study are representative of general characteristics of Italian teaching boards in Veneto Region: they are mainly middle aged (with 84,7% of teachers over 40 years old), and women (71,4%). Consistently, they have rather long experience on teaching (mode 16-20 years). As we may see, in our group, the teachers that show longer experience are all coming from the fields of Humanities (History, Philosophy, Economics, Political Sciences) whereas teachers coming from the field of Sciences (Math, Chemistry, Physics) declared less years on teaching. This fact could be associated with an only recent openness of scientific areas to participate in interdisciplinary teams and projects about transversal competencies. Another important issue is the fact that the bigger part of teachers are originals from Veneto Region (Padua, Venice, Verona, Pieve di Soligo, with a cumulative percentage of 47.1%; the following group is, in any case, is original from the north part of Italy (Trento and Genova, 17,7). The rest, come from the south part of Italy (11,8%), and from Wien (5,9). Being all Italians and from the north part of Italy, and mainly from the same geographic area where the school is placed, could generate a pedagogic discourse which is aligned with official positions in matters of immigration. It’s hard to imagine having teachers that have the same social status than their own students; and in the case these teachers have the sensibility to treat the problems of immigration, they experience the problem of otherness from the point of view of dominant class. Nevertheless, other data confirm the hypothesis of cultural awareness and intercultural sensitivity of the teachers engaged in this study (mainly because they have accepted voluntarily to complete the questionnaire, and this is the first indicator of an interest in intercultural issues). It is possible (and to be confirmed) that these teachers are innovators, but in any case experience an important resistance from the institutional level (head and other colleagues) that could create professional crisis and difficulties in implementing projects of intercultural education. Qualitative approaches to study organizational realities within schools with regard to this problem could bring new light. Age Cumulative Frequencies Valid

Missing

Percentage

31-35

1

36-40

1

41-45

4

46-50

3

17,6

>50

4

Total

13 4

23,5

17

100,0

Missing Total

5,9

Valid Percentage

Percentage

7,7

7,7

5,9

7,7

15,4

23,5

30,8

46,2

23,1

69,2

23,5

30,8

100,0

76,5

100,0

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

3.2. Teachers’ Profiles

Table 3 – Teachers’ Age

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Graphic 4 – Teachers’ Age Gender

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Frequencies Valid

male

Percentage

Valid Percentage

4

23,5

female

10

Total

14 3

17,6

Total

17

100,0

Missing

Cumulative Percentage

28,6

28,6

58,8

71,4

100,0

82,4

100,0

Table 5 Teachers’ Gender

Frequency Valid

Percentage

Valid Percentage

3

17,6

17,6

17,6

Bari

2

11,8

11,8

29,4

Genova

1

5,9

5,9

35,3

Padova

4

23,5

23,5

58,8

Pieve di soligo

2

11,8

11,8

70,6

Trento

2

11,8

11,8

82,4

Venice

1

5,9

5,9

88,2

Verona

1

5,9

5,9

94,1 100,0

Vienna

1

5,9

5,9

Totale

17

100,0

100

Table 6 – Place_of_Birth

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Cumulative Percentage


Frequency Valid

Missing

Percentage

Valid Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

Mathematics

1

5,9

7,1

7,1

Physics

2

11,8

14,3

21,4

Chemistry

1

5,9

7,1

28,6

Foreign Language: English

4

23,5

28,6

57,1

History/Philosophy

2

11,8

14,3

71,4

Civics/Political Sciences

2

11,8

14,3

85,7

Economy

1

5,9

7,1

92,9

Other

1

5,9

7,1

100,0

Total

14

82,4

100,0

3

17,6

17

100,0

Missing Total

Table 7 – Subject Taught

Valid

Valid Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

6-10

3

17,6

21,4

21,4

11-15

2

11,8

14,3

35,7

16-20

5

29,4

35,7

71,4

>20

4

23,5

28,6

100,0

14

82,4

100,0

3

17,6

17

100,0

Totale Missing

Percentage

Mancante di sistema Totale

Table 8 – Teaching_experience

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

Frequencies

8.9.: Teaching_experience Graphic 9 – Teaching_experience

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8.9.: Teaching_experience

8.10: Teaching_experience

Raffaghelli

Graphic 10 – Teaching experience

3.3. The teachers’ linguistic competence In this section, information about Mother tongue, vehicular language, working T language, and other languages spoken were presented. The assumption is that “...student’s response to other languages and cultures forming part of his/her living environment can be related to the teacher’s reflection upon teaching methods and their own discipline taught; this can be, in time, regarded as a result of the method for raising the student’s self-awareness in the processes of learning the subject taught where cultural awareness can be shaped as part of transversal competences. It may happen that the student’s self-reflection is guided by the teacher up to the point that acculturation (adoption of a different culture) takes place through the prism of the teacher’s cultural experience. Thus the teacher’s reflection upon the teaching process can be influenced by his/her attitude towards the target culture, which can be too subjective. Such a situation may give rise to stereotypes of cultural traits or values related to the nation speaking the language taught, which eventually works to the disadvantage of the student. Self-reflection upon and self-assessment of cultural experience can prove to be much more constructive from the educational point of view, owing to the fact that self-reflection and the acquisition of primary cultural experience allows for the authenticity of the cognitions acquired and the possibility to exert an active influence on the process of the formation of the student’s personality…” (L. Cˇok, Permit Assessment of Units, 2nd Residential Seminars, Koper)

So through the study of languages, it is introduced a first dimension of teachers’ cultural identity, that is later deepened in the section “Contacts with other Cultures” and “Values, Opinions and Attitudes”. This analysis, in time, should be helpful to understand the teachers’ capacity – and openness – to reflect on their own cultural identity influencing teaching practices

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T T

Frequencies Valid

Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

Valid Percentage

3

17,6

17,6

17,6

1

5,9

5,9

23,5

Italian

13

76,5

76,5

100

total

17

100,0

100,0

German

Table 11 – Mother_Tongue

Frequencies Valid

Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

Valid Percentage

3

17,6

17,6

17,6

English

1

5,9

5,9

23,5

Italian

13

76,5

76,5

100,0

total

17

100,0

100,0

Frequencies Valid

Percentage

Valid Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

3

17,6

17,6

17,6

English, German, Chinese

1

5,9

5,9

23,5

English

4

23,5

23,5

47,1

English French

2

11,8

11,8

58,8

English Russian German

1

5,9

5,9

64,7

English, French

1

5,9

5,9

70,6

english, french, spanish, russian

1

5,9

5,9

76,5

English, Spanish

1

5,9

5,9

82,4

French

1

5,9

5,9

88,2

English, French, German

1

5,9

5,9

94,1

Russian, Spanish. Italian

1

5,9

5,9

100,0

17

100,0

100,0

total

Table 13 – Foreign_Language

The results obtainedwith withregard regard to the question of languages, group to the question of languages, show a show group athat, even if it is that, even if it is not multicultural from the point of view of their origins (mainly n Italians, Italian mother tongue and language of instruction) are keen on learning/using of foreign languages, with the third part of teachers knowing several languages – 29,5% –, mainly European but also, non-European. In fact, a good part of the group is able, in any knowledge case, of speaking at least This another foreign must of other cultures. last assumption b language, a condition that is indicating a minimal openness and knowledge of other cultures. This last assumption must be considered carefully if we bear in mind that almost the half of teachers that have completed the questionnaire are Language teachers.

communicates with his/her students, and therefore, deliver curriculum, building on the b

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

Table 12 – Instruction_Language

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Raffaghelli

3.4. Teaching Methods This section of the questionnaire was devoted to study the channels/modalities chosen by which the teacher communicates with his/her students, and therefore, deliver curriculum, building on the bases that the act of teaching is mainly an act of communicating “culture” (in the complete sense of communication, not only verbal) – Margiotta, 1997 –. The teacher, hence, delivers curriculum through the use of activities and tools that can be more or less participative, that could allow the expression of the students’ selves, or instead of that, that can alienate them, forcing the student to recall and repeat a “vertical pedagogic discourse” (Bernstein, 1996), which in time can be defined as ethnocentric (there’s one Culture to be learnt: those delivered at school). Within Permit experimentation, we have considered that more participative – horizontal discourse – could address the introduction of intercultural reflection, leading to the setting of learning situations were “complex intercultural identities” can be developed. As stated before, it’s not only about introducing “intercultural topics” within an enlarged curriculum, but mainly about teaching practices that generated an atmosphere of participation, inclusion, equity, among teachers and students (Minello & Raffaghelli, this volume). The main assumption here, that we recall, is that traditional methods like lecture and use of textbooks are closer to an ethnocentric approach, where prevails the teacher discourse, that in time brings to the classroom an “official”, centralized discourse. Whereas methods that allow participation (workgroup, discussions) students’ activity (laboratories, fieldwork, project work), and interaction with enlarged contexts of learning (use of technologies) will allow an ethnorelative focus of topics treated in class, helping students – and also teachers – to reflect on cultural values and hence acquire levels of intercultural sensitivity. Teaching Methods implemented in class. This questionnaire’s area explored the teaching methods adopted in class as expressed by teachers aiming to depict the current practices in class. Lecture should be considered a traditional method were teachers expose a topic, having complete control of discourse and over the group dynamic. It can be pointed out that teachers can afford a topic in a participatory way, making students to feel involved into a discourse. Other methods, can be regarded as more interactive, generating the possibility of expression of diversity. It can be argued, on the contrary, that those methods can be superficial and ideologically driven towards the direction the teacher wants to impose. The best formula is, doubtless, the use of a variety of teaching methods that guides students from knowledge to understanding, and from understanding to putting to practice, and transferring to real life, seeing the significance of a determinate issue as part of their intercultural competence (see Raffaghelli, Melchiorri, Minello, this volume). As we can see, the teachers in this group use a variety of methods, but lecture prevails (64,7% of teachers use rather often and often this method). The other methods are used mainly “sometimes” (35,3% of cases for group work, project work, lab activities, pair works); groupwork shows more dispersion, with a consistent part of teachers that use it “rarely” (23,5%); but another group uses it “rather often” (23,5%). Almost the same situation applies for project work. We can see that, with regard to lab activities, that the situation seems to be defined by a

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scarce opportunity of using laboratories, since the teachers indicate that condition as “rarely” (29,4%) and sometimes (35,3%); this situation is problably due to the cost and bureaucratic problems linked to taking the class outside of the classroom/school. Generally, the situation seems to show a trend of change with regard to teaching methods, towards more open, participatory approach; this trend is surely to be linked to well motivated teachers, that could act isolated, within a yet very traditional system, which couldn’t be interested in this “new” activities; moreover, the institution it could also offer resistance and reluctance to innovation.

a) lectures b) group work c) project work d) lab activities e) pair work f) self-guided work g) other (specify)…………………………………

never

rarely

5,9 0 5,9 5,9 11,8 0

0 23,5 17,6 29,4 11,8 23,5

Some times 11,8 35,3 35,3 35,3 35,7 5,9

Rather often 35,3 23,5 23,5 11,8 23,5 35,3

Always 29,4 0 05,9 0 5,9 5,9

What teaching method/s do you use when you teach?

Teachers’ working methods. Professional Learning Communities of Teachers, based upon the construct “communities of practice” (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998), have been defined as places for teacher learning; in that sense, a community can become a mediator of teachers’ responses to their professional intervention, seen in terms of quality, efficacy, innovation, satisfaction (Midoro, 2005). In this sense, particular attention have been paid in the last years to the importance of interdisciplinary interaction in order to promote “cross-borders” teaching, opening the “boxes” of disciplines, as requested by E. Morin for a better education. Characteristics of the communities of practice, including their relative strength and openness (to learning), influence the degree to which teachers work out negotiated and thoughtful responses to new schooling system demands (Margiotta, 2007, op. cit). In an intercultural vision, group-working means negotiation of senses of practices and enlargement of the “discipline-centered” approach. Being flexible, in the end, is an important dimension of an intercultural reflection. In this section, the questionnaire attempted to explore this issue, asking about I contacts with other teachers in order to solve working problems. The issue about legitimating peripheral participation , which is the main aspect of Lave & Wenger’s model, is clearly incompletely raised through only one question. In spite of this, question. In spite of this, this question demonstrated to be This last is only this question demonstrated to be This last is only sensitive to the openness of s participant teachers to keep in contact with colleagues as basic dimension of further engagement in professional learning communities of teachers. never a) teachers of other subjects b) outside communities c) outside professionals

0 17,6 29,4

rarely 23,5 35,3 29,4

Some times 41,2 23,5 17,6

Rather often 11,8 5,9 5,9

Always 5,9 0 0

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

Table 14 - What teaching method/s do you use when you teach?

How often youwork workin in team team with other subjects or outside professionals? Table 15 – How often dodoyou withteachers teachersofof other subjects or outside professionals?

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How often do you work in team with teachers of other subjects or outside professionals?

Raffaghelli

Graphic 16 – Frequency of collaboration with teachers from other professional communities 8.16: Frequency of collaboration with teachers from other professional communities

As we may see, contact with other colleagues is not usual: teachers state that only “sometimes” (41,2%) and “rarely” (23,5%) they contact other colleagues, within the same school, of other disciplines, in order to work together. The same trend emerges for contacts with teachers of other “communities of practices” (58,8%, aggregating “sometimes” and “rarely”), and with professionals – not teachers – from the outside world (58,8%, aggregating “never” and “rarely”). This issue depicts a situation where the teachers are working mainly isolated, with the consequences for the students of seeing partial implementation of new ideas, instead of well integrated, coherent, new teaching practices, were intercultural teaching methods and issues have certainly an important place. The bivaried (Contacts & Discipline) analysis introduced through the graphics is also consistent with this information.

8.17: Frequency of collaboration with otherwith professionals Graphic 17 – Frequency of collaboration other professionals

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never a) use of ICT in class b) use of e-learning approaches c) contacting students by e-mail

11,8 35,3 23,5

rarely 11,8 11,8 35,3

Some times 17,6 17,6 5,9

Rat her often 35,3 17,6 5,9

Always 5,9 0 11,8

Table 18 – How often do you include ICT (information and computer technology) in your lessons

Quality of School. The quality of School, as perceived by teachers, can be an T important factor of positive/negative representations and beliefs of the own professional capacity. In this sense, the teacher finds him/herself as part of a system that works properly, or s/he feels isolation and even mobbing as a daily dramatic situation in her/ his professional practice. The problem of public/private schools is, in any case, complex, since depending from the model of development adopted, public system is perceived as a hub of excellence, or as a container poor people to have access at a basic education that can be in time seen as system of “indoctrination” . Generally, Italian teachers, engaged within the public system, declared that the public school is a good environment to work. In fact, this representation is consistent with the welfare state in Italy, that have promoted public school in a well developed, central bureaucratic system; even if in the latest years important changes have been pushed by the introduction of autonomy’s law4, the public school is still envisaged as the better way to deliver basic education.

4

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

Introducing New technologies within teaching practices to address intercultural issues. This questionnaire’s area, was aimed to study the level of introduction of ICT’s within teaching practices, building on the assumption discussed on our research framework, that the “digital natives” are conforming a third culture, through the use of Internet, which seems to be an excellent way of opening a vision to new/other cultures. There’s also consistent data that shows that the implementation of online learning approaches promotes autonomous study, responsibility for learning processes, and, depending of the model of e-learning adopted, better interaction and collective participation (Pallof & Pratt, 1999). In I fact, it’s important to remember that students’ have considered ICT’s crucial to reach other cultures, through direct communication with young people of other parts of the world. The results here show a situation of increasing use of ICT’s, yet still not consistent. The fact that a third part of teachers (35,3) uses “rather often” technologies, is encouraging, with regard to a regular implementation. Unfortunately, the next step, which is the use of “blended” approaches were distance learning is implemented, are not so positive, with a 47,1% that uses this approach “never” and “rarely”. Contacting students by email was considered as a very outdated modality to reach the student in online spaces; since there are several platforms that allow asynchronous communication among teacher and students, the use of mail is unnecessary. The data here show that teachers do not use this method consistently.

We should consider here that this research was implemented during 2009, prior to the commotion of the “Gelmini’s Reform” which made schools literally blow under the pressure

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poor p

Raffaghelli

The counterpart of this situation is that Italian system could be considered elitist and centralized, presenting problems for social inclusion, participation of local population on the institutional identity, with consequences of drop-out of students of low social status; and the isolation of potential dialogue with institutions towards a strategy of local development with market drop-out of students of low social (integration status; and the isolation of p As a corollary, intercultural perspective of teaching and learning is still labour). fragmentary, introduced with some difficult, since curriculum delivered is too rigidly imposed to local populations. Nevertheless creativity and willingness of teachers are pushing against the system with best-practices that are creating the ground for new systematic approaches to intercultural education (Minello & Raffaghelli, this volume).

8.19. Quality perceivedof of Private Private School Services Graphic 19 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Quality perceived School Services

4

8.20 . Quality perceived of Private School Services Graphic 20 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Quality perceived of Private School Services

of downsizing (in budgetary and personnel terms) with the following pressure to remaining teachers.

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3.5. Contact with other Cultures This section of the questionnaire explored the experiences of teachers’ contact with other cultural realities and people, through a) real contact in situation of tourism, b) contact on the online environments –——-this last dimension was explored in order to compare it with the experience of their own students, that showed to be keen on the use of technologies and well entered on the social Web5 Travel Abroad per Years and Teaching Experience

Frequency Valid

yes

Missed

Missed total

Percentage

14

82,4

3

17,6

17

100,0

Valid % 100,0

Cumulative % 100,0

5

8.22. Teaching Experience (in years)

Graphic 22 – Teaching Experience (in years)

5

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

Table 21 – Travel_Abroad

See Raffaghelli, chapter 10, this book.

151


Raffaghelli

Teachers had in every case experiences of contact with other cultures abroad. We can see that teachers are actively engaged in contact with other cultures both through tourism and other kind of professional activities abroad. When we take a look to the teachers’ subject taught, we can see that the “traveller teachers” are mainly those coming from the field of languages. This is consistent with the development of their own education as languages teachers, but it is also a sign of openness given by the research/training method of their specific disciplinary field, that could in time lead to a more intercultural conception of teaching. Even if the duration of the stay can be considered mainly short (1 to 2 weeks), there is at least a third of teachers that spent more than 4 weeks abroad, which could assure good levels of contact with other different cultural backgrounds.

8.23. Subject Taught

Graphic 23 – Subject Taught

8.24. Experience abroad lasting

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8.23. Subject Taught

8.24. Experience abroad lasting Graphic 24 – Experience abroad lasting

Travel Abroad Motivations a) Tourism b) Students’ Exchange c) School Excursion d) Work f) Visit Relatives

Yes 82,4% 41,2% 58,8% 41,2% 23,5%

No 0% 41,2% 23,5% 41,2% 58,8%

Missing 17,6% 17,6% 17,6% 17,6% 17,6%

Table 25 – Travel abroad Motivations Visited Countries Frequency Valid

Percentage

Valid Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

3

17,6

17,6

17,6

Belice, Costa Rica, Croatia,

1

5,9

5,9

23,5

Canada

1

5,9

5,9

29,4

Denmark

1

5,9

5,9

35,3

England

3

17,6

17,6

52,9

Europe (England, France, Germany)+Turkey

1

5,9

5,9

58,8

France

1

5,9

5,9

64,7

Netherlands

1

5,9

5,9

70,6

Russia

1

5,9

5,9

76,5

UK, France, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey

1

5,9

5,9

82,4

UK, Ireland, USA

1

5,9

5,9

88,2

USA

2

11,8

11,8

100,0

total

17

100,0

100,0

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

Travel Abroad Motivations

Table 26 – Visited_Country (First Choice)

153


Frequenza Valid

Percentuale

Percentuale valida

Percentuale cumulata

4

23,5

23,5

23,5

Canada

2

11,8

11,8

35,3

china

1

5,9

5,9

41,2

Cuba, El Salvador, GB, Germany,

1

5,9

5,9

47,1

France

2

11,8

11,8

58,8

France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia,

1

5,9

5,9

64,7

Great Britain

1

5,9

5,9

70,6

Scotland

1

5,9

5,9

76,5

Spain

1

5,9

5,9

82,4

USA

1

5,9

5,9

88,2

USA (Florida, California, NY)

1

5,9

5,9

94,1

Venezuela

1

5,9

5,9

100,0

17

100,0

100,0

total

Raffaghelli

Table 27 – Visited_Country (Second Choice) 8.27. Visited_Country (Second Choice)

Frequenza Valid

Percentuale

Percentuale valida

Percentuale cumulata

5

29,4

29,4

29,4

Cuba, Argentina

1

5,9

5,9

35,3

France

1

5,9

5,9

41,2

Greece, Romania, Slovak, Swizzerland,

1

5,9

5,9

47,1

Guatemala

1

5,9

5,9

52,9

Iceland, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria,

1

5,9

5,9

58,8

Kenya

1

5,9

5,9

64,7

Portugal

1

5,9

5,9

70,6

Turkey

2

11,8

11,8

82,4

U.K.

2

11,8

11,8

94,1

Usa

1

5,9

5,9

100,0

total

17

100,0

100,0

Table 28 – Visited_Country (Third Choice)

As we can see, general choices about countries visited are frequently related with cultures that are, in a certain extent, closer to the teachers’ one. We could affirm that teachers are moving mainly to Western Countries, with few exceptions going to Third countries (different from Canada, USA, or Autralia) In that sense we could estimate that even if teachers have had a good approach to realities other than the own, those realities could be considered also from an ethnocentric point of view: countries and cultures were it’s easy to feel we are at home.

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Online “Intercultural Contacts”

Contact theInternet Internet Graphic 29 –8.29. Contact onon the

Contact with peers from another country via the Internet – Qualitative Analysis “I have sometimes e contacts with the english teacher of a dutch school. I met her during a students exchange” “With my cousin in Russia, it is a recent way of communicate” “I was mixing with teacher for 2 weeks.” “regarding history of mathematics for a couple of years” “SEVERAL NATIONALITIES FOR YEARLY PROJECT WORK” “FRIENDS , MY GIRL FRIEND FOR A LONG TIME” “Teachers for school personal school projects, e-twinning or comenius projects”

Two factors emerge from this statements: a) that in 7/17 (hence, a consistent gorup) use online tools and environments to communicate to other people, which might come from different cultural reality. They use it in order to keep updated and “fresh” professional and personal relationships; b) it is important to them, in any case, to use technologies to give continuity to educational projects and projects of collaboration across frontiers in order to introduce innovation into the classrooms.

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

Contacts on the net are significant: we can assert that a good part of teachers involved in this study are engaged in using technologies of social Web; in fact, in a 47% of cases there is or there has been contacts of other countries with the use of internet.

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Type of intercultural contacts “Visiting different countries I could meet locals and foreign tourists as well. My partner works for a multinational company and I have many occasions to interact with persons of other cultures” “Some of my students come from China, Pakistan, ecc” “Friendship, studies, work, neighborhood, family” “Parents” “I have had contacts for Comenius 2” “Yes,I have but only with turistic guides” “The most other culture I met was in Turkey. I was there for a comenius project so I was half tourist half guest” “SEVERAL CONTACTS FOR FRIENDSHIP AND WORK” “AS A FRIENDS AND RELATIVES” “Friends”

Raffaghelli

In this case none significant information is added by teachers’ opinions, different from quantitative data. Anyway, it comes out that intercultural contacts are not, once again, of a high level of exposition to other cultures. In fact, they generally happen into the context of family and friendships in other countries, within social networks of confidence. In some cases, they declare to have had contacts through the job, or in any case, in a controlled environment offered by tourism.

8.30. Perceptions on the Intercultural Experiences (Positive/Negative) Graphic 30 – Perceptions on the Intercultural Experiences (Positive/Negative)

a

156

In general the teachers’ statement that they are quite ore completely satisfied from intercultural contacts, can be considered as pervasive, both regarding real or online contacts. Even if we affirmed that the teachers have mainly developed contacts with closer cultures, we can say that there is a very good openness and curiosity to establish intercultural contacts, which in turn can move to devoted to raise information about values, beliefs and opinions opportunities of intercultural dialogue.


3.6. Considerations on Values, Beliefs, Opinions about Intercultural Dialogue This section was specifically devoted to raise information about values, beliefs and opinions about intercultural dialogue, in order to depict the teachers’ beliefs on the same among the teachers and students involved into the study. The guiding assumption here was that, given a particular kind of values, beliefs and opinions, the attitudes – and therefore, actions – would be more or less oriented to interact with otherness.

strongly disagree a) a way of life b) tolerance c) patience d) empathy e) flexibility f) interest g) curiosity h) involvement i) openness towards others j) knowledge of others k) withholding judgment of others l) difficult m) It is impossible to find common ground with people from some cultures n) Religions distance peoples. o) other (specify) ……………………………………..

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly agree

11,8 5,9 5,9 0 0 5,9 5,9 0 0 0 5,9 35,3

0 5,9 0 5,9 0 0 5,9 0 5,9 11,8 5,9 11,8

5,9 35,3 17,6 5,9 11,8 5,9 11,8 11,8 11,8 35,3 47,1 17,6

23,5 11,8 17,6 29,4 5,9 0 17,6 17,6 17,6 5,9 11,8 5,9

29,4 5,9 29,4 29,4 52,9 58,8 29,4 41,2 35,3 5,9 0 0

17,6

11,8

23,5

5,9

11,8

8.31. Meaning of dialogue among cultures according to the teachers’ beliefs Table 31 – Meaning of dialogue among cultures according to the teachers’ beliefs

We can appreciate through frequencies’ analysis, that interest, curiosity and openness towards others, are the first statements that find a good level of agreement. Thus, teachers retain these dimensions crucial to define the “essence of intercultural dialogue”. Considering Bennet’s model, this could be regarded as an important step towards the ethnorelative approach: the capacity, in first place, of lay down own conceptions in order to explore otherness, as a children, with curiosity, withholding opinion. Nevertheless, definitions implying a more strong commitment with otherness, such involvement and patience, are left, very cautiously, in a second place. Tolerance —a dimension of intercultural dialogue that have been declared as part of rather “ethnocentric” approach, seems to gain an important place within the opinion, yet less important that the first mentioned dimensions. Another interesting information is the dispersion of opinion with regard to the T role played by religions. However the balance goes to a negative opinion with regard to the statement “Religions distance peoples”. And an important third part of teachers strongly disagreeng with the assumption that would preclude any kind of dialogue: ”it’s impossible to find a common ground with other cultures”. The above mentioned results seems to show that there’s a very positive position (at least declared) with regard to exploring and experiencing intercultural dialogue. It is necessary to say that here emerges some images of “utopia” about the possibilities of dialogue, and also an alignment with official discourses that

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

In your view the essence of a dialogue with other cultures means….

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promote “diversity”. The practice, in everyday life, could be completely different, and the section “teaching methods” is demonstrating that there is still a long way to go before achieving a good intercultural awareness, further transferred to the real world.

Raffaghelli

Dialogue_Essence_Tolerance Dialogue_Essence_Patience Dialogue_Essence_Empaty Dialogue_Essence_Flexibility Dialogue_Essence_Interest Dialogue_Essence_Curiosity Dialogue_Essence_Involvement Dialogue_Essence_Openness Dialogue_Essence_Knowledge DE_Judgement_Withholding Dialogue_Essence_Difficult DE_Impossible_Common_Ground DE_Religion_Divisions

Component 1

2

3

,924 ,885 ,699 ,867 ,577 ,812 ,378 ,754 ,754 ,433 ,009 -,299 -,110

,276 -,027 ,532 ,431 ,683 ,525 ,815 ,504 ,504 ,297 -,062 -,693 -,743

-,098 ,088 ,300 ,177 -,203 -,086 ,030 ,200 ,200 ,758 ,935 ,596 -,116

Method of Extraction: Analysis of Main Components Rotation Method: Varimax with normalization of Kaiser. a. Rotation has reached convergence criteria in 5 iteration.

Table 32 – Matrix of Components Rotated / Meaning of Dialogue among cultures

Factor Analysis / Teachers-Beliefs Beliefson on Intercultural Intercultural Dialogue Graphic 33 –8.33. Factor Analysis / TeachersDialogue

158 8.33. Factor Analysis / Teachers- Beliefs on Intercultural Dialogue


A factor analysis revealed the presence of three interesting groups of dimensions, that we defined as follows: • • •

Readiness, that groups tolerance, patience, flexibility, openess and knowledge Involvement, that groups involvement and interest, Distance, that groups “withholding judgement”,”impossible find common ground”, and difficult of dialogue.

Considerations on Values, Beliefs, Opinions, about intercultural dialogue: Qualitative Analysis During my classes intercultural issues are tackled…

This question could generate an important information not because of it has been raised as answer, but of the lack of answers. In fact, just 3/17 teachers have answered that it’s important to treat intercultural issues in class considering them important for the motivations observed above. Topics already tackled “Culture and costumes (school organization,food, clothing, teen agers’rights)” “prejudices, stereotypes, migration, multilingual education, comparation of legends, traditions, festivities, social” “cultural and religious differences” “Valori di tolleranza, uguaglianza diversità, come previsto dalla Costituzione” “ 1)the different views in the cultures. 2)P.A.C.E.” “when i speak about history of mathematics: i.e. greek contribution to logic through geometry” “ arabic contribution to Italian algebra” “knowledge of cultural traditions of English speaking countries” “ relationships with other cultures to use a foreign” “school curricola, heritage, manuscript books, protest songs, current art exhibitions ...”

This variety of statements highlight an undefined representation of “intercultural teaching” among teachers involved. In fact, it seems that this representation is evolving through daily pedagogical practices. But the diversity of practices is another factor resulting from the several disciplinary’s point of view regarding the field of knowledge of the subject taught. Therefore, one conclusion could be that an intercultural approach must be created taking into account the subject taught.

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

“lot of my students come from foreign countries with different religion and different culture when I find it interesting for my topic” “it is part of my educator’s duty”

159


Intercultural topics that should/could actually be included in high school curricula within your country

Raffaghelli

“I think that it could be very interesting to include a module about religions. By my experience I think that sometimes what we see so different has the same background.” “all of them, I think. It’s a question of time for it.” “Conoscenza dell’altro Conoscenza delle diverse religioni” “The different right; European right; European citizens.” “Lawfulness, education of citizens.” “Comparative religion, comparative history” “Viewpoints of other cultures on religion, life and habits, duties and rights anthropology art, heritage, current topics from the news”

However, from these answers emerge that it does exist a vision of pedagogical practices addressing intercultural education; hence the problem created by tensions among cultural diversity is recognized, as well as the several modalities to solve it. The importance given to the theme of religions coincides with results from another question within students’ questionnaires, about flexibility of issues that shapes intercultural identity. This answer also underline the assumption that religion is as a factor of rigidity that interferes with intercultural dialogue. Clearly, this is an issue where future interventions should focus as priority.

Readiness to tackling topics related to intercultural education in your class or would you rather take part in further training “I’m not interested in” “I consider myself ready, but I would take part in training, if I had the possiblity, because there is surely much to learn” “I’d rather take part in further training in order to deal with these issues” ”Mi piacerebbe seguire un corso di formazione: secondo me non ho una preparazione adeguata” “I’m not ready, I need take part in training” “not really ready, just interested” “Further training is always a benefit” “Yes”

From brief answers in this area, it comes out that teachers assign strong importance to the issue of teachers’ education on intercultural dialogue and teaching methods. Nevertheless, teachers seems to show lack of clearness about what kind of training could satisfy this education needed. Furthermore, this could be pointing out further the importance given to intercultural phenomenon in class, as a “runaway” object of activity (Engestrom, 2009) that requires careful exploration.

160


In your view are intercultural values fostered in schools today? (Rank ( ( your assessment, please.)

2 0

3 17,6

4 17,6

5 5,9

6 11,8

7 17,6

8 0

9 0

yes 0

Graphic 34 – Teachers’ Opinion about focus on intercultural values at School

Graphic 35 – Teachers’ Opinion about value of intercultural Issues within general Instruction

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

no 0

161


Values to be transmitted to the young generations

Raffaghelli

tolerance flexibility, openess towards others, interest Respect of others, within the respect for human right permits it, but taking position against discriminating traditions/uses wherever. Curiosity about the knowledges of other cultures and there way to represent reality tolerance towards “the other” Conoscenza delle diverse culture, per comprenderle fino in fondo tollerance, empaty, curiosity, rispect. Solidarity, lawfulness, justice curiosity for different solutions to common problems understanding of the reasons which allow other cultures to accept bahaviours which we don’t approve respect, understanding of different behaviors, communication, peace yes Intercultural values are already present in school text books of all subjects (literature, religion, philosophy, maths, languages ...) They should only be used/emphasized

These brief comments could be related to three factors that explain them, that we can connect to Bennet’s scale of “Intercultural Sensibility” (Bennet, 1986, 1993) • • •

Tolerance (that refers to an ethnocentric state in transition towards a more ethnorelative position –from minimization to acceptation) Knowledge/Curiosity (That can be linked to a middle ethnorelative state – adaptation –) Solidarity/Respect/Understanding (that can be linked to an advanced ethnorelative state –Integration-)

Fostering intercultural values in school long lasting cultural exchange of students and teachers For example to let immigrants bring to school their languages and there traditions, to create interest and discussion on differences and similitude, to analyze together the different representations that cultures create of the reality and the cultural val stimulate pupils to make friends with foreign students There is an group that is incharge of receiving foreigners, since their number is continuously raising. But there isn’t any project to diffund intercultural values at school Meeting with Institutes and direct experience lectures to teachers and debates among teachers Authentic exchanges with peers As above

The call for bigger contact with immigrates, is clearly addressed in this expressions, instead of seen interculturalism through international contacts (travelling to foreign countries). This demonstrates that there is plenty of awareness about the increasing phenomenon of the phenomena of domestic multiculturalism, and about the necessity of revisit curriculum, didactics, school

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organization in order to tackle the problem. Teachers gave also strong importance to exchanging practices and working models within interdisciplinary teachers’ groups.

The questionnaires’ impact on teachers they are part of every reflexion on inter cultural education it is interesting Si, perchè dobbiamo creare una società fondata sulle diverse comunità e questo deve partire dalla scuola I have had the opportunity to think about this subject. they make me think about a subject which I don’t necessary have to reason about in terms of teaching. In part because they don’t go deeper into analyzing how intercultural issues should be presented to teachers and students they can stimulate awareness

The questionnaire have stimulated reflection on the theme of intercultural dialogue among participating teachers. The only case in which more precision was asked is that of exploration of the concept of “interculturalism”, consistently with data previously commented.

4. Conclusions Teachers, both at the stage of initial training and throughout their professional life, interpret processes of teaching through the filter of previous and ongoing knowledge and beliefs. These elements characterize the own personal and professional experience, that in time determinates the eventual changes of pedagogical practices as dynamic processes. Knowledge (both conceptual and practical) as emerged from the first part of this survey, is the base of meaning making processes. Teachers’ curiosity and openness, in that sense, are clearly driven by the previous experience, which under the light of reflection can also show the limitations that previous positive or negative experiences can play in the future life. Beliefs are implicit, interwoven with knowledge, and are nurtured by a constellation of emotions as well as narrative memory (the sense attributed to facts and sensations in previous life) They also encompass implicit knowledge, as ideologies and ideals (Goodson, 1997). It’s crucial to understand values, beliefs and ideals of a teacher, and support reflection of the teacher on them, before inducing him/her to an experience of training.

Teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism in class

Final Remarks

As this research shows, many of the beliefs about contact with otherness, and also strategies to introduce an intercultural perspective to teaching, were rooted on stereotypes (i.e. “intercultural is beautiful”, considering the “folkloric”

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representation of foreigners); but also, the important exposure of teachers to diversity in previous professional and personal life; as far as of diversity in class, made them to be ready and curious to deepen their competences about strategies to introduce an intercultural perspective of teaching and learning.

Raffaghelli

Trainers and policy makers need to be aware that teachers’ multiple contexts of reference in his/her life, in terms of socio historical and cultural dimensions, distinguish the process of participation to innovation, as well as the effective perception of it. We could represent this conception as follows:

8.36. Teachers’ Professional Identity formation

Figure 36 – Teachers’ Professional Identity formation

The presence of otherness directly within the groups the teacher is asked to lead (in a more complex conception of teaching, if we take into account the learner centered perspective) implies the presence of values, practices, and beliefs that can be more or less dissonant with that of the teacher. Therefore he/she needs to be aware of the own values, in order to deconstruct naïve perspectives and to use, in all of its potential – the own experiences as “foreigner” with regard to the values of majority. This would also be a key element in order to open dialogue in very conflictive situations. Moreover, this should prompt the teacher to revisit the fundamentals of the own subject taught, being able of introducing the own subject on theWlight of several perspectives, that enact processes of participation on deconstructing and reconstructing new meanings of knowledge. The effort here has been to show how teachers’ beliefs regarded stereotypes (i.e., the importance given to “tolerance” which might be the expression of yet ethnocentric approach), in a changing scenery with the increasing and conflictive

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presence of diversity in class. But also, the openness of teachers participating to this study (probably best performers and innovators), to be the protagonists of a new education where intercultural dialogue is crucial. With these premises, we are now prepared to understand the training strategy later adopted within PERMIT project.

Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Leiden University, Institutional Repository Leiden University – https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/11190 Access September 2010. Bolívar Botía, A., Fernández Cruz, M. & Molina Ruiz, E. (2004). Investigar la Identidad Profesional del Profesorado: Una triangulación Secuencial. Revista online Qualitative Research http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/516/1117. Access June 2010. Bruner, J. (1996). The Culture of Education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Bruner, J. (1966). The Process of Education, a Landmark in educational theory. Harvard: Harvard University Press. Bullough, R.V. (1997). Practicing Theory and theorizing practice. In J. Loughran, T. Russell (Eds.). Purpose, passion and pedagogy in teacher education (pp. 13-31). London: Falmer Press. Carneiro, R. (2007). The Big Picture, Understanding Learning and Metalearning changes. European Journal of Education, 42, 2. Chan, K.W., Elliott, R., (2004). Relational analysis of personal epistemology and conceptions about teaching and learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 817-831. Cˇok, L. (1999a). Portfolio Languages in Slovenia: content, procedures and phases of trial implementation in Slovenia 1998-2001. In V. Hytonen, J., Razdevsek-Pucko, C., Smyth, G. (eds.). Teacher Education for Changing School. Report Project TEMPUS S_JEP_11187-96, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pedagogy. Cˇok, L. (2009). PERMIT Project, Working Paper, Scientific 22-24 January 2009, Venice. Archives of Centro Interateneo per la Ricerca Didattica e la Formazione Avanzata. Commissione Europea (2007). Migliorare la qualità nella formazione degli insegnanti {SEC(2007) 931 SEC(2007)933} http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2007:0392:FIN:IT:PDF Conelly, F.M., Clandinin, D.J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educational Researcher, 19 (5), 2-14 Connelly, F.M., Clandinin, D.J. (Eds.) (1999). Shaping a Professional Identity, Stories of Education Practice. London: Althouse Press. Coulby, D. (2006). Intercultural Education: Theory and Practice. International Journal of Intercultural Education, 17, 3, 245-257. Craig, H. (2007). Teacher support Networks: Facilitating Change in the Classroom Working Environment – World Bank,Proceedings of XIII World Congress on Comparative Education Societies, 3-7 September, Sarajevo. Creswell, J. (2004). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Prentice Hall. Demetrio, D. (1993). Il costituirsi di mentalità interculturali attraverso l’apprendimento come esperienza e didattica. In S.S. Macchietti, G. Ianni. Interculturalità, un itinerario possibile. Firenze: Irrsae Toscana. Demetrio, D., Favaro G. (1992). Immigrazione e Pedagogia Interculturale. Firenze: La Nuova Italia. Demorgon, J. (1989). L’exploration Interculturelle. Pour une pédagogie internationale. Paris: Colin.

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Juliana E. Raffaghelli, Rita Minello

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach: Learning from experience, experiencing to learn

Questo articolo mira ad introdurre la strategia incorporata al programma di formazione degli insegnanti implementato attraverso il progetto PERMIT. Il progetto considerava sin dall’inizio la formazione degli insegnanti come componente cruciale di un dispositivo formativo (nel senso della concezione di U. Margiotta -1997-, come meccanismo che consente un gruppo umano di fare, pensare e attuare seguendo una certa direzione strategica) mirato a generare innovazione con relazione al topico del progetto (educazione interculturale per aprire al dialogo della società civile) e nello scenario di tre culture interagenti (Italia, Slovenia, Turchia). Nel contempo, tale dispositivo per la formazione degli insegnanti ha generato un percorso riflessivo da parte dei formatori sul processo di sviluppo dell’identità professionale dell’insegnante immerso nel processo di creazione e di condivisione di esperienze e risorse educative con insegnanti da altre realtà culturali. Nella visione degli autori, l’attività formale di formazione degli insegnanti doveva essere rivista, poiché troppo strutturata, puntando a creare una nuova strategia di formazione per lo sviluppo professionale dell’insegnante in ambienti di apprendimento interculturali. In effetti, la strategia formativa si basava sul supporto dato agli insegnanti per il contatto con pari di altre realtà internazionali; l’uso di ambienti virtuali di apprendimento; il coaching nel processo di implementazione in classe delle unità di apprendimento elaborate sperimentalmente dagli insegnanti; il percorso riflessivo per la sistematizzazione della propria pratica professionale (Pedagogia dell’Unità di Apprendimento). Infine, il modello includeva il riconoscimento di apprendimenti informali e non formali per l’accreditamento universitario presso l’ente proponente, Ca’ Foscari.

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

abstract

This article aims to introduce the envisioned strategy in the teachers’ training programme implemented within PERMIT project. Since the beginning, the project considered teachers’ education as the crucial component of an educational dispositive (as understood by U. Margiotta in the sense of a social mechanism allowing a group of people to do, think and implement something according to a precise strategy) able to bring about innovations on the project topic (intercultural education for dialogue in the civil society). A concrete goal of such training was to develop intercultural competences to manage complex learning processes in the scenario of three different realities interacting within the PERMIT project (Italy, Slovenia, Turkey). At the same time, such a teacher training dispositive wasa hypothesized to enhance a reflection that takes to develop teachers’ professional identity for the new hybrid and fluid learning space. In fact, in the authors vision, formal training has too structured activities, which need to be revisited in the light of a new strategy for teachers’ professional development in intercultural learning environments. In fact, the strategy focused on: supporting contact with peers in the locally and across frontiers; the use of online learning tools; coaching to further experimentation in class; and the creative process of learning activities design undertaken by teachers in sistematizing the many resources and ideas coming out from their work in class (“Pedagogy of learning unit”). In the end, the recognition of non-formal and informal learning would lead to the accreditation of learning by the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice

Key Words: Teachers Professional Development, Intercultural Education, Enlarged Cultural Contexts of Learning, Activity Theory.

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1. Cutting-edge teachers’ professionalism: shaping a Professional Identity for the Lifelong Learning Society

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We are living in a defining moment, when the world in which teachers do their work is changing profoundly. The future learning agenda is fraught with uncertainty: broad societal questions determine its setting, while new knowledge paradigms emerge. On the one hand, the monolithic knowledge of the national curriculum – brought into the class by teachers – has been questioned by the introduction of communication technologies and the dynamics of the multicultural society. Teachers have been traditionally considered transmitters, technicians, operators of such “encapsulated” knowledge (Engrestrom, 1991a, 1991b). On the other hand, the need of shaping key competences for lifelong learning society (European Commission, 2006), is clearly emphasized by policy priorities of relevant transnational bodies. These claim for new pedagogical practices in order to prepare citizens and workers for a complex new society, in a context of crisis and change. Teaching for the Lifelong Learning Society means to prepare young people for a world of insecurity (Hargreaves, 2003), but also, to give them the possibility to express their learning traditions (learning cultures) within the negotiated action of teaching and learning in school systems. Cultures that break the wall of classroom, that ask for an enlarged vision of the school “frontiers”. This in time means: teaching across frontiers, bringing together boundaries to promote the several minds and intelligences, as potential that a new society need to work. School needs a transformation process to become a caring and creative place where learning communities – both constituted by students and teachers – can work in a joint venture. The “clockwork orange” age has come to an end, and with it the school that prepared people to enter that old world (Carneiro 2007): mainly because these schools have undermined creativity, innovation, and the potential of peoples to express their own – millenary – culture and knowledge, imposing standardized version and divisiveness (Freire, 1970; Bourdieu, 1970). It seems that innovation, mobility, e-skills, the modernization of the labour market and social inclusion, all challenges that the EU has chosen to face within a unified strategy (see Europe 2020 flagship Initiative), recognise the crucial role played by educational systems and the professionals operating within them (European Commission, 2010). Therefore, teachers’ professionalism is at the center of the debate on educational shif (UNESCO, 2006; European Commission, 2007; OECD, 2005, 2009, 2010). In fact, teachers cannot keep on teaching from an ethnocentric, static, acritical vision of pedagogical practice, as they also have to integrate communicative, linguistic, technological and managerial competences to become the facilitators of a dynamic and participatory learning processes. Their classes need to be opened to different cultures, local dynamics, new technologies and social networks. Quality teachers are considered one of the most relevant elements within the ET 2020 strategy. In fact, European directives focus on common principles for European teachers’ competences and qualifications (European Commission, 2005), as well as on improving teacher training (European Commission, 2007). The 2005 document indicates three broad competence areas for well-qualified, mobile teachers as lifelong learners: (i) working with knowledge, technology and


information; (ii) working with fellow human beings; (iii) working with and in society. This recalls the focus on general, transversal competences such as learning to learn, citizenship and digital competences contained in the European document on the eight key competences for lifelong learning (European Commission, op.cit).

While society claims for the intervention of teachers, at the same time it does not recognize their right to intervene. (Margiotta, 1997; 2005, 2007). In fact, the teaching profession has been defined “paradoxical” (Hargreaves, op.cit) because it is at the center of a triangle of competing interests: to catalyze the opportunities of Knowledge Society; to develop and realize educational expectations,to protect against menaces of exclusion, security an public life. All this, with the better efficacy and minor costs. Teachers suffer the pressures of old fashioned school systems, hierarchies, and public bureaucracy in everyday working activities, whereas they are also requested to work with innovation and flexibility. Teaching could be declared a “paradoxical profession” (Hargreaves, op.cit) and many teachers are in the middle of a deep professional crisis (lack of esteem about their role in society). In fact, the EC 2007 report highlights the lack of consistency and coordination between different aspects of teacher education, low budgets for professional development, and few incentives to promote teacher motivation and retention. There is urgent need to provide legal recognition of professional qualifications to reinforce European teachers’ mobility, as well as quality standards for the attractiveness of European teaching and teacher training systems. In spite of these repeated European recommendations, reform processes at national level, have been slow, contradictory and at varying speeds, since the Open Method of Coordination and the principle of subsidiarity have so far tended to safeguard national agencies over ET policies. Which kind of in-service training experiences could tackle the above mentioned paradoxes? To which extent is it possible to find time and space for reflection on practice and a critical positioning of teachers with regard to the complexities of their everyday professional activities? Being aware that the specific question of teacher education is closely interconnected social, innovation, research and enterprise policies as well as with the strategies on multilingualism promoted by national and supranational bodies (European Commission, op.cit), how to take advantage of policy development priorities where teaching is supposed to play a key role?

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

This complex scenery creates the conditions for a big impact on professional identity: is the teacher a craftman of change, an innovator, a technician, a communicator, a projectist?

There is full agreement at international level that professionalism can be achieved through Higher education degree (the so called universitisation process in teachers’ training – Zgaga, 2006a); but there’s a raising concern about valorization of practices and professional identity of teachers, considering them as reflective practitioners (Darling-Hammond et. al. 2005; Altet, 2009; Caena, Margiotta, 2010) researchers (Whitehead, 1989; Whitehead, McNiff, 2006) and experts whose potential could be developed through active participation to teachers’ communities (Mitchell, Sackney, 2000; Toole, Louis, 2002; Stoll et al., 2006; Midoro,

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2005); as it has been emphasized these activities could lead to professional affiliation, motivation and thus, excellence. The point that every experience of educational innovation needs to afford is, in fact, the organization of an efficient training system that, being embedded on the teachers’ professional life, helps them to reflect on practice and achieve expertise and self-confidence, taking advantage of innovation to become key actors in educational shifting.

Raffaghelli, Minello

2. The specific context of the PERMIT project The PERMIT project (“Promote Education and Reciprocal Understanding through Multicultural Integrated Teaching”) aimed at contributing to fulfil the objective of promoting the Civil Society Dialogue between the European Union and Turkey with specific focus on ensuring a better knowledge and understanding of Turkey within the European Union. As the project assumed from the beginning, quality secondary-level education... is to be considered a key to fostering the development of a vibrant civil society. Secondary education is an extremely effective way to diffuse knowledge about different cultures and the different approaches and mentalities needed to face the challenges of integration between Turkey and EU (Original project, CIRDFA, 2007:9) On the basis of this consideration, the project worked on the idea that teachers could be an important instrument to foster cultural understanding, reciprocal knowledge, active citizenship, awareness of issues concerning gender equality, environment protection and human rights, personal responsibility etc. Also, students who benefited from an increased quality in education could become more active members of the civil society. Research activity undertaken at the first stages of the project, done by intercultural groups of researchers, experienced teachers and NGO exponents from partner countries, explored and compared teaching methods and their underlining values (see “Cultural Values influencing Schooling System Report”, CIRDFA, 2009). These are some of the leading questions: How much do educational approaches influence changes in society and how can they be coherent with existing values and cultures? How could different teaching methods encourage the valorisation of diverse skills and minds in students, thus favouring more inclusion and lower rates of early school leave at secondary school level? From this initial activity, that counted on both desk-research and a questionnaire with the participation of more than 500 teachers and students from Slovenia, Italy and Turkey, it emerged clearly that secondary education institutions in both Turkey and the EU often face serious challenges with few methodological tools and little didactic support available for the teaching personnel. Innovative material and support through a community of practitioners is what teachers often asked for during previous seminars involving teachers from partner countries. At the same time, partner countries offered examples of schools and universities which have developed theories and practices on intercultural education. Some of these schools and universities in fact have at their disposal researchers and experienced teachers whose joint work on innovative programmes and teaching

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methods would produce extraordinary results. However these experiences are often isolated and come from private secondary schools.

...The significant progress in education made by Turkey in recent years, noting that such progress manifested itself with the improving quality of educational opportunities, students winning international awards, and serious support given to education by the private sector. However the proportion of EU citizens between the ages of 20 and 24 with a high school diploma was 80 percent, while the same rate was 55 percent in Ankara, and 35 percent in the province of Kars (a city near the Russian border). It noted that Turkey needs to have a higher proportion of high school graduates in order to compete with Europe and the rest of the world, noting that the EU’s aim was to have 85 percent of its population age 22 and over be high school graduates by 2015.

According to the same report quality of teachers is an issue, with educators facing a serious shortage of educational materials. The same report noted that schools are not made to answer for their students’ underperformance and have no autonomy. Recommendations included improving quality of teaching, giving more focus to the education of teachers at national level. Further important aspects of attention in secondary education were selected by partner universities during the preliminar research phase. These are: • • •

1

hierarchy, which if too strict does not favour participation, inclusion and freedom of expression; assessment based only on certain skills and knowledge, thus having high rates of exclusion; truth and knowledge: in order to develop intercultural and respectful minds a reflection on “how do we know what we know” could be added to existing programs; different approaches to History, with the usage of diverse sources. Moreover,

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

As found in the literature and official documentation, both Turkey and European Union partner countries are facing the challenge of a rapidly changing and increasingly heterogeneous society. For this reason the capacity to have an effective communication, aware of cultural differences, is becoming a key element for the civil society dialogue. Teachers are often expected to adapt their teaching methods and programmes to changing needs; tensions and changes within societies often have an amplified echo in classes to which teachers are not prepared to deal with. Curricula and teaching strategies in partner countries are not keeping pace with the growing need to be fully aware of the distinctive features of ones’ own culture and to have the critical capacity to engage in understanding different cultures and systems of values. It is worth reporting here some of the conclusions of a recent World Bank report on Turkey1 which pointed out that

World Bank Report No. 32450-TU , Turkey - Education Sector Study - Sustainable Pathways to an Effective, Equitable, and Efficient Education System for Preschool through Secondary School Education, 31/12/2005, Washington. The document was presented during a Conference with the same title that took place in Ankara in March 2006.

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information on EU history, functioning and policies can be improved through education.

Raffaghelli, Minello

In Italy and Slovenia there is a clear need for education models able to cope with an ever more multicultural and fast-changing society. Students need intellectual tools enabling them to get to know and read the cultural phenomena surrounding them. In times of dramatic changes, it is understanding, analysis and adaptation skills (critical thinking, autonomy) what really matters, rather than the mere transfer of notions. Curiosity, capacity to engage in dialogue, respectful attitudes have to be enhanced to favour dialogue as opposed to ignorant fear for what is different. On the basis of this first picture, the project would intervene within education spaces, enabling teachers – and consequently pupils – to better understand historical and cultural interactions between Europe and Turkey and cultural values that could be considered as being at the basis of communication. Within this perspective, teachers needed to be supported in a process of development of teaching materials that could allow intercultural dialogue. To this regard, a teacher community set up by the project would work on themes and methodologies, developing learning units on the European Union and on themes such as gender equality, human rights, freedom of expression and ethical behaviour thus favouring a deeper understanding of EU acquis in these subjects among pupils. Moreover, by favouring the diffusion of new educational approaches, the project would tacitly favour students’ empowerment and particiaption as active citizens in an intercultural dialogue among the countries involved. The initial exploration of these themes through research was going to be connected to piloting in class and learning about otherness. In fact, this bottom-up approach was supposed to support participation and empowerment at every activity stage, being teachers and NGO exponents involved in developing innovation and students directly involved in the experimentation of innovation, thus supporting the development of a vibrant and lively civil society. Finally, the project attempted to focus on the valorisation of those human resources (the teaching staff) who are responsible for the education of the youth and therefore influence the future of each territory. This elements were going to delineate an innovative in-service training approach.

3. Steps to the creation of an innovative in-service training approach The preliminary research goals were not only the construction of a logical framework for the project activities – by means of conceptual and theoretical elements – but also the collection of empirical data through fieldwork and dialogue among researchers. This research activity allowed also to think teachers’ training from inside, within a process of construction of learning activities and rethinking the matter, the concepts, the ideas leading to an intercultural experience. According to Margiotta’s assumption, this approach was going to lead to an educational dispositive, i.e. a space for reflection on actions shaping actors’ intentions in order to change the reality we live in [our translation] (Margiotta, 2006).

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The idea of having teachers of different nationalities interacting in order to raise topics and choose teaching methods within the creation and experimentation of learning units was based on the hypothesis that such “learning space” could lead teachers to reflect on their own cultural representations on subjects and teaching methods. This would help them to reshape practice with an impact on their professional identities. In fact, this has been an in-service teachers’ training approach experimented in other international projects by the author. (Raffaghelli, 2008; 2009).

The Activity Theory is a psychological meta-theory, paradigm or framework, with its roots in Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky’s cultural-historical psychology. It was founded by were Alexei N. Leont’ev (1903-1979) and Sergei Rubinshtein (1889-1960) who sought to understand human activities as complex, socially situated phenomena and go beyond psychoanalitic and behaviourist paradigms.. It became one of the major psychological approaches in the former USSR, being widely used in both theoretical and applied psychology, in areas such as education, training, ergonomics and work psychology (Bedny & Meister, 1997). According to the activity theory, tools are produced when individuals engage in and interact with their environment. These tools are “exteriorized” forms of mental processes, and as these mental processes are manifested in tools, they become more readily accessible and communicable to other people, therefore becoming useful for social interaction. (Fjeld et al. 2002). According to E.’s model, the key elements of the AT are: Individuals (the people involved in an activity system) Object (the reason why the whole activity system was created); Tools (that mediates the relation among object of activity and individuals’ psychology, and introduces the cultural variables of previous socio-cultural activity systems); Division of Labour (Roles within the activity system); Rules (Ethical norms and values regulating interactions among individuals, tools and object of activity); Community (the organized human group interacting to achieve a certain result of their activity, which is also identified with the process of creation and at the same times shapes new group and individual identities)

Using the theoretical framework proposed by the Activity Theory, Raffaghelli (2010a) explored the concept of learning within international communities of learning and practice. According to Raffaghelli’s scheme (op. cit.) the PERMIT learning activities could create an “intercultural zone of proximal development”. This could promote expansive learning with regard to cultural identity, taking part in the construction of new “third” cultural spaces which “enlarge” the original cultural context of reference: enlarged cultural contexts to learn (Raffaghelli, op.cit).

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

Finally, the training approach analysis took into account two other important theoretical inputs: the Zone of Proximal Development proposed by Lev Vygotskij (Vygotskij, 1934, in Daniels, Cole, Wertsch, 2007) and the following Activity Theory (Leont’ev, 1978, in Engestrom, 1987), considering particularly the Scandinavian approach to the AT, that studies “Learning by Expanding” (Engestrom, 1987), by reformulating Leont’ev Activity triangles towards a community perspective (Engestrom, op.cit)

Let us consider first the dispositive envisaged within the PERMIT project to later conceptualize it as an Activity system that might produce expansive learning with impact in the reformulation of representations, images, concepts linked to the intercultural competence, towards the generation of new, enlarged, cultural contexts of learning.

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Specifically, the educational dispositive of the Permit project resulted from the conjunction of the following dimensions: • • •

the needs of the teachers involved to undertake significant actions within their specific school contexts (organizational dimensions, institutional history) teachers’ intercultural representations as people and professionals within their schools; intercultural representations within the class, among students and their families

In fact, once the several playing dimensions at stake were disclosed and understood, the research team introduced the teachers with some educational goals important to achieve intercultural dialogue. Then, the teachers analysed these goals and formulated training hypotheses that could lead to the development of the skills needed within the framework of intercultural competence. The coherence between teachers’ learning activities and experimentation in class as part of a process of learning design were originated by the following decisions:

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Coherently with the preliminar research within the training context, that has highlighted the expectations of project beneficiaries of changing hegemonic paradigms within the school, against a social model and an identity model of “national” citizenships. This model conceives the subjectification (according to the concept of Deleuze and Guattari, introduced by Minello2) of the self as opposed to that of culture, linked to the language, the history and traditions. Instead of that, the intercultural paradigm introduced by the PERMIT project was going to propose the “re-subjectification” of the self as a process of selfanalysis to deconstruct and reconstruct conceptions, ideas, beliefs of the personal and group spheres, through the direct confrontation with otherness, in a “zone of proximal development” (adopting the Vygotskian concept), created by the project. Considering this evidence, the Scientific Committee and the research team facilitated teachers’ learning introducing “stimuli” (materials based on research evidence about intercultural communication and pedagogy; instructional design resources; teachers’ portfolio) to generate the “intercultural zone of proximal development”, towards an intercultural training model intrinsic to the learning process enacted within the process of activity aimed to generate new “hybrid” production (the learning units and the experimentation in class). This was called a model of “form-action” (form-azione), shaping actions through training activities (the Latin word “formazione” refers to training, but entails a

Subjectification (French: subjectivation) is a philosophical concept coined by Michel Foucault and elaborated by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. It refers to the construction of the individual. The concept has been often used in critical theory, sometimes along with Louis Althusser’s concept of interpellation. In Gilbert Simondon’s theory of individuation, subjectification precedes the subject in the same way as the process of individuation precedes the creation of the individual. While the classical notion of subject considers it as a term, Foucault considered the process of subjectification to have an ontological pre-eminence on the subject as a term.


Therefore, we attempted to generate an international learning community, collaborating together to build effective metaphors of “new learning places without frontiers”. Such places become meaningful, exposing “teacher students” to a different enlarged cultural environment. However, this also includes students’ original cultural context because they built it. In fact, giving sense to participation would provide opportunities to the action of participation, would generate opportunities to reflect on ethnocentric teaching practices, with impact on motivation teaching methdologies and then, to the perception of their own role as social actors. The educational device of the Training Model could be represented by an Activity Triangle like in Figure 9.1.

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

deep discussion about “shaping” skills and competences, which is different from “education”). This implicit model motivated the choice of Permit team of allowing participations in the process of construction of the same practices without imposing prior instructions. The idea was link activity, problem solving and learning to the process of creation of innovation in class, as part of a teachers’ education process. The establishment of such a framework characterized the several phases of reflection and activity, as “milestones” that allowed teachers’ groups to progress in their activities of creation. The process would allow peer-learning (from open, international communities of practice) and teachers’ self-learning. This method was to be extended to students in class, who who would critically assess the creation/experimentation regarding activities in class. Thus, the “travel” throughout the inconsistencies and problems posed by the relation with otherness, or by crossing the boundaries of the well-known substance of own cultural representations (travelling through the double-bind, in Engenstrom’s words) would enact intercultural reflection and impact on the construction of an intercultural competence. This was in fact the idea of using self-assessment tools at the end of the experimentation stage in the end of the process of experimentation, as proposed by Primorska University.

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Figure 1. Representation of the Training Model as Activty System

The Training Model experimented by the universities involved through several training experiences within international cooperation projects, aims to interweave formal learning (seminars and eLearning) for enhancing expertise with teachers’ practical knowledge (non-formal learning) In synthesis, the distinguishing elements were: • • • • • •

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Initial inputs of research evidence to understand the fundamentals of intercultural dialogue and pedagogical practices; Expert teachers as core of a growing Community3; New incoming teachers sharing good practices across frontiers; Piloting created materials and involving students as participants giving critical feedback in a “joint venture”; Online / FTF training model, based on ILVP model (Four Leaves Taxonomy, Margiotta, 2006); Reseachers accompanying the whole process of creation, helping teachers’ reflection on practices (Teachers’ Thought / Practical Knowledge / Identity Process) —> instruments like the portfolio (Koc, 2004) became crucial;

The concept of “Community” is taken from Engestrom (Community or externalization within a determined social context, i.e. all the actors involved in the activity system, that share an interest for a certain object of activity and agree on the basic rules and division of labour). Nevertheless, the concept of Wenger “Community of Practice” would perfectly apply to the growing group of teachers participating in the activities, sharing expert knowledge. It is worth saying that Wenger’s concept was build in a context of discussion of Activity Theory within the US (precisely, the activities of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition of San Diego between the late 80s and all the 90’s)


• •

Participatory Evaluation process (triangulation); Recognition of the learning process as certification.

• • • •

• •

Understand the emergence of LLL of a multicultural and hyperconnected society and its incorporation into trans-national policies for education and teachers’ professional development Analyze the theoretical and policy formulation implications of interculturalism in various learning contexts Identify the concepts of learning and development that inform current thinking about interculturalism in a range of areas of education and pedagogy Consider questions about interculturalism in relation to the needs of their own societal environment, as country, community, school and class Identify good and best practices in intercultural education both in national/local and international environment, becoming able of communicate or interact to learn about and in time replicate them. Design innovative teaching units where significant and contextualized intercultural issues are tackled: a) from the point of view of the subject taught; b) from the point of view of teaching methods; c) from the point of view of assessment of diverse learning styles; d) from the point of view of school organization and community networking Undertake action research in an area of intercultural education, which will will help to develop teaching practices in their own community, country and trans nationally Undertake professional reflection on intercultural teaching and learning in order to develop new areas of one’s own professional identity Promote peer collaboration across frontiers and within schools, in order to support cooperative development and assessment of intercultural education initiatives within school system and teaching/learning processes

3.1. From the learning design theory to the research and “form-action” model At this point, the assumptions on intercultural training adopted in order to obtain the expected educational impact were integrated by an instructional design model. Such model helped to conceptualise the trainers’ activities as well as the kernel of the educational dispositive throughout the various learning phases The model chosen to address instructional design was the Four Leaves (Quadrifoglio): the ILEP framework (information, laboratory, evaluation, personalization4. The CIRDFA group has been testing this model in several adult

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The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

Competences that the model aimed to promote (Teachers’ Learning Profile) to implement teaching for intercultural dialogue:

This model was developed in Italian in Margiotta’s book Pensare la formazione. Strutture esplicative, trame concettuali, modelli di organizzazione. Yet, it is difficult to translate this concept as “formazione“ cannot be directly translated as training (the activities that promote adult learning in working organizations), education (activities within specific institutions that promote formal learning and also non-formal learning guided by adults to younger people to be socialized), or, in general, “learning” (considering that the word “formazione” encloses a process of guidance, as construction of a space for learning while acting). The book attempts

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training activities (particularly teachers’ training) with successful results on the trainers’ organization of learning environments and activities, and with impact on trainees understandings about learning processes (deuterolearning, Bateson, 1972). Considering these achievements, CIRDFA introduced this model, which was hence adopted by the international research group and by Scientific Committee. The ILEP is an instrumental framework that defines a teaching progressively oriented to promote different steps in the dynamic, cognitive and metacognitive growth of students. The points of reference of this framework are psychological and educational researcher in a constructivist perspective. Moreover ILEP framework aims to discover emotional dimensions of learning and attempts to progressively improve learning environments.

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The ILEP framework contains and formalizes the following hypothetical phases of teaching action: •

INFORMATION: This process communicates the knowledge, focusing on the activation and the organisation on epistemic and experience schemes. In this phase, the teacher stimulates students to acquire new information, new reasoning patterns and promotes the student to the induction of new information and analogical understanding.

LABORATORY: This stands for all the activities through which students learn to prove, falsify, corroborate what they learn. The laboratory is the experimental environment in which students apply what they have learnt to solve problematic situations.

EVALUATION: It includes recursive steps of analysis, interpretation and justification of learning results with a particular focus on their generalization. This step is regarded as a continuous participatory analysis of learning processes carried out by students.

PERSONALIZATION: It is a recursive action that promotes students’ ability to explore and identify rules, experiences and patterns. This is an inventive phase: students learn to master knowledge and experiences in order to acquire and balance attitudes, to understand world-wide differences, to speak multiple languages (as modes of communication) and to become responsible citizens.

ILEP is not a fixed sequence of steps but a recursive reticular process that accompanies learning in different situations. The ILEP framework has been useful to teachers as it allowed them to express the formative potential of educational action. In fact, a learning process was envisaged as result of the implementation of the ILEP framework, considering the levels of interaction with content and with other users in the several phases of activity within the project.

to undertstand educational practices in society and their value in constituting socio-cultural spaces, being the concept of “formazione” (translation of the German concept of “Bildung“ a definition of intelligent and purposeful human learning activities (and at the same time facilitating learning) that shape new socio-cultural spaces.

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Therefore, we hypothesized learning to be enacted as phases of one general process, that reaches it highest point with content construction, i.e. the production of learning units by the teacher. Indeed, in the first stages, learning outcomes are only knowledge about content and metalearning about strategies to direct searching of contents; whereas in the phases that require interaction with peers and the creation of content as part of learners’ activity, learning outcomes could be described rather as competence, which is to say, not only knowing, but mainly knowing to do and knowing to be.

UNDERSTANDING. The user jumps into the learning experience, starting by understand their own learning goals, setting activities for better learning, achieving crucial information about contents, considering and ordering contents as base of a learning path; eventually -according to the level of interaction/deepening on contents, the student will use this phase to get to know the trainer and other peers of learning experience (a potential community)

EXPLORING/DIALOGUING. Users explore contents and reflect on topics. They might take specific angles (low interaction level), discuss, analyze, criticize within a growing learning community (high interaction level) in order to reinforce their learning space. This, in turn, can become a space for dialogue with diversity strengthening their identity throughout time.

GET FEED-BACK/METALEARNING. Users enter this phase when it’s time to evaluate together knowledge, skills and feelings learnt during their learning experience are to be assessed with trainers. At low interaction levels, they will fill in questionnaires and quizzes, whereas at high interaction levels users will reflect through narratives and discussion with peers . Anyway, an attempt will be made to understand own learning strategies, to participate in a general evaluation of the quality of the learning experience in order to work out new activities within a lifelong learning perspective.

ACHIEVE/TRANSFER/CREATE. Users consider which experiences they can generate by using what they learnt from contents and interactions, and see themselves as creators of knowledge within their field of study.

3.2. The process of recognition There are different methodologies for assessing informal learning – i.e. acquisition of not only knowldge on a topic but also skills and competences – and granting transfer credit. However, the summative evalutation approach along with tool triangulation and the use of sources of information about learning outcomes is the most widespread (Margiotta, 2007b). Methods of learning recognition currently used vary from a) gathering evidence through classical tests on professional/social activities b) candidates’ narrative reports about their own skills and competences obtained through formal education as well as on informal/non-formal learning acquired through formal/vocational education; c) Evaluators’ observations about candidates’ training/working activities, both through simulation and through real

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

The learning process can be described as follows:

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everyday working situations. However, combining methods is crucial in order to ensure a complete assessment of performances; documentation of activities and practices are the kernel of recognition, a procedure that might envolve not only trainers’ descriptions and learning outputs through the use of specific tools; but also, the self documentation and narrative about the learning experience, enclosed in learning outcomes -products. (Colardyn & Bjornavold, 2004)

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Let us consider the case of the PERMIT project: the recognition framework to be applied, lies on trainees activities in flexible contexts aimed to create learning units emerging from teachers’ dialogue, exploration of content, and experimentation (resources). In fact, every level of interaction with resources (and with a learning community) was supposed to produce several evidences of learning that were collected in order to recognize learning. All this can be better understood through Table 9. 2. below:

Table 2. Scheme of Recognition of Teachers’ Professional Learning Activities

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3.3. Specific training activities within the “research/form-action” plan The present section aims to depict the teachers’ training within the project an the corresponding activities, goals, main perspectives and actions undertaken; along with the resources used, the related acknowledgement and granting of (formal and non-formal) learning results. Through the analysis of the process development, it was possible the see how the above depicted activity was to shape the project’s outcomes. Training Strategy • • • •

Build a network of secondary school teachers that create and experiment learning units with impact on competences related to intercultural dialogue. Involving Teachers in “making up” innovative educational material and piloting it in class. Promote reflection on teaching strategies and approaches and their effects on students’ development as active citizens. Creating an on-line community for teachers’ mutual exchange and support.

• • •

• • • •

Participation in Residential Seminars seminars on the project’s thematic areas and related teaching strategies for teachers of partner countries . Participation in the on-line platform to support communities of researchers, teachers and students. Development of educational material on the project thematic areas and of concrete examples of teaching strategies that can be applied to reach the expected objectives. Pilot experimentation in secondary schools of the exemplar teaching material produced by teacher trainees together with experienced ones. Review of the material to participate in a publication. Participation in the dissemination through events involving teachers, students and representatives of civil society institutions. Participation in the Final event and launch of further cooperation through joint programmes and ongoing on-line communities. Resources to create innovative teaching materials

As already mentioned, we decided to consolidate self-learning skills for teachers to be able to develop materials autonomuosly. Teachers would become protagonists through: • •

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

Specific training activities

Improving the teaching quality of curricula and own subjects, achieving an interdisciplinary perspective. Becoming aware of specific topics like the history of interactions between Turkey and Europe, freedom of expression, human rights, gender equality, ethical and ecological citizenship, as part of current educational programmes. On the basis of best practices, every teacher should elaborate an a proposal of a learning unit addressing changes in perspectives on intercultural values influencing learning and teaching towards the development of intercultural.

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The units created with the support of the Permit research team were implemented in class by the same teachers who created them. Coaching in residential seminars, as well as tutorship in online learning spaces by researchers and also by expert teachers was implemented as part of a supportive environment where exploration and communication with peers was directed to generate innovation. During the implementation, an important role was played by the online learning environment in which teachers, researchers and students participated as parts of a) training management – researchers’ activities – b) creation of materials -teachers’ training- c) piloting in class – students’ activities –, building new cultural spaces (as Raffaghelli further explains in another chapter in this book). Coherently with this constructivist approach, where teachers’ activity was central, assessment was formative. To this purpose a specific tool encouraging reflection and self-assessment was used. The tool was the Portfolio, elaborated by the research group of Primorska (Slovenia). Connected to this last work, it was studied an assessment-grid to assess the impact on the development of an intercultural competence (that encompassed intercultural sensitivity and the change on cultural representations). This grid was used for teachers and students at the beginning and at the end of the training (teachers) and experimentation of learning units (students). Later on, these results were traingulated with a) an “after training questionnaire” implemented at the end of the training activities developed by the CIRDFA group; b) focus group with students about the activitiers undertaken in class; c) other activities and documents developed within the portfolio. On the basis of these activities and their results a “teachers’ dossier” was elaborated in order to accomplish the procedures of validation and transfer credit procedures. Nevertheless, given the legislation in Turkey, certificates had to be distributed separately, since the Turkish university could not issue certifications for ECTS.

The residential Seminars: landmarks of a process The First Residential Seminar (12-15 February), held in Istanbul (Turkey), focused on themes that would help spread ideas about the learning units to be designed later on. Some of the topics introduced and discussed were: a) b) c) d)

Intercultural Communication in Teaching Methods Teachers’ Portfolio: promoting teachers’ professional intercultural identity Teachers’ reflection on cultural values affecting their own practices Teachers’ innovative units planning: introducing an intercultural approach/per spective into teaching practices

The training approach was based on teachers’ cooperative work, presentations, and reflection on practices. Key speakers, hosted by participant University, were also included in this phase. All the material produced was uploaded on the eLearning platform in order to promote visibility and a working process that does not end with the Seminar. The Second Residential Seminar (9-12 April) held in Koper (Slovenia) focused on designing the development and quality of learning units. This seminar was completely dedicated to reflect on on the pilot process of teaching units. All

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The Third Residential Seminar (4-7 June) held at Treviso (Italy) , focused on the reflection and evaluation of piloted teaching units, and to the accomplishment of the same for an online publication. During this Seminar teachers showed learning outcomes in class through “My best Lesson” , in which they considered a difficult moment of learning intercultural dimensions during the learning unit implemented. This last seminar was also an important milestone with regard to the “reification” of achievements in order to proceed to a publication of teachers’ works. In the months after this seminar, teachers worked on drafting an article and on their learning units. The former was to be published and distributed in the Dissemination Event, whereas the second element was placed into an online database, so that it could be available to other teachers and researchers interested. The final presentation and Dissemination Event took place in Istanbul, on 21-23 Octoberof the same year, while the project was scheduled to end by December. feedback, which was important both for self-assessment purposes and for general training evaluation. This evaluation method allowed to progressively improve both FTF and online training activities. As we will see next, the residential seminars opened new activity phases in the attempt to solve the contradictions and break the deadlocks of the creative process. Online spaces and the networked learning process: supporting the learning design process In table 3 you can find the plan for networked learning activities within online spaces. The Italian and the Turkish groups followed this plan, whereas the Slovenian group worked more intensely in FTF activities in the local contexts. At the end of every unit, transversal, international activities where proposed to socialize reflections at international level.

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

materials designed were analysed and shared among colleagues from several schools. New keynote speakers entered the Seminars to show research and best practices in order to reflect on the connection between teachers’ practices and outside world in integrating intercultural education. At this point, the online platform was opened to make students enjoy an opportunity of exchange with students from the whole PERMIT network. Teachers were supported during this seminar and the implementation of htis activity by CIRDFA.

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A

Schedule st

1 Week (February – After the 1st Residential Seminar)

2nd Week (March)

3rd Week (March)

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4th Week (March)

5th Week March

6th Week April

7th

Week April (after 2nd Residential Seminar)

8th Week April

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Learning goals

Resources/Activities

Information Intercultural education in the complex society: pedagogical assumptions, teaching methods and the management of difference at school. Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Read and re-elaborate an exemplar Learning Unit for brainstorming on personal creation processes

Information 01_From didactics to socio-didactics

Information Implementing Intercultural Learning Design Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Read and re-elaborate on an an exemplar Learning Unit for brainstorming on personal creation processes

Information 02_Intercultural Learning Design Laboratory Discussion Forum on Examples of Intercultural Learning Units

Information The teacher reflective professional Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Teachers' reflective identity as learner and traveller (as foreigner) in order to think how to manage of diversity in class.

Information 03_Intercultural competence within teachers' professional identity Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Discussion forum about the own personal story as learner and foreigner

Information Multi-identities, communication and the construction of socio-cultural spaces Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Understand how communication operates within teaching and learning.Explore and implement teaching methods to achieve effective communication in one's subject.

Information 04_Communication as instrument of construction of socio-cultural spaces Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Starting the Design of the learning unit. Exchanging opinions on critical aspects regarding planning and asking for support in the organization of materials.

Information Reflecting on the intercultural impact of social representations and the construction of the self. Questions on Cultural Identity in class. Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization The planning process goes on. How to construct positive representations of otherness within one's taught subject.

Information 05_Social representations and intercultural awareness, expression and dialogue Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization The Learning Design process goes on.

Information Reflecting on the potential of “diverse minds” acting together Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization The planning process goes on. How to construct positive representations of otherness within one's taught subject. How to bring different intelligences into play in educational projects.

Information 06_Diversity as resource: the theory of several intellegences (Gardner, 1993 ) Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization The Learning Design process comes to an end.

Information Evaluation, Assessment and self-assessment of intercultural competences: teachers and students as active participants. Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Analysis of self-assessment grids. Study of evaluation tools in class according to the units created.

Information Self-Assessment Grids elaborated by Primorska University Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Introducing the grid of Self-Assessment as part of the Learning Unit

Information Learning in Enlarged Cultural Contexts: the virtual learning environment as space of meaning making Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Understanding and using technological tools to construct the virtual learning environment, considering the plan established within the Learning Unit

Information Presentation and tutorials (Virtual Learning Environment and Web 2.0 towards intercultural communication) Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Planning interactions among students with the use of the Virtual Learning Environment. Activities across frontiers among Turkey, Slovenia and Italy with the use of VLE.

on the own work in class.

Laboratory Examples of Intercultural Learning Units


From 9th to 13th Week April/June

From 15th to 22th Week June/July (After the Third Residential Seminar)

Information Launching class experimentation. Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Implementing the experimental units in class. Reporting to colleagues on the own work in class. Establishing common moments of reflection with the students on activities and achievements : exploring the dimensions of intercultural competence on the subject taught Information Sistematizing the experience undertaken in class Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Solving/Deepening issues on academic writing to produce an article tha narrates the process of creation and impact of the PERMIT experience Achieving the basics of metadata and generation of open educational resources in order to share the materials created.

Information Information available on demand Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Coaching for activities to be implemented in class: selection and analysis of critical incidents; understanding the dimensions interplaying in the “Best lesson”. Information Tutorial: uploading the Learning Unit to the Virtual Learning Space Guidelines: Teachers' Article Laboratory-Evaluation-Personalization Coaching for the sistematization of activities in class. Academic writing guidelines to produce the article, structure the Learning Unit using basic shared dimensions to allow sharing it as an open educational resource

Table 3 – Networked Learning Process within the PERMIT of training teachers'approach training that led to

the PERMIT learning units, being the latter activity part of teachers' learning

As we can see, there were three important phases of the process of teachers’ training that led to the implementation of the PERMIT learning units, being the latter activity part of teachers’ learning through their reflection on action. If the first weeks of work attempted to guide teachers to dig into the problem of intercultural dialogue in the contemporary educational scenery, the second and mainly third phase were characterized by a focus on coaching and support to the process of creation. With regard to the experimentation, coaching was aimed to a) in dealing with the new point of view on the subject they teach; b) help teachers to analyse methods enacting processesstimulate of intercultural learning; c) offer feed-back on the “experimenter teachers” to critically think about professional performance and skills with an impact on teachers’ professional t identities. With regard to the assessment and evaluation of experimentation in class, coaching was aimed to a) obtain commitment of teacher-experimenter in determining the progress of learning, considering the intercultural competence framework given. Moreover, it was important to understand to which extent own professional interventions corresponded to the goals envisaged by the original project proposal; b) stimulate the “experimenter teachers” to critically think about their own performance; c) ask teachers to provide information on diversity in their classes, to monitor the progress of activities and implement tools for the final evaluation.

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

t t

The implementation of the PERMIT learning unit: coaching and strategies in class defined through collaborative activities among teachers The activities of the Learning Units Development immediately started in Istanbul, although teachers were asked to progressively elaborate their concrete

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plans and materials. The main elements of this creation and implementation process grew with time: from simple group discussion activities we passed to online forums, final coaching on how to use research inputs, use other teachers’ ideas and finally share own tested materials.Those elements, in synthesis, were:

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Subject-based “Innovation groups” initially set up during international residential workshops and then continued their work locally. Contacts with groups in partner countries were kept by the teachers’ community through a virtual learning space (VLS: Moodle). Teachers were guided by experienced teachers and researchers involved in the project. On the basis of the analysis carried out, some themes were selected as focus to intercultural units. All the materials produced were through VLS, inducing teachers to think their materialsas meeting certain “quality” standards and features to be shared. All the materials produced were shared with the international community of teachers involved in the seminars. Common criteria for Units Development were shared with other similar experiences of educational cooperation for teachers’ training (from PACE Experience5). The suggested criteria for the planning of learning units were the following: • • • •

Promotion of knowledge on the history of relations between Turkey and Europe. Promotion of knowledge and understanding of other cultural values. Introduction within existing curricula to discussions, readings, activities on human rights, gender equality, ethical behaviour and environmental protection. Introduction within existing curricula to reflection about ways of learning, different sources of knowledge and epistemology.

Furthermore, PACE class-oriented strategies were discussed and adapted to the PERMIT experience. In fact, in the PACE project, the focus of actions should connect teaching methods to the whole educational dispositive. Therefore, teachers worked on adopting shared strategies as part of their local activities as follows: • • • • • •

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Empirical learning: practical experiences together with theory. Opportunities for learning inside and outside the classroom. Subject material with “real life applications” and connections to the world outside the classroom. Diversity of teaching methods, resources and aids. A participatory approach to class, with students taking responsibility for contributing. Students challenged to develop their intercultural self, with well-founded ideas to be expressed in their work.

The PACE projetc “Projec Agency Cooperation Education” , INTERREG-III-2006-08. For more information please visit the site www.educooperation.eu


• •

Collaborative work amongst students and between students and teacher. Enhancement of different mindsets and diverse skills. Getting students involved

This phase can be concluded with the presentation of students’ learning products, collected all along the experimentation process. As already said, the online space was envisaged not only as a support, but it was also considered a “new” space where meaning making could take place (enacting the creation of “third cultural spaces”). With regard to the online experimentation, the coaching was implemented by the teacher according to the following strategies: • Addressing the design of activities that could lead to intercultural dialogue through understanding of otherness and also through the expression of the own cultural characteristics. • Establishing communication “windows” (asynchronous and synchronous) among students from different countries, beyond local curricula and subjectspecific activities and contents. • Supporting students in a critical use of technologies in order to communicate and learn about otherness in virtual learning spaces: understanding the dimensions of enlarged cultural learning contexts. Activities that all teachers decided to implement as transversal dimensions of learning units, by using virtual learning environments were: a) Geolocalization: Building a map of cultural identities through the use of “placemarks” on “googlemaps”, embedding students’ presentations and activities so that they can be seen by other students; b) Opening three specific forum on interdisciplinary themes (sustainable development for sciences students; visible and invisible cities for the humanities group; a travel through culture and languages for the group of literature and languages); c) Presentation of videos and learning results within the virtual learning environment.

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

Teachers teachers were supposed to implement their learning units through a similar process of coaching their own students to participate in the virtual learning environment and meet peers from the partner countries. Teachers’ activities lead students to travel in the zone of proximal development, towards otherness. As teachers become ever more familiar with such otherness, they can introduce it to and discuss it with students in class. In this sense, teachers use a fading technique, i.e. they appear and disappear so that students can progressively become autonomous in dealing with otherness. In this way students become more responsible and, through a number of tasks, they become aware of the others’ presence. The teacher also enacts small actions of individual support to guide students to deconstruct and reconstruct representations of otherness. Furthermore, discussions and joint work in class lead students’ discourses from “far” to “close” otherness, which is to say, diversity in the same classes and communities within the territory and the school.

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Other interesting activities were discussed, but the lack of time did not allow teachers to implement them. One of them these was the videorecording of speeches/conversations in English to be uploaded on Youtube and further visualized and commented by students from other countries. This project could not be accomplished (even when the first phase was completed). Teachers’ satisfaction with the training experience

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Training activities where closed with “customer care” questionnaires, evaluating teachers’ satisfaction with every phase of their learning experience. Nevertheless, other learning dimensions (and hence the impact of the whole experience) were also explored. In fact, three After-training Questionnaires were implemented by the end of every training phase (including both residential and online activities). Every questionnaire evaluated the impact of the training programme right after its were implemented by to thethe endprogramme. of every training delivery; impact was weighed by assessing participants’ reactions p The questionnaire aimed to understand to which extent the training process provided crucial contents about the kernel of PERMIT, Multicultural Integrated Teaching to promote intercultural dialogue. The questionnaire gathered the following information: Perceived learning achievements Transferring Learning: Training Activities Efficacy, Motivation to transfer Perceived qualityLearning: of seminars T General Considerations on the PERMIT teachers’ training programme

• • • •

c

In general, results were very satisfactory, but it’s still worth to consider some specific situations that delineates areas where improvement of the educational dispositive is required. A syntesis syntesis ofofresults (24(24 respondents) showsshows the following: A results respondents) the following:

a) Learning a.1. Have you acquired new knowledge important to improving your strategies of Multicultural Integrated Teaching? Not at all

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Yes, definitely

0

0

0

1

0

4

14

4

1

0,00%

0,00%

0,00%

4,17%

0,00%

16,67%

58,33%

16,67%

4,17%

Teachers' responses: N24 (100%)

0 0,00%

Table 4 – Teachers’ achievements to implement PERMIT strategies in class

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The high percentage of responses ranging from 7 to 10 (95,83%) allows to assume that teachers’ perceptions about their own learning were significant, and that this helped them to build a new representation of teaching towards intercultural strategies (denominated, within the project called “Multicultural Integrated Teaching”)

Table 5 – Defining Intercultural Issues

With regard to item a.2, the data showed always a central tendency. Here, it is important to point out that the various working groups (sciences, humanities and literature and languages) experienced very different working and learning situations. In fact, Humanities group was very heterogeneus (two History teachers, one Religion teacher, one Phylosophy, one History of arts, one Graphic design and one Economy teacher), and the decision making process towards a common framework, mainly devoted to allow contacts among students, was difficult and full of uncertainties. This group might have responded in a very different way than for example, the Languages group, which worked through a smooth process of agreement and sharing of resources (English teachers).

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

a.2. Which new knowledge and skills did you acquire?

Another important factor in this specific area (definitions of Intercultural Issues) was the nature of information and activities, mostly theorical, with some research presentations rather technical and specific. The data hence shows a central tendency with a bigger group suggesting that the new knowledge and skills acquired with regard to intercultural issues were partly achieved.

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Item c) “Better understanding of how beliefs and values can be culturally induced” was in fact based on presentations by keynote speakers and on some texts discussed through online modules. The perception of a partial acquisition of knowledge/skills in this topic can be basically linked to the fact that some teachers (pedagogy, sociology, anthropology) . However, this might be considered in future interventions, providing teachers with more concrete examples so that they can better understand concepts.

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On the contrary, item f) Improving my ability to decentre and view my own attitudes in terms of cultural relativity, suspending beliefs to promote smooth intercultural communication shows how teachers’ discussions on the topics introduced by researchers and keynote speakers were satisfactorily worked out, improving teachers’ positive representations of changing their own cultural representation. This result is very likely to be deeply connected to peers’ direct contact with different cultural backgrounds (different countries and communities).

Table 6 – Intercultural Issues in Education

The data showed in this table emphasizes the dimension of intercultural issues within education. The conclusions drawn for the previous, more general dimension (table 5 ) are also valid for this dimension: data are concentrated between the “more or less” and “quite” fields. However, there is a slight preference for a positive view on learning . Teachers affirm, more than everything, they got a “better knowledge and understanding of other teaching practices”, which is surely the result of internatinoal working groups. Although 46% of teachers answered that they “quite” agree with the impact of training on “deepen on values that influence teaching practice in other cultural realities” it is interesting to see that grouping answers “quite” and “completely” regarding the item c) “deepen on other teaching practices that introduce intercultural issues in education process; that 67% of teachers

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thought that they acquired knowledge and skills connected to that issue. The same applies to the item d) where we reach a 75% of teachers considering that achieved “better understanding of intercultural teaching strategies”. The best results in this dimension are probably related to the nature of the knowledge introduced by this dimension, which is tightly connected to the teachers’ expert knowledge and technical skills. b) Transferring Learning

b.1. Efficacy of Training Activities: Do you think that the activities carried out within the PERMIT Training Programme help you and other teachers to implement Do you you think think that that the the activities activities carried carried out out within within the the PERMIT PERMIT Training Training Do intercultural teaching? P P

Efficacy of Training Training activities (I): usefulness Efficacy of activities usefulness Table 7– Efficacy of Training activities (I):(I): usefulness Not at all

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Yes, definitely

0

0

0

0

1

4

10

6

1

0,00%

0,00%

0,00%

0,00%

4,17%

16,67%

41,67%

25,00%

4,17%

0 0,00%

After the the PERMIT PERMIT Training Programme,Training are you you motivated motivated to continue continueare b.2. Motivation to Apply Learning: After the PERMIT Programme, After Training Programme, are to do so so ?? do motivated to continue experimenting intercultural teaching and to further support other teachers do so ? ee you

Efficacy of Training Training activities (II): motivationtoto totransfer transfer Table 8– Efficacy of Training activities (II): motivation Efficacy of activities (II): motivation transfer Not at all

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Yes, definitely

0

0

0

0

0

3

5

9

5

0,00%

0,00%

0,00%

12,50%

20,.83%

37,50%

Teachers' responses: N22 (91,67%)

0 0,00%

0,00%

0,00%

20,83%

Item b.1. shows teachers’ perceptions on the usefulness of training activities and resources in supporting their activities in class with regard to the topics treated within the project. The data clearly point out the good level of attainment in this field:I teachers foundthe activities andtoresources in helping them a motivation transfer, ,, effective i.e. teachers' teachers' willingness not imagining only to to acquire acquire I the motivation to transfer, i.e. willingness not only new scenery of practice. k

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

Teachers' responses: N22 (91,67%)

k

This emerged emerged mainly from from the Item b.2. shows the motivation to transfer, , i.e. teachers’This willingness mainly not only tothe pp

acquire knowledge and participate in an interesting activity, but also to put real class activities into practice. This is probably connected to teachers’ representations of the changing scenery and the problem of managing diversity in class in order to keep being quality teachers. This emerged mainly from the preliminary research, and it is confirmed at the teachers’ representations level; nevertheless, motivation is

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one of the dimensions that the project did not influence directly. In fact, teachers participating to this kind of international projects are well motivated to learn to become better professionals in their own field; they are eager to keep in contact with an international community of teachers as experts and best performers on their field. Therefore, there’s self selection of better teachers. The project’s approach to training could maintain this interest and stimulate it, as can be inferred from the data.

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c) The perceived quality of residential seminars

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This part of the questionnaire simply highlights the satisfaction of teachers with regard to the organization and coherence of the educational dispositive. It is worth noting that teachers considered trainers almost “completely” available (79%), showing the importance given to the activity of “coaching” as part of the exploration of the “intercultural zone of proximal development”. Assessment criteria were well understood and seen coherently with the general dispositive. This important because it demonstrates that the community achieved the rules to enact processes within the Activity System. The lower percentages obtained with regard to the organizational dimensions could be connected with the different working styles of every university (organisation was mostly appreciated at the Slovenian Residential Seminar, while trainers’ availability and resources got higher scores among Italians and Turks), with diversity in culture, subjects and experiences of the teachers’ working groups. Languages were another critical point, since some teachers were not fluent in English (without distinctions of country, there were Italian, Slovenian and also Turkish teachers fluent in foreign languages other than English, namely, Italian and French). All these elements ccaused wastes of time, misunderstandings and somehow conflictual decision-making processes. Anyway, considering our theoretical model of the Activity Theory, these difficulties were part of a “multivoiced” system of activity, and the necessity of solving contradictions to “travel through the zone of proximal development” as part of an expansive learning process.


The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

Table 9 – Quality of Seminars

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Table 10 – General Impact of Permit the Teachers’ Training Programme

Table 10 shows how the teachers’ perceived the general impact of the training programme. These results mainly provide an idea of which tools for learning and acquiring the necessary instruments to become skilled professional are most appreciated by teachers. It’s worth taking into account these data as part of a new training approach. It is interesting to see how the international community of teachers discussing and creating learning units was entirely appreciated by respondents (100% of them); followed by online activities, which integrated the first dimension. In the teachers’ opinion, the virtual learning environment was important although they thought it was difficult to manage (as demonstrated by their comments) because it required preliminary digital competences. Hence, some teachers found this channel of communication not immediately accessible. The use of more personalized tools and teachers’ reflections were the least appreciated tools in the training approach. the portfolio is time-consuming and teachers found it difficult to make direct connections between some reflection activities and the process of development of the learning unit (the result of activities). Nevertheless teachers referred frequently in their activities in seminars and online discussions to their annotations within their diaries and portfolios. Probably, the very complex nature of the instrument provided by the Slovenian research


group was not properly implemented by other researchers and trainers, and teachers hence could not efficiently connect efficiently their achievements with the other “social” learning activities. Apart from this, the PERMIT project was implemented within an academic year, which perhaps was not enough to understand the various tools and their mutual connections, as well as those with practice in depth.

4. Conclusions: Achievements of the experimental in-service teachers’ training approach within and beyond the PERMIT project

The PERMIT case would also make a specific contribution regarding the problem of intercultural education, considering an educational dispositive educators training who have to deal with diversity in their respective contexts of practice. The conceptualisation effort made to design the dimensions and activities of the training approach, helped the PERMIT research/training team to understand some crucial dimensions of teachers’ education in the project development. Therefore, this pilot experience is still open as it will need further adjustments for a new in-service teachers’ education model. We have envisioned this pilot as a first step of for future teachers’ professional development strategies based on internationalisation and mobility, the use of technologies, multilingualism, and interdisciplinarity. An effective metaphor to define this new approach is that of the “teacher as traveller”, who crosses the boundaries of his/her practice, not only in terms of geographical mobility, but also in terms of discipline, culture, and teaching methods, making the unexpected enter to his/her own activity. IIn this sense, teachers can be said to teach in the “enlarged cultural context of learning”. But, to reach this professional profile, as we showed through this case study, the teacher needs to be exposed to cultural diversity, deconstructing their own representations of cultural values influencing teaching and learning. The training model envisaging innovation coaches of teachers started out action-research process in class. This perspective was enriched by the engagement within an international community of teachers, who were put together to work, solve problems and innovate. This perspective tried not only provide the teachers involved with new competences, but also, in a spiral of learning by expansion through activity, to embed students’ cultural representations into the activity system, interacting with their teachers’ representations. Therefore, methodological transposition from expert knowledge to teachers’ practical and constructed new knowledge ended in a final transposition to pedagogical practices in an intercultural perspective. Teachers’ identity constellations interplayed within training activities (creation of learning units in international groups) were supposed to be the key element for the deconstruction and reconstruction of

The PERMIT Teachers’ training approach

The aim of this article was to discuss the PERMIT training approach as a case study on teachers’ professional development. The analysis various development stages conducted both as trainers and researchers, brought to delve deeper into a specific context of practice. Quantitative and qualitative data were blended in order to bring new light to the focus of the case, namely, in service teachers’ training.

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cultural perspectives in class. This last statement will be corroborated in further works within this book, showing the efficacy of the whole educational dispositive, that we could represent through the following scheme:

Figure 11 – The PERMIT educational dispositive according to the Activity Theory (3rd Generation)

Final Reflections A definition of Third-generation Activity Theory (Scandinavian Activity Theory) helps us to understand how expansive learning aims to cross the borders of current activity systems through the deconstruction of the own cultural and historical representations: An activity system is by definition a multi-voiced formation. An expansive cycle is a re-orchestration of those voices, of the different viewpoints and approaches of the various participants. Historicity in this perspective means identifying the past cycles of the activity system. The re-orchestration of the multiple voices is dramatically facilitated when the different voices are seen against their historical background, as layers in a pool of complementary competencies within the activity system.” (Engeström, 1991a, p. 14-15)

This conception, based on an extensive groundwork, laid the foundations for a revolution of educational research and pedagogical paradigms; in our specific case, we consider it has pointed to the need of developing conceptual instruments to support the rethinking of pedagogical practices in enlarged learning contexts. From the foundations provided by Vygotskij, Cultural-Historical constructivism

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References Altet, M. (2009). Recherche/formation des enseignants. Quelles articulations? Arcuri L., Flores D’Arcais G.B. (1974). La misura degli atteggiamenti. Firenze: Giunti. Bailey K.D. (1995). Metodi della ricerca sociale. Bologna: Il Mulino. Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballantine Books. Bolasco S. (2002). Analisi multidimensionale dei dati. Metodi strategie e criteri di interpretazione. Roma: Carocci. Bourdieu, P., Passeron, J.C., (1970). La reproduction. Eléments pour une théorie du système d’enseignement. Paris: Minuit – Opera consultata in italiano, La riproduzione, 2006, Guaraldi, Rimini. Bruner, J. (1985). Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, Harvard University Press. Caena, F., Margiotta, U. (2010). European Teacher Education: a fractal perspective tackling complexity. Carneiro, R. (2007). The Big Picture, Understanding Learning and Metalearning changes. European Journal of Education, 42, 2. CIRDFA (2008). Promote Education and Reciprocal Understanding through Multicultural Integrated Teaching. Original Project, Archives of the Interuniversity Center for Educational Research and Advanced Training, University Ca’ Foscari of Venice. CIRDFA (2009). Cultural Values Influencing Teaching and Learning. PERMIT Research report,

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was initially applied to the individual development of higher psychological functions. Luria and Leont’ev’s cross-cultural research following Vigotskij’s early works, put the bases of Activity Theory (Engestrom, op.cit; Daniels et al, op.cit) but remained isolated, until Western psychologists as Bruner (1985) and Cole (1988) extensively commented on these concepts. Nevertheless, Y. Engestrom, a Scandinavian educational researcher, enormously helped this dialogue between Russian and Western research, creating what he called the “third generation” of Activity Theory. Even when the efforts of Bruner, and mainly Cole, were aimed to criticize the assumptions of “universalism” of human psychology and learning processes; and that Engestrom emphasized the importance of “multiple voices” within Activity Systems, as far as the recognition of memory and history as elements that create contradictions, this theory was never applied to the theoretical discussions about intercultural education. The attempt here is to laid the foundations for a new discussion on “intercultural” pedagogy, considering CulturalHistorical constructivism and Activity Theory as a powerful theoretical approach to discuss the generation of new learning “third cultures” where diversity is discovered, explored and negotiated. These third spaces of culture are contexts of learning where diversity is present, where borders need continuously to be renegotiated through meaning making processes. This way, we anticipate a dialogic perspective, which emphasizes the tension among cultural differences whenever new meaning is created to solve the contradictions brought about by diversity. The only way to understand this new perspective on pedagogical practices and in general on education is, in our view, to experience it. Further initial and inservice teachers’ training dispositive should be designed following this conception, through practical experience of otherness that helps the teacher to reshape the own conceptions about cultural values influencing teaching and learning; taking hence to an authentic implementation of intercultural strategies within the own pedagogical practices.

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Archives of the Interuniversity Center for Educational Research and Advanced Training, University Ca’ Foscari of Venice. Colardyn, D., Bjornavold, J. (2004). Validation of Formal, Non Formal, and Informal Learning: Policy and Practices in EU Member States. European Journal of Education, 39, 1, 80-83. Cole, M. (1988). Cross-cultural research in the sociohistorical tradition. Human Development, 31, 137-151. Daniels, H. Cole, M., Wertsch, J. (2007). The Cambridge companion to Vygotskij. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Darling-Hammond, L., D.J. Holtzman, S.J. Gatlin, J.V. Heilig (2005). Does Teacher Preparation Matter? Evidence about Teacher Certification, Teach for America, and Teacher Effectiveness. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13 (42). Deleuze, G., Guattari, F. (1972). Capitalisme et schizophrénie. L’anti-Œdipe. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding. An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit. Engeström, Y. (1991a). Activity theory and individual and social transformation. Multidisciplinary Newsletter for Activity Theory, 7/8, 14-15. Engeström, Y. (1991b). Developmental work research: A paradigm in practice. The Quarterly Newsletter of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, 13, 79-80. European Commission (2005). Common European Principles for Teacher Competences and Qualifications. European Commission (2006). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 18 December 2006, on key competences for lifelong learning [Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006]http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/education_training_youth/lifelong_learning/c11090_en.htm, accesed September, 2010. European Commission (2007). Migliorare la qualità nella formazione degli insegnanti {SEC(2007) 931 SEC(2007)933} http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2007:0392:FIN:IT:PDF, accesed September, 2010. European Commission (2007). Towards more knowledge-based policy and practice in education and training. European Commission (2010). Europe 2020: A European Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. http://europa.eu/press_room/pdf/complet_en_barroso___007__europe_2020_-_en_version.pdf, accesed October, 2010. Freire, P. (1970), Pedagogía del Oprimido. Siglo XXI: Buenos Aires. Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple Intelligences: The Theory In Practice. New York: Basic Books. Ghiaroni R. (1998). La formazione del tutor dei processi di innovazione. In MPI-Direzione Generale Istr. Classica, Nonsolostoria. Un modello di formazione per i tutor, Roma. Guspini M. (2001). Processi di innovazione nei sistemi formativi di terzo livello. In G. Alessandrini. Risorse umane e new economy. Formazione e apprendimento nella società della conoscenza (pp. 110-113). Roma: Carocci. Hargreaves, A. (2003). Teaching in the Knowledge Era. New York: Teachers’ College Press. ISFOL (2003). L’orientamento in Europa. Milano: Franco Angeli. ISFOL (2003). Repertorio bibliografico nazionale sull’orientamento. Milano: Franco Angeli. ISFOL (2004). Apprendimento di competenze strategiche, l’innovazione dei processi formativi nella società della conoscenza. Milano: Franco Angeli. Kelly D. (2003). Developing the Pirls Background Questionnaires. In M. Martin, I. Mullis, A. Kennedy (Eds). PIRLS 2001 Technical Report. Margiotta, U. (1997a). Pensare la Formazione. Roma: Armando. Margiotta, U. (1997b). Pensare in Rete. La formazione del Multialfabeta. Bologna: CLUEB. Margiotta, U. (1999). Riforma del Curricolo e Formazione dei Talenti. Roma: Armando. Margiotta, U. (a cura di) (1999). L’insegnante di qualità. Valutazione e Performance. Roma: Armando. Margiotta, U. (a cura di) (2006). Professione docente. Come costruire competenze professionali attraverso l’analisi sulle pratiche. Formazione&Insegnamento, 1-2. Margiotta, U. (2007). Competenze e legittimazione nei processi formativi. Lecce: Pensa Multimedia.


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Margiotta, U., Balboni, P. (2005) (a cura di). Progettare l’Universitá Virtuale: Comunicazione, Tecnologia, Progettazione, Modelli, Esperienze. Torino: UTET. Marzano M. (2006). Etnografia e ricerca sociale. Roma-Bari: Laterza. OECD (2009). Education at a Glance, 2009. http://www.oecd.org/document/24/0,3343,en_2649_39263238_43586328_1_1_1_37455,00.html, accesed September, 2010. OECD (2010). Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments: First results from TALIS. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/17/51/43023606.pdf. OECD (2005). Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers – Final Report: Teachers Matter. Plessi P. (2004). Teorie della valutazione e modelli operativi. Brescia: La Scuola. Raffaghelli, J. (2008). The Teachers’ Space - Building a place without frontiers on the Net Poster Presentation – European Distance E-Learning Network – Research Workshops – Promoting Access and Social Inclusion through E-learning, UNESCO, Paris, 20-22 October 2008. Raffaghelli, J. (2009). Insegnare in Contesti Culturali Allargati: Rappresentazioni Sociali, Discorso pedagogico e identità professionale degli insegnanti per il ripensamento dell’educazione interculturale. Formazione&Insegnamento, 2-3. Raffaghelli, J. (2010a). Apprendere in Contesti Culturali Allargati: Processi di Internazionalizzazione e formazione dell’Identità Professionale. PhD Thesis. University of Venice, Open Archives: http://hdl.handle.net/10579/1014. Scandella O. (2000). Tutorship e apprendimento. Nuove competenze dei docenti nella scuola che cambia. Firenze: La Nuova Italia. UNESCO (2006). Unesco Teachers’ Training Report - www.unesco.org. Whitehead, J., McNiff, J (2006). Action Research: Linving Theory. Londra: Sage. Whitehead, J. (1989). Creating a living educational theory from questions of the kind ‘How do I improve my practice? Cambridge Journal of Education, 19 (1), 41-52. Xavier, R. (2001). One good example is the pedagogy of integration. Une pédagogie de l’intégration. Compétences et integration des acquis dans l’enseignement. Bruselles: de Boeck. Zgaga, P. (Ed.) (2006a). Modernization of Study Programmes in Teachers’ Education in an International Context.

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Juliana E. Raffaghelli

Intercultural learning on the Web Steps to the “cultures in-between”1

Questo articolo presenta un processo di creazione di una comunità di apprendimento informale attraverso un progetto di cooperazione internazionale fra Turchia, Slovenia e Italia, cui scopo principale è stato il promuovere la professionalità di un gruppo di insegnanti coinvolti in un processo di collaborazione internazionale con impatto sul dialogo interculturale. Vengono quindi descritte la creazione, strategie e uso dello spazio virtuale di apprendimento e collaborazione (VWLS) per supportare il suddetto processo. Inoltre, in questo articolo si tenta di mostrare come l’ambiente virtuale di apprendimento può dare supporto al dialogo interculturale, dalla motivazione a partecipare e condividere la propria identità culturale, al processo di collaborazione ed apprendimento congiunto. Inoltre, si tenta di mostrare come il VWLS diventa significativo, in quanto espone gli insegnanti e studenti a un contesto culturale allargato, diverso, ma anche comprensivo del proprio e originale contesto culturale, poiché creato semanticamente dagli utenti. Questo processo di costruzione di senso potrebbe avere impatto su una nuova dimensione dell’apprendimento interculturale in un nuovo spazio “senza frontiere”, rappresentato dalla “realtà” virtuale. Le domande poste inizialmente in questo processo di ricerca esplorativa, di natura qualitativa, sono state: possono gli spazi nel Web diventare un luogo per promuovere

1

In this title I’m paraphrasing Homi Bhabba’s work “Culture’s In-Between” in the sense of a meaning making space where culture is continuously recreated as engines of social and historical transformation.

anno VIII – numero 3 – 2010

abstract

This article presents a process of creation of a professional learning-community within a project of international cooperation among Turkey, Slovenia and Italy, which main goal was to promote teachers collaboration across frontiers for implementing innovation in class to promote intercultural dialogue. The creation, strategies and use of a virtual working/learning space (VWLS) to promote this process are hereby described. Furthermore, in this article I attempt to show how the VWLS can give support to intercultural dialogue, from motivation to participate and share the own cultural identity, to the process of working and learning together. In fact, the VWLS becomes meaningful, exposing teachers and students to an enlarged cultural context, diverse, but also comprehensive of the own original cultural context, because built semantically by themselves. This sense making process could impact on a new dimension of intercultural learning in a new place without frontiers, that is represented by “virtual” reality. Questions addressing this explorative and qualitative research work where: can the web spaces become place to promote intercultural learning? How these online spaces should be featured in terms of representation of cultural differences? How can they promote intercultural dialogue? And the most exciting: how can they allow processes of construction of new culturally hybrid meanings?

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l’apprendimento interculturale? Che forma dovrebbero acquisire gli stessi in termini di rappresentazione della differenza culturale ? E l’aspetto più interessante: come potrebbero tali spazi consentire processi di costruzione di nuovo senso, culturalmente ibrido? Key Words: Case Study – Intercultural – Teachers’ Training – Virtual Learning Environment – Learning Metaphors

Raffaghelli

1. Introduction More than in any other place, multiculturalism has entered in classrooms as a complex phenomenology, challenging schooling systems and teachers’ professional identity (Hargreaves, 2003). The many cultural “software of mind”2 with which kids, parents and teachers are reading facts and practices are revealed by the declination of “well founded” beliefs in traditional education: academic success, intelligence, learning performance, didactics, teaching. The discussion is not new at all3; which is rather new, is the dimension of multicultural phenomenon, once focused on rich countries that attracted immigration flows, or ex-colonialist countries; today multiculturalism is present in every city, and almost in every community, being recognized racial and interethnic problems in poor countries as the basis of conflict, which education could help to solve (Leclerq, 2003).

2 3

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Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., (2005). Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind. Revised and expanded 2nd edition, New York: Mc. Graw Hill. The discussion is not new at all: in most European countries with relatively high immigration (France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands) multiculturalism has been an issue since the 1950s, and since the mid 1980s the Council of Europe has promoted a number of dedicated educational projects. In these projects, education is no longer conceived of as multicultural (referring to different cultures living in the same place without any mutual interaction), rather as intercultural, with strong emphasis on reciprocity and mutual modification (Leclerq, 2003). This is a strategy aimed at drawing attention to democracy, pluralism, and dialogue among different cultures. In Coulby’s words, If education is not intercultural, it is probably not education, but rather the inculcation of nationalist or religious fundamentalism (Coulby, 2006, p. 246). The intercultural approach represents the most appropriate response to the challenges of globalization and complexity (Portera, 2006b). As Portera points out, “...It offers means to gain a complete and thorough understanding of the concepts of democracy and pluralism, as well as a different customs, traditions, faiths and values. Intercultural education helps to identify the risks of globalization and multicultural communities; of economically motivated rules and regulations, without any intervention by governments and /or politics . Intercultural education approach, taking into account the diversities that are involved and interacting in an educational setting, could allow a more inclusive view of society, respectful of differences, and eager to build new horizons of (inter) culture, without falling into the melting pot identity, but recovering memory and identity...” (Portera, 2008, p. 488). In Coulby’s words If education is not intercultural, it is probably not education, but rather the inculcation of nationalist or religious fundamentalism (Coulby, 2006, p. 246) Intercultural Pedagogy cannot be understood as one aspect of educational provision. Interculturalism is not a subject which can be given timetable time alongside all the others, nor is it appropriate to ine phase of education only. Interculturalism is a theme, probably the major theme, which needs to inform the teaching and learning of all subject. Furthermore, Intercultural Pedagogy needs to be introduced as a methodological approach in order to revolution ethnocentric curriculum (Banks, op. cit; Favaro, 2004, Minello, 2008).


4

The question of thirdness in culture – as a semiotic process of creation and appropriation of meaning- is a very complex one. Basing on semiotic and linguistic studies – R. Barthes, Ch. Peirce, M. Bakhtin – C. Kramsch (1996) highlights thirdness as a process emerging from dialogic relation between linguistic and visual signs and symbolic creation, where there’s the differential (or third position) created by motivations and emotions put by the speaker into the act of communicate. Going further, she emphasizes the importance of H. Bhabha’s perspective, a post-structuralist thinker that complements the Peirce’s and Bakhtin’s idea of thirdness, when considering that culture is located on discursive practices, and on the necessity of give a focus of interpretation to discourse. This is in fact the third space, one’s built by the subject of enunciation. When considering the Internet as a Third culture we could take into account these foundations, being the net a “metaphorical” space, composed by text and images which acquire the quality of signs more evidently than “reality”. Communications are “frozen”, kept on social webpages as a memory of dialogic processes, a visible architecture of human negotiation of new cultural senses.

Intercultural learning on the Web

The teachers, as professionals of education, are at the center of this storm: they cannot remain out of these trends, since they are teaching for the knowledge society (Grant, Wieczorek, 2000, Hargreaves, 2003) Teachers’ efforts to address intercultural education and dialogue occur in this scenery of educational change, where internationalization in education systems —aimed to achieve international identities and global competitiveness— is to be contrasted with the necessity of facing the problem of migrations at the local level (Gundara, 2000; Banks, 2001; Ziglio, 2004), as is the case of European Union, one of the most developed projects of recognition of a transnational/regional cultural identity in the respect of local cultural traits. Teachers can no longer work from an ethnocentric vision of teaching (Lynch, 1992; Leclerq, 2003): they need to become professionals able to recognize new multicultural learning contexts, respecting diverse learning styles (Margiotta, 1999; Gobbo, 2000, 2004), which are completely changing relationships with classroom, peers, institutions and community; also challenging the basis of conventional teacher status and function (Margiotta, ibid). The problem of a multicultural society, is completely renewed, not only because of migrations or ethnic conflicts, but also because of the accent put on discovering and promoting cultural identities based on neohumanistic values; hence, a new vision of humankind , in a planet that appears to be smaller and smaller: a planetary identity, in E. Morin’s words (Morin, 2003). The above mentioned multicultural dynamics are not the only problem teachers have to afford. It seems there’s a third dimension of multiculturalism, a dimension that could appear as “a third culture”4: in the context of continuous internationalization processes of media and communications, teachers are challenged by ubiquitous learning: informal learning that occur while using Internet and mobile devices. It seems that schools as places of socialization, have to integrate digital networks and virtual worlds that function as socialization substitutes. Particularly Internet is becoming one of the most important places where learning occurs, no matter what education policies preview or experts, headmasters, teachers and trainers actually do (Carneiro, 2007). Is Internet becoming a place for a new culture, where new identities could be forged, beyond the local cultural identities? This question leads to the problem of the Web as a cultural space, that could deterritorialise us while at the same time keep in touch with past homes thereby creating a kind of transnational identity… Are the virtual environments on the net

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capable of promoting skills to interact leaving behind the inflexible aspects of the own culture in front of other’s culture? This question takes me to reflect about the Web as a phenomenon spreading over a vast number of countries, where a continuous interaction of people coming from a physical geography could create a new virtual geography, with new cultures and new identities… If so happens: What could be the role of teachers in leading the creation of new places to learn on the net? So far: How to train teachers to be those needed leaders?

Raffaghelli

1.1. Meeting equal-but-diverse people on the Web The social shifting produced by ICTs fast development claims for openness to an interdisciplinary vision of research and teaching in the several curriculum areas (Banks, 2001; Margiotta, 2007).Furthermore, it is necessary to consider that teachers have to face the screenagers generation (Rushkoff, 2006): the students are exposed to an amazing quantity of stimulation coming from the net, hence participating in several virtual environments and communities, sharing new cultural values and patterns of behaviour; if in some cases these patterns have been declared as foreign, extraneous to the participant, the main cyberculture studies emphasize that a new culture of cybernauts is emerging (Rheingold, 1993; Smith, M. & P. Kollock 1999 ); producing “multi-identities” where the real life is only one of the possible sceneries where the self is forged (Turkle, 1996); in Maistrello’s5 beautiful metaphor, these young people are citizens from new territories on the net. Indeed, in cyberculture studies, this problem has been addressed in terms of virtual communities and online identities - online interactions, digital discourses, access and denial to the Internet, and interface design of cyberspace –; according to cyber-anthropologists’ definitions, cyberspace becomes a social space in which people still meet “face-to-face”, even when new definitions of both ‘meet’ and ‘face’ are needed. In David Silver words (2000), while cyberspace may lack for the most part the physical geography found in, say, a neighbourhood, city, or country, it offers users very real opportunities for collective communities and individual identities6. These words are strongly indicating the way virtual communities could infiltrate our “real” world (Turkle,1996). It seems that these communities are giving the possibility to the users of creating meaning, having a feeling of belonging and thus, having elements to built on their own identities and personal beliefs, no matter the place they come from: the meeting point on the net, the virtual space, is a new place, where stimulating conversations or interactions occur. One of the most important communities studied by several anthropologist and sociologist of cyberculture has been “The Well” (http://www.well.com/) —a computer conferencing system that enables people around the world to carry on public conversations and exchange private e-mail (Rheingold, 1993). Quoting Rheingold to describe The Well, “Millions of people on every continent also participate in the computer-mediated social groups known as virtual communities,

5 6

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S. Maistrello, (2007). La parte abitata della Rete. Milano: Tecnologie Nuove. D. Silver (2000), Looking Backwards, Looking Forward: Cyberculture Studies 1990-2000, retrieved from http://rccs.usfca.edu/intro.asp, 15 May 2008; originally published on Web.studies: Rewiring Media Studies for the Digital Age, edited by David Gauntlett (Oxford University Press, 2000): 19-30.


7 8

Intercultural learning on the Web

and this population is growing fast. Finding the WELL was like discovering a cozy little world that had been flourishing without me, hidden within the walls of my house; an entire cast of characters welcomed me to the troupe with great merriment as soon as I found the secret door. Like others who fell into the WELL, I soon discovered that I was audience, performer, and scriptwriter, along with my companions, in an ongoing improvisation. A full-scale subculture was growing on the other side of my telephone jack, and they invited me to help create something new”7. Contemporarily to Rheingold’s research, the idea of communities populating the net, with several scopes, became largely studied and accepted. In line with this trend, studies about online learning communities such as Palloff & Pratt, 1999, suggest that the social phenomenon of community could support online learning processes; a suggestion that is strengthen by theories of learning that highlight the role of social interaction in the construction of knowledge from early theories of Dewey, 1929 and Vygotsky, [1932]1990, to the important work of Resnick , Levin, Teasley 1991) Further support may be found in the proposal that knowledge is constructed within the social milieu (Cunningham, 1996). It is worth to consider Garrison and Anderson’s (2000; 2003) interpretation of the term “community of enquiry”. According to these authors, e-learning adopters are more inclined to work collaboratively, following interactions in online spaces, and reflecting on them to promote self-guided learning, in an effort to replicate the results of face-to-face experience. This, in time, leads to rethinking discursive space: according to Garrison and Anderson (2000, 2003), the successful use of asynchronous text-based communication media that can facilitate higher learning requires: a) Social presence, as non-subject based communication, expressions of personal experience, expressions of acknowledgements of other participants, etc; b) Cognitive presence – evidence of academic engagement with the texts, “thinking out loud” evidence of reflection, critical thinking and further construction of meaning; c) Teaching presence – design (of the programme), facilitation of the asynchronous discussions and direct instruction. Supported by connexionist approach, the metaphor of social networks to promote knowledge sharing and building, legitimation of peripheral participation, and distributed intelligence (Resnick, 1991; Wenger, 1998) were concepts that relied on the assumption that most knowledge is an interpretation of experience, an interpretation based on human exchanges (mostly conversations that have an important idiosyncratic component), that both enable and constrain individuals’ processes of sense-making. Indeed, Sherry Turkle’s research about identity’s construction processes through MUDs (Multi-users Domains) take us to reflect on the idea of virtual reality as metaphoric spaces where people navigates, interact, and communicate about their chosen characters, which in turn reflects a part of their identities8. It is worth to remember, at this point, the classic concept of Agorà: The Greek

Reinghold, H. (1993) “The Virtual Community” – Electronic Version http://www.rheingold.com /vc/book/intro.html , retrieved on 28 July 2008 – Introduction. Sh. Turkle uses the example of “Dungeons and Dragons”, one of the first multi-players game where people from all over the world interacted to hack and slay, but also to create common or individual rooms, castles, cities. Once created, people comunicate to populate them, as a social adventure.

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Raffaghelli

word “agora“ comes from the verb “ageirein meaning “to gather” and designated initially the assembly of the whole people, as opposed to the council of chiefs (boulè). From there, it came to designate the location of that assembly and what happened on this location, hence its later meaning of “market-place”. The Agora became in the Greek society an important place that represented mainly democracy, but also, it offered the possibility of communicate, learn, and exchange not only goods but mainly ideas. In fact, in Aristotle’s ideal city, the Agora represents the life of it, being separated into two domains: the vulgar, one for business and commerce, and the “free agora” for more serious political, intellectual and religious activities (Politics, 13331a31): from this vision, it seems clear that the Agora is what people, through intense participation, build, rather than a simple localized, architectonic, place. The evidence gathered above, leads us to the idea that meeting people from several cultural backgrounds and experiences on the net should be possible, through new contextualization of interaction in a “symbolic place”, other than the own places of belonging. In this process of negotiation: are cultures discovered or cancelled?. This kind of question seems to be unexplored by the above mentioned studies: the “intercultural question” have been introduced as a background, being assumed that all people participating on the net accepts a certain shared (cyber)culture. Only in the last years, where the intercultural discussion is emerging as a new model to rethink education relationships (in the school, between educators/teachers and students), the idea that intercultural encounters can have place also on the net is being highlighted (Dunn, Marinetti, 2002; McLoughlin, 2007; Liu, 2007; Rutheford, Kerr, 2008; Goodfellow, Lamy, 2009), attempting hence to develop “culturally sensitive” e-learning environments. This is the idea that I’ll try to work out in this article, being the related assumption that the possibility of creating places – like an Agora – on the net, can become later on, a space of sense-making where not only learning, but also intercultural dialogue and reflection would occur.

2. The PERMIT case study 2.1. Method The experience discussed in this article was part of an international cooperation project called PERMIT. I played a role as participant research, taking part on the process of developing e-learning strategies and designing online platform that allowed teachers from several nationalities to interact in carrying out project’s activities. Therefore, the method used to gather and analyze data in order to build the case, was a Mixed Methods approach (Cresswell, 2004; Creswell, Garrett, 2008), focused on collecting, analyzing, and mixing both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study, bulding on the philosophy that the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches in combination provides a better understanding of research problems than either approach alone, facilitating a process of understanding and building significant data. The leading concept underlying to such a pragmatic philosophy is that we are not engaged in a mere research process, but rather in supporting – and we should say ethically engaged on (Whitehead, Mc Niff, 2006) a

208


process of generating new practices to change/improve the life of participant social groups The key elements of the above mentioned approach were:

*

* * *

Participant researcher to the instructional design and training process, taking part on the process developing e-learning strategies and design of the international online platform where teachers and students interacted. Follow-up of an online community of 24 teachers for six month, participating in three international residential workshops (three days each) and sharing the Virtual Working/Learning Space every day9. Questionnaires (to the whole group) and interviews (to a part of the group) were done in the meanwhile of learning process. Participation to Italian Monitoring – focus group with students –. Participation at Students VWLS – teachers’ implementation of a VWLS for their own students –.

Considering on such a mixed-methods approach, the first part of case’s data, relating to the contextualization of intervention and justification of strategies adopted to introduce a virtual learning space, was featured on the base of questionnaires’ results, through very simple descriptive statistics. A second part of case’s data, relating to the process of creation, implementation and impact of virtual working/learning space for PERMIT teachers and students, required mostly qualitative analysis: free and axial codification where applied to transcriptions of interviews, focus group, questionnaires’ open written questions and on excerpts of online forum, in order to achieve a conceptual map of processes of meaning emerging from the learning community. The codification obtained guided in time to further conceptualization and confrontation with the initial project goals, and suppositions made by the group about research leading questions: What actually happens when people of several cultures participate in virtual learning spaces? Is it possible to influence learners’ cultural identity and sense of belonging, opening possibilities to intercultural dialogue ? These first general questions would produce, later more specific questions about the case’s focus: Is it possible to influence teachers’ practices towards an intercultural perspective of teaching? 2.2. Case Contextualization It’s worth to present the project to understand the experience’s context, where the concept of “working across frontiers” became so important10.

Intercultural learning on the Web

*

9

The VLE consisted in three areas (International Teachers Community; National –Italian, Turkish, Slovenian- Teachers’ Community; Students’ Community –in time splitted by subjects, with an interdisciplinary approach, “Languages Community –LC-”, “Humanities Community –HC-”, “Sciences Community –SC-”. Inside these communities, the following activities where analyzed: Italian Teachers’ Community, 9 online forum and one activity of geolocalization; International Teachers’ Community: 7 online forum; Students’ Community: 8 online forum –HC-; 7 online forum -LC-; 3 online forum –SC-. Analysis of online discourse and structure of online learning spaces was done considering semantic categories (codes) emerged from those materials, which is the most superficial level of qualitative analysis. 10 In the following quotations, all references to the participant institutions, apart from the researcher’s institution, have been removed.

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Raffaghelli

PERMIT aims to promote the Civil Society Dialogue between the European Union and Turkey with specific focus on ensuring a better knowledge and understanding of Turkey within the European Union; from the beginning, this goal was transformed by the Scientific Committee into the more significant and representative of a process of mutual learning from practices, reflecting upon partners’ cultural identities Hence, a working hypothesis was designed as follows: Intercultural awareness among researchers, teachers and students involved in the project (sample 10, 100, 800) is supposed to be low. The innovations in teaching methodologies and materials is expected to enhance researchers, teachers and students’ awareness of cultural diversity and understanding. The project intervention should then enable teachers, (with the support of a wider teacher community set up by a first research group), to develop their own teaching material on crucial themes such as sustainable development, languages and multilingualism as part of cultural identity, critical thinking and ethical behaviour, thus favouring deeper understanding of Turkish, Slovenian and Italian realities. Based on a previous project (PACE11) within this big “container” the idea was to promote teachers’ professional development as a mean to help the introduction of an intercultural perspective of education (teaching practices) in participating countries; bearing in mind that the international dialogue developed within the project could have an impact in raising cultural awareness and understanding among teachers and students, who were considered the main players, in the assumption of the project, of educational systems: from good practices in schools, hubs of excellence about intercultural dialogue could be created, and hence, institutional building and social impact could have place. Therefore, the Scientific Committee, opened from the very beginning of the project, a discussion about dimensions of incidence on the acquisition of an intercultural competence: • The new methodology and the innovative teaching materials is expected to enhance students’ awareness of cultural diversity and understanding. • After piloting the innovative teaching materials the teachers can register heightened students’ knowledge, understandings, cognitions; they are better informed on cultural variety, they can understand various believes and values and accept otherness, they accept differences among cultures, they can decenter, view their own attitudes towards intercultural reality. • The projects activities and research findings contribute to build bridges among nations and minorities (in Italy, Turkey, and Slovenia) and promote awareness of the intercultural reality12. The research group built upon these assumptions in order to create the main tools used to explore the several realities, aiming to achieve a comparative picture and hence help teachers to generate their own teaching materials, which in time should be significant to change, hopefully, that picture.

11 PACE: Project Agency Cooperation Education – United World College of the Adriatic Sea. www.educooperation.eu 12 Rational: First Scientific Committee – Synthesis of the SC discussion prepared by Prof. Lucija ok, University of Primorska – 25 November 2008

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The project’s starting point was a study to understand cultural values influencing teaching and learning practices of institutional realities involved on PERMIT project. This exploratory study consisted on the administration of questionnaires to all teachers and students involved on PERMIT process (from teachers’ training to experimentation of learning units). The conceptual matrix that guided questionnaires’ development and data analysis was rather complex, in it attempt to comprehend the most important dimensions of cultural identities. Dimensions as demographic information, linguistic identity, contact with other cultures, intercultural learning and teaching, and values, beliefs, and opinions about intercultural dialogue where the base to map the reality where PERMIT project expected to intervene. These dimensions in time were divided in categories that raised the question of otherness as Experienced Otherness, Representation of Otherness in Society – before entering the schooling system –, Representation of Otherness within the schooling system. As it was hypothesized by SC, the scheme shows also that a new emerging representation of otherness would appear after participating in significant experiences of learning at school (the area of PERMIT intervention; see figure 7.3. in Raffaghelli, Melchiori, Minello, this volume). From these complex conceptual picture we focus the importance of Internet as place to experience otherness, as it emerged from the opinion of teachers and students. To illustrate this, we will select data13 supporting discussion and conceptualization in this chapter. I will take into account only the Italian case, were I was directly involved, namely, 17 teachers and 208 students, coming from 4 Schools (3 Vocational Training – Tourism and Design –; 1 Academic – Arts –), from North East Italy14 (Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige), were respondents to the

13 The following statistics have been elaborated under the direction of Roberto Melchiori and with technical support on online questionnaires management and SPSS implementation of the Center Interfaculty for Educational Research and Advanced Training and UNIVIRTUAL 14 The Northeastern Italy is represented by a group of regions that have a more or less common lines of historical and socio-economic development. Being rural areas strong emigration occurred after the 2nd WW, when industrialization (mainly manufactures) started as a consistent process, linked to the whole process of recovery of European economies. Several factors such as social capital – networks of social collaboration – put the bases for a successful development model (local, diffuse development, based on SMEs – Small and Medium Enterprises –). As a consequence, fluxes of immigration started to enter consistently from the 80’s, both for the workforce shortages in the region, and for the opportunities of a good quality of life. Christian morality diffused among people of this region, generated a position of tolerance to diversity, and in some extent paths of integration to local realities –rather monocultural and surprised by the presence of immigrants, differently from countries that had a history as colonizers-. In the recent years, a general sense of crisis of the above mentioned model, the post-modern perception of threat of security, and the constant increase of immigrants from very diverse cultures such Muslims (Balkans, North Africa, Middle-East) and China, have generated groups that segregate foreigners and have an approach of intolerance,

Intercultural learning on the Web

3. Teachers and Students’ Use and Opinions about Internet as space to promote intercultural learning

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questionnaire regarding the present study. The group showed predominant presence of females, both among Students and Teachers; within the first group, only 31% of respondents were male; within the second, only 23,5% were male. Nevertheless, this is representative of the current situation on schools such as those participating to PERMIT project; males seem to be concentrated on courses of technology and crafts; traditionally, they are not interested in general, human topics such as intercultural dialogue; this is of course an area toofbethe afforded is representative current by situation on future intervention, considering it a general, transversal curricular area-. We can s also say that teachers involved are representative of mean characteristics of Italian teaching boards in Veneto Region: they are mainly middle aged (with 84,7% of teachers over 40 years old), and women (71,4%). Consistently, they have rather long experience on teaching (mode 16-20 years). The administration of questionnaires was done directly by the same teachersexperimenters, involved into the study. They had been previously trained in order same teachers-experimenters, to administrate questionnaires, via online forms, and worked together with English i language colleagues in IT labs, so the whole administration was accomplished in one session per class.

Raffaghelli

3.1. Students’ Experienced Otherness on the Net Taking into account the increasing trend of “Digital Natives” between teen-agers, I hypothesized that students engaged in the PERMIT project, were able of use the net to generate new (international) relationships that in time can become intercultural interactions. Data does not completely confirmed this idea, since only a third Data part does not c young Italian people participating to this study declared to have contacts with of peers from other nationalities on the net (30,8% against a 63% of students that The characterization of the experience as mainly positive didn’t have any contact). The characterization of the experience as mainly positive ( (46,2% quite positive, 25,8% completely positive) brought evidence addressing the idea of very good opportunities to cultivate experiences of intercultural relations on the net. Peers_Contacts_Internet

Valid

Frequencies

Percentage

Valid Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

Yes

64

30,8

32,8

32,8

No

131

63,0

67,2

100,0

Total

195

93,8

100,0

-

13

6,3

-

-

208

100,0

-

-

Missing Total

Table 1 – Contact with Peers from other Nationalities on Internet

fear and avoidance of cultural differences, emphasizing traditions, despite the inconsistencies generated by a young generation grown-up in capitalist wellness. Italian students participating to this study are part, doubtless, of this reality, since they come from middle-worker-class (mainly vocational schools). Teachers are to be taken separately from this reality, since they have an “intellectual” tradition that place them critically with regard of cultural traditions of the region. In fact, many of them come from other regions of Italy (namely, the South), in search of occupation within the prosperous North.

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References: SHORT PERIOD: 1-2 weeks MEDIUM PERIOD: 3-4 weeks LONG PERIOD: more than one month

From the results hereby presented, it can be stated that Italian students are very well motivated and eager to know and understand other cultures, by collaborating with foreign students through the use of ICT’s (always as part of real exchanges with other students, a result that is not presented here). Nevertheless, it is also to be considered that participants, coming from a “Western” culture (Western Europe, industrialized society), tend to interact mainly with students of other Western countries (Graphic 2), reducing the levels of exposition to diversity (and its distressful aspects). This element could be also interpreted as curiosity for other “dominant” cultural patterns, rather than a real sensibility to diversity. We can be more optimistic with regard to the amount of time spent on intercultural contacts through the net: students are likely to invest generally more than one month (long period) to nurture an intercultural relationship. This assumptions entail of course further research.

Intercultural learning on the Web

Graphic 2 – Students Students D Duration of Contacts with people of other cultures on Internet in relation with Gender

3.2. Students’ Opinions: Can Intercultural Learning occur through the use of ICT’s?

t

A section of students’ questionnaire attempted to raise opinion about the kind of teaching methods and topics that should be implemented within school in order to improve intercultural education To the main question posed about teaching methods “What kind of activities should be implemented by teachers to promote intercultural learning?” students answeredthe with a strong prevalence of the with idea of “keeping in contact” other idea of “keeping in contact” other peers abroad, bothwith by exchanges and by peers abroad, both by exchanges and by the use of ICT’s. This last element gained a central attention among students: it seems to

213


computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, a Computer games, email, the Internet, cell phones and i

confirm, in simple terms, what has been stated by background on new learners profile (the Digital Natives, Prensky, 2001), mainly centered on the interest about communications through the use of media. As Prensky puts: Our students have changed radically (…) They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV). Computer games, email, the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives. (Prensky, 2001, p. 1) As we mentioned at introduction, the Internet could become a place to socialize with other cultures. But the problem here is also, as we put further in our argumentation, that the net could reinforce a “transnational” culture, that blurs the richness of local belongings. The abuse in considering Internet as place to promote intercultural relationships could produce, also, neglecting the problem of internationalization at home, which is to say, understanding the problem of immigration which students experience everyday. Contingency table School * Intercultural_Teaching Learning

Raffaghelli

Methods Adopted

School

Usage of computer technologies

Usage of laboratories

Cooperation with students from other Project Work countries Total x School

F

%

F

%

F

%

F

%

F

%

VET – Tourism / Province of Padua

33

39

11

13

12

14

27

32

85

45

VET – Tourism / Province of Venice Gymnasium - Arts

7

19

4

11

12

32

14

38

37

19,5

19

50

5

13

1

2

13

34

38

20

Gymnasium – Classical

9

75

2

16

0

0

1

8

12

6,5

Gymnasium - Languages 7

37

0

0

5

26

7

37

19

10

39,7

22

11,6

30

15,9

62

32,8

189

100

Total x Method

75

Table 3 – Opinion of Use of Teaching Methods that promote Intercultural Learning

3.3. Teachers’ Experienced Otherness on thetoNet group (with regard the participant schools) of respondent teachers s

The small but significant group (with regard to the participant schools) of respondent teachers showed curiosity about other cultures and some very controlled level of exposition to them. In fact, according to data gathered those contacts have always place into the frame of family and friendship in other countries, within social networks of confidence. In some cases, teachers declared to have experienced contacts through the job, or within the controlled context of tourism. Nevertheless, contacts on the net appeared to be significant: we could assert that a good part of teachers involved in this study were engaged in using technologies of social Web; in fact, as showed in Graphic 5, in a 47% of cases there were or there had been contacts with colleagues of other countries via the of Internet.

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Contact with people from other countries via the Internet – Qualitative Analysis

These statements entail two factors: a) that in 42% of cases (hence, a consistent group) teachers use the net to communicate to other people coming from different cultural reality, in order to maintain professional and personal relationships; b) that technologies are being adopted to give continuity to projects of collaboration across frontiers in order to introduce innovation into the classrooms. Graphic 6 shows the teachers’ level of satisfaction with these experiences of contact: they generally indicated to be quite or completely satisfied with regard to intercultural contacts, both FTF (face to face) or through the Internet. In the study, it emerged that teachers mainly contact people from closer, “Western” cultures; but teachers’ motivation and curiosity is also oriented to explore distant cultures15. 3.4. Teachers’ Opinions: Introducing New technologies within teaching practices to address intercultural issues As showed at “Conceptual Matrix”, a questionnaire’s section was devoted to study teaching methods generally chosen by respondents, and thus, to deliver curriculum. Building on the bases that the act of teaching is mainly an act of communicating “culture” (in the complete sense of communication, not only verbal) –Margiotta, 1999-, it can be assumed that the teacher delivers curriculum through the use of activities and tools that can be more or less participative, allowing hence different levels of expression of students’ selves. The extreme case here is forcing the student to recall and repeat concepts, pertaining to a curriculum vision that could be defined as ethnocentric (there’s one Culture to be learned: that delivered at school); the intercultural case promotes the act of teaching as a “conversation”16 with diversity, where students feel integrated by recognizing the own and other cultures present on the educational set. Therefore, within the Permit experimentation, we have considered that more participative teaching methods could address the introduction of intercultural reflection, leading to set learning situations were “a complex intercultural identity” could be developed. Moreover, the envisaged ideal situation was not that of introducing “intercultural topics” within a flexible curriculum, but rather

Intercultural learning on the Web

“I have sometimes e contacts with the English teacher of a Dutch school. I met her during a students exchange” “With my cousin in Russia, it is a recent way of communicate” “I was mixing with teacher for 2 weeks.” “regarding history of mathematics for a couple of years” “SEVERAL NATIONALITIES FOR YEARLY PROJECT WORK” “FRIENDS , MY GIRL FRIEND FOR A LONG TIME” “Teachers for school personal school projects, e-twinning or Comenius projects”

15 Given the reduced number of quantitative data this dimension was explored through open questions, and emerged, at questions 12 to 15 of Teachers’ questionnaires. 16 There’s a strong development of an educational research that consider the important of acts of communication in class: Conversational Analysis. From this, I’m taking the conception of “creating context” through negotiation of meanings that occur between teacher and students, as conversation, in successful teaching. This process has been called “interthinking” as a process of creation of an “intermental development zone” (Mercer, 2000, p. 141).

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implementing pedagogical practices that generate an atmosphere of participation, inclusion and equality among teachers and students. The main assumption here, that we recall, is that traditional methods like lecture and use of textbooks are closer to an ethnocentric approach, where it prevails the teacher discourse that brings into classroom an “official”, centralized discourse. Instead of that, methods allowing participation (group work, discussions) students’ activity (laboratories, fieldwork, project work), and interaction within enlarged contexts of learning (use of technologies) would allow an ethnorelative focus of topics treated in class, helping students – and also teachers – to develop an intercultural identity (Bélisle, op.cit). It can be argued, on the contrary, that those methods can be superficial and ideologically driven towards the direction the teacher wants to impose (Bélisle, op.cit). The best formula is, doubtless, the use of a variety of teaching methods that guides students from knowledge to understanding, from understanding to putting into practice, transferring to real life; at last, the student should be able of build new –own- sense of knowledge achieved at school within his/her own life. According to these assumptions, “Teaching Methods Implemented in Class” was a questionnaire’s area aimed to explore current practices in class. As we can see, respondent teachers use a variety of methods, but lecture prevails (64,7% of teachers use rather often and often this method). The other methods are used mainly “sometimes” (35,3% of cases for group work, project work, A lab activities, pair works); group work shows more dispersion, with a consistent part of teachers that use it “rarely” (23,5%); but another group uses it “rather often” (23,5%). Almost the same situation applies to the case of project work. Furthermore, with regard to lab activities, the situation seems to be defined by a scarce opportunity of using laboratories, since teachers express this practice to occur “rarely” (29,4%) and “sometimes” (35,3%); this situation can be given teachers (logistic, express this practice to occur (29,4%) and “sometimes” because of the obstacles bureaucratic) linked“rarely” to taking the class outside (the classroom/school. Generally, the situation seems to show a trend of change with regard to teaching methods, towards more open, participatory approach; this trend is surely to be linked to well motivated teachers, that could act isolated, within a yet very traditional system, which couldn’t be interested in this “new” could also offer resistance and activities; reluctance to ifurthermore, the context could also offer resistance and reluctance to innovation.

a) lectures b) group work c) project work d) lab activities e) pair work f) self-guided work

never

rarely

5,9 0 5,9 5,9 11,8 0

0 23,5 17,6 29,4 11,8 23,5

Some times 11,8 35,3 35,3 35,3 35,7 5,9

Rather often 35,3 23,5 23,5 11,8 23,5 35,3

Always 29,4 0 05,9 0 5,9 5,9

Table 4 – Type and frequency of Adopted Teaching Methods

Next questionnaire’s area studied the level of introduction of ICT’s within to support new learning styles teaching practices, basing on the assumption discussed on our research ( framework, that “Digital Natives” are conforming a third culture through the use of Internet, and therefore, this way of opening a vision of new/other cultures could be

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effectively implemented in education to support new learning styles (Prensky, op.cit) In line with this, it’s important to remember that respondent students considered ICTs crucial to reach other cultures, as a direct way to communicate and collaborate with young people of other parts of the world. Furthermore, there’s consistent data showing that online learning approaches promotes better interaction and collective participation (Pallof & Pratt, op. cit) The results here show a situation of increasing use of ICT’s, though still not consistent. The fact that a third part of teachers (35,3 %) uses “rather often” technologies, is encouraging, with regard to the perspective of regular implementation. Unfortunately, the next step, which is the use of “blended” approaches were distance learning is integrated to teaching, are not so positive, with a 47,1% that uses this approach “never” and “rarely”. Contacting students by email was only introduced as a very outdated modality to reach the student in online spaces; since there are several platforms that allow asynchronous communication among teacher and students, the use of mail is unnecessary. The data here show that teachers don’t use this method consistently.

a) use of ICT in class b) use of e-learning approaches c) contacting students by e-mail

11,8 35,3 23,5

rarel y 11,8 11,8 35,3

Some times 17,6 17,6 5,9

Rather often 35,3 17,6 5,9

Always 5,9 0 11,8

in lessons. of Use of ICT’s in lessons Table 5 – Frequency

3.5. Confronting Teachers and Students’ Opinions: is it possible to promote intercultural learning through the Net? Having introduced separately Students’ and Teachers’ data, it is worth now to draw some conclusions reading across categories. Coherently with literature, the students of this group17 are well disposed to learn through collaboration on the Net, with peers of different cultures: this appears to be an imagined dimension of interaction, a wish of contacting with a rather fantastic (literally virtual!) otherness. This can be asserted when confronting this data with real “experienced otherness on the net” which is rather low (only a third part of students, as we recall). From the other side, teachers seem also to be positively oriented to develop intercultural relationships (both professional and personal) through the net, been actively participating in social web networks, still more intensively than their students. Even if it must be taken into account that respondent teachers where very actively engaged in innovative practices and volunteered to complete questionnaires, this result constitutes a significant trend about teachers’ professional interests. The basis to develop new practices through the use of technologies to introduce an intercultural dimension to teaching and learning seem to be set up, in pragmatic terms (experiences and opinion of respondents).

Intercultural learning on the Web

never

H 17 We need to remember that these assumptions are based on a small group of respondents from a very particular reality of north-east Italy.

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Why, given that motivation in students and teachers, interaction with people from different cultures using the Internet is a rather unusual practice? As we observed through teachers’ answers to “teaching methods implemented”, traditional methods appear to be the most usually implemented practices, which seems to conflict with the idea of introducing an intercultural vision on pedagogic approaches. Here is where institutional scenarios play their part, still preventing the introduction of innovations in teaching methods, where technologies have a central role. Technologies need careful implementation, from teachers’ skills to govern the use of them with pedagogic purposes, to the problem of security of students’ identities, the exposition to inadequate contents, and the problem of plagiarism and “netiquette”. Furthermore, international communications through the use of technologies require an “extra” element, which is, another teacher and class opening a “window” of collaboration, for the same – or at least close – learning goals, and at the same period of school year. Hence, several variables are playing a role at the time of introducing the net as a place to dialogue across frontiers: ethical, methodological, operational and logistic ones. If the Web is creating new opportunities to interact, it is also posing several problems to the organization of knowledge, intellectual ownership criteria, time of work (at home and at school), and conventions and codes of practices. Teachers and Students enthusiasm seems to be in line with the current representation of the largely commented phenomenon of Web 2.0 (O’ Reilly, 2005), which has led to see Internet as platform, where people comes not only to retrieve useful information, but mainly, to collaborate and interact. Technology can support social participation on the net, and is no longer to be seen as an “experts’ field”, but as common space for users to communicate, create, share and hence becoming authors. This, in time, would encompass a new idea of democracy of information and media (Tapscott, 2007). But from a critical vision (Cobo Romanì, Kuklinski, 2004), the Web 2.0 could just represent an utopia where the lack of technical skills, the problem of information literacy and critical thinking skills previously acquired to consider the quality of information retrieved, followed by lack of “netiquette” on communications with other users that we cannot see personally, could become crucial obstacles to adopt a realistic perspective, the Net as an inclusive place, aimed to promote intercultural dialogue. In fact, within educational innovation technologies have a central role but they need to be carefully implemented (Mayer, 2009).

4. PERMIT Online Learning Space: A strategy within an innovative intercultural teachers’ training model As assumed before, an important point raised by the project was the necessity of working out a successful teachers’ training on intercultural education , on the basis of new conceptions of continuing teachers’ training. The idea was expressed since the first discussions about training methodology, as interweaving formal learning (seminars and e-learning) to teachers practical knowledge (non-formal learning) as a process of reflection on practice being recognized at academic level.

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This process was established according to the following steps18: • • • • •

• •

Expert teachers as core of a growing learning community; New incoming teachers sharing good practices across frontiers; Piloting created materials and involving students as critical participants in a “joint venture”; Working through face-to-face (real encounters among teachers) followed by online communications and learning among teachers and students; Reseachers accompanying the whole process of creation, helping teachers’ reflection on practices ( From Practical Knowledge to reflection on practice and narrative with impact on professional identity; instruments as portfolio and diary became crucial to account the process of thinking, sharing, experimenting and finally reflecting on results of the “PERMIT learning unit”; Participatory Evaluation process (triangulation), with researchers, teachers of the international community and students; Recognition of the learning process as academic certification.

The process of exemplar material building and experimentation was the kernel of the process, that led the group to interact and learn about practices. Behind this, it was the assumption that creating spaces to dialogue on several education systems and pedagogical practices within them, would take to review not only practices but also conflicting issues of cultures of teaching and learning involved in the process of dialogue. Hence, training was conceived as a process of building a joint working/learning space, while exploring the workgroup development needs: there wasn’t a top-down structure of training, but a progressive growing up structure that would accompany teachers’ reflection on practice: a sense-making process about different cultures sharing a common space of learning. Three international seminars, were the several teams of every involved partner participated, attempted to make a difference as continuing training offered to the teachers: from the beginning, it was emphasized by the Research group the necessity of have time, space and responsibility: every teacher was supposed to produce a pilot Learning Unit, building on the large framework of the PERMIT common strategies in order to implement intercultural dialogue. This information was progressively reinforced an deepen through the intervention of academics representing trends of research on intercultural education in the three countries involved. Discussions between teachers were then fundamental to create individual teaching projects. It was assumed that only through collaboration in both plenary sessions and broad subject groups teachers, across countries and diverse school programs, new approaches and created learning units out of their combined best practice could be forged. Hence, intercultural strategies within

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Training Contents and specific activities of Italian group where hence established, according to the themes that Scientific Committee and research group considered crucial to develop teachers’ professionalism on intercultural dialogue.

18 PERMIT training approach, discussed at Second Scientific Committee, Venice, 23-24 January 2009. Synthesis and presentation elaborated by J.Raffaghelli, on the basis of PACE APPROACH (Education Director Working Documents, First Residential Workshops).

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pedagogical practices were going to emerge from existing strengths and extensions of everyday practices. The necessity of give continuity to the process launched across the workshops was immediately evident: How could participants from several countries give continuity to collaboration, coming them from distant realities ? Teachers and their materials needed to go virtual.

Raffaghelli

4.1. Creating the Space The University of Venice, that made the proposal of creating an eLearning platform to support interactions among partners, teachers and students as part of the learning model, on the basis of a well developed experience on e-learning courses for initial and in service teachers’ training. Nevertheless, the idea of creating a space for a participatory approach was to be a complete challenge. The Space was given important attention since the first seminar, aspiring to create a fraternity of teachers and support empathy the teacher look for in colleagues close at hand; it was supposed to be effective to support teachers throughout their work of modification and development of exemplar materials, as well as to exchanges about teaching experiences in progress. Beyond this, the space existed to keep to the forefront the aims and objectives of the project and to store information teachers may need in addition to teaching materials. Furthermore, teachers, in the project’s vision, should not be seen as only “downloaders” of information, but they were going to become mainly uploaders19. The hypothesis was formulated on the bases of two main ideas: • •

The development of Web 2.0 (above mentioned), that offered simple tools to invent, publish and exchange materials. Coherently with this vision of Internet, the claim for teachers professionalism was envisaged as teachers playing the part of creators and researchers that go in deep understanding of their discipline (Margiotta, 2007) through teaching, and as authors of their own learning objects and teaching strategies. This active and reflective approach could be clearly supported by the possibility of publishing easily on the net. Moreover, after publishing materials, Web tools could allow collaboration with colleagues and students, in an approach that could solve one of the main problems highlighted in teachers practices: the teachers’ ”professional isolation”, that provokes fragmentation and lack of motivation for innovation. The Space was designed regarding this conception20, searching to adhere to the

19 Based on Stephen Fry, who described Web 2.0 as: “…an idea in people’s heads rather than a reality. It’s actually an idea that the reciprocity between the user and the provider is what’s emphasised. In other words, genuine interactivity, if you like, simply because people can upload as well as download….” Retrieved the 20-5-2008, from the Video on http://www.videojug.com/interview/stephen-fry-web-20 . 20 In the process of Design of PERMIT webspaces, Prof. Alida Favaretto and Dr. Roberta Scuttari participated giving support as UNIVIRTUAL experts. The first, as Web designer, evaluated and

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This active publishing easily on the net.

a M

TheSpace: Space: original Figure 6 – The originalIdea Idea

4.2. The process of implementation of The Space As we may see at Table 5, from the First Residential seminar, teachers were invited to use the space to upload their materials and to interact, collaborating with ideas that could help them to develop their pilot experience. In the process of Design of PERMIT webspaces, Prof. Alida Favaretto and Dr. Roberta Scuttari participated giving The analysis of training phases, FTF and online learning activities, from the First s to the w Third Residential Seminar, allow us to understand how the space became more than an e-learning platform; in fact it evolved in a space of experimentation and sharing of reflections about meanings emerging from practices, finally discussed in residential meetings.

Intercultural learning on the Web

above mentioned training strategies. The Scheme 2, attempts to explain the Space structure and areas.

implemented the proposal of webpages’ architecture and contents; the second, followed the platform’s use, creating and maintaining platform areas of work.

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TRAINING ACTIVITIES

Raffaghelli

Phase Description

Residential Seminars

Online learning

First Phase: Developing PERMIT Units

• The Autonomous-Relational Self, a new Synthesis21, as dimension of cross cultural psychology to think Closed at Residential teaching practices an diverse Seminars in Istanbul learning styles (Turkey) • Cultural Values influencing SchooJanuary- February 2009 ling System: Comparative Analysis through researchers’ presentation Key Concept of the Phase: and teachers working groups on “Cultural Values Influencing teaching methods, tools, materials Schooling System” and learning environments (PERMIT research group)22 • Using the Virtual Learning Environment as a tool to communicate among teachers across frontiers (Venice University) • Using of Portfolio to develop skills of reflection on intercultural teaching practice (Primorska University)

• Definition of PERMIT units’ topics • Contextualization of pedagogic practices • Introduction of Units’ themes • Deepen on the topic of Intercultural Education • Exploring the online learning environment • Use of Portfolio to reflect on the process of developing the Unit. • International discussions among teachers about PERMIT core ideas to promote intercultural learning.

Second Phase: • Linguistic policy and intercultural Implementing PERMIT Units education in the market of knowledge23 Closed at Residential • Intercultural education teaching Seminars in Koper units within the curricula, a glance at (Slovenia) Primorska experiences24 February-April 2009 • Analysis of PERMIT units through self assessment and peers discussion Key Concept of the Phase (PERMIT research group) “Intercultural education • Intercultural PERMIT units presentawithin curricula design” tion (PERMIT research group) • Introducing ICT on PERMIT units: learning in enlarged cultural contexts (University of Venice) • Using of Portfolio to introduce Selfassessment of intercultural compe tence (both teachers and students)

• Coaching on Implementation • Use of Portfolio tools to reflect on the process of evolution of intercultural competence: dimensions of intercultural competence and critical incidents in class that demonstrate intercultural learning • Online experimentation: Teachers’ creation of online learning spaces to develop intercultural awareness and interaction between students of Italy, Turkey and Slovenia • International Discussions among teachers about students intercul tural activities on online spaces • Preparing Self-Assessment Progress of Unit Continua

21 Key Note Speech. Prof. Cigdem Kagitgibasi, Koç University. 22 Permit Research Group stands for the International group, incharged of coordination of training/coaching activities, composed by researchers of Yildiz University, Primorska University, and Venice University. 23 Key Note Speech. Dr. Sonja Novak Lukanovi, Institute for ethnic studies, Ljubljana. 24 Based on Results of Project LABICUM, University of Primorska, Prof. Lucija Çok.

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Phase Description

Residential Seminars

Online learning

Third Phase: Evaluating PERMIT Units

• Learning the Difference: the age of intercultural learning. Best-Practices in Intercultural Learning: UWCAD experiences25 • Intercultural Pedagogy: Re-thinking Education from interculturalism26 • Social Representations within Intercultural Teaching27 • Discussing Self-assessment descriptors. From Intercultural Teaching to Intercultural Learning: Teachers, Students and Teachers Discipline Community results (PERMIT Research group) • Reflexions on Effective Intercultural Teaching : “My best Lesson” (PERMIT Research group) • Moving Forward: The Permit Dissemination Process • A new approach for teachers’ intercultural training28

• Coaching: Participatory Evaluation of Units with Students • Coaching: Reflections about process: from Focus group to Products of Learning • Teachers’ Uploading to the Online Learning Space My Best Lesson • Teachers’ Uploading to the Online Learning Space First Students Results (excerpts of Students’ products of intercultural learning, such as reflections, essays, pictures, workgroups, videos, etc.)

Key Concept of the Phase “Towards Intercultural Learning: Analysis, Evaluation and Modelling Impact of materials development and piloting activities” Closed at Residential Seminars in Treviso (Italy) April-June 2009

Forth Phase: Dissemination • Sistematizing Knowledge: the • Publication of Final Version of of PERMIT units Results Units to the Platform process of writing – PERMIT Units (Exemplar Material) • Feed-back on Evaluation of Units Key Concept of the Phase: – Article on Experimentation Process • Feed-back to new teachers about Expanding PERMIT borders • Dissemination of Knowledge: PERuse/experimentation of PERMIT Units MIT teachers as trainers Table 7 – Training Contents & Activities by Phases of Process Development Blended Approach29

Intercultural learning on the Web

TRAINING ACTIVITIES

25 Key Note Speech. Prof. Henry Thomas, United World College of the Adriatic Sea. 26 Key Note Speech. Prof. Agostino Portera, Centro Studi Interculturali, University of Verona. 27 Key Note Speech. Prof. Esoh Elamé, Centro Interateneo per la Ricerca Didattica e la Formazione Avanzata, University of Venice. 28 Closure 3rd Residential Seminars Conference: Prof. Umberto Margiotta. 29 This Table has been built basing upon an interpretation of several project working documents, such as: Researchers communications on platform; “Training Approach” presentation at 2nd Scientific Committee –Venice-; Programme and Memos of 1st, Residential Seminar – Istanbul –, 2nd Residential Workshop-Koper-; 3rd Residential Workshop – Treviso –; internal Italian working documents of Instructional Design elaborated by Rita Minello and Juliana Raffaghelli (Italian research & training team).

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Raffaghelli

Figure 8 – The coherence between process of project interventions and The Space development The coherence between process of project interventions and The Space development

The Space adopted the appearance given by participants across the process of communication and joint work: the decisions taken by researchers, teachers and students about icons, words, titles and ideas were to represent the idea of a “common place” on the net. Let’s introduce and analyze some examples of those “live” rooms of joint work:

Figure 9 – Teachers International Community / Screenshot of Virtual Learning Environment

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Intercultural learning on the Web

Figure 10 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Students International Community (Languages) / Screenshot of Virtual Learning Environment

Figure 11 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Students International Community (Humanities) / Screenshot of Virtual Learning Environment

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Picture 1 shows the International Teachers’ Community, while picture 2 and 3 have been extracted from Students’ Communities. As we can appreciate, several icons and also multimedia materials were put freely by users, according to the ongoing communication process, as a clear representation of a meaning making process where contact with otherness emerged. Teachers Community where mostly structured by trainers (researchers), considering materials of Residential Seminars to guide teachers’ experimentation, but also taking into account requirements and questions put by teachers about their practices; following trainers interventions, teachers started to develop Students’ Communities. As we can see at picture 2 and 3, every community created “customized” activities mainly motivated to a) introduce the own culture to other students, reflectively, through stories, phrases, pictures, music and videos; b) carry out a common task, where students had to offer help to foreign peers with questions about the own culture. Throughout this process, all communications and multimedia created by teachers and students shaped the Space. 4.3. Results and Perspectives of The Space’s implementation

Raffaghelli

4.3.1. Outcomes I: The Space as the Matrix of shared knowledge After the 3rd Residential Seminar, teachers evaluated the importance of the Space and it online tools30: 91, 67% of respondents considered that it was an useful tool to develop an intercultural professional identity, mainly because: … ”it gave us the opportunity to see other colleagues didactic approaches, compare teaching perspectives, spark ideas, give help to other teachers, sharing materials.” The platform was generally considered useful to give teachers the idea of a working group “across frontiers”, eliminating national barriers and borders; as it means a lot to students too, especially when they see that in so many schools their peers do the same pilots, and come up with similar or very original questions!” “Because for cancelling the contours and the borders of the bodies and the brains, it is more necessary and usefull to come together than the other technologic methods in opinion me....”

Moreover, participating in an international community of teachers & students had impact in personal practice, because it was an opportunity to work with people from different educational contexts, bind by some ideas and beliefs, present on that “third space”. The PERMIT international teachers community, which virtual representation could be linked to a semiotic representation (where iconicity and symbolism of shared words become “things” of common use), with it bases on a platform (technological correlate), was to constitute that kind of “third space���. The platform could be then considered an instrument that supported some of the crucial processes of PERMIT approach: sharing experiences and working models; opening a window to the communication between students and teachers from the several national realities involved in the project.

30 From 19 questionnaires delivered through platform online form at the end of working sessions “After Training Questionnaires”. In this case, the data comes from teachers of the three countries involved.

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Nevertheless, the potential of this kind of tool is to be developed. Some teachers reported: …The space was somehow the “storage space” (…)and its proper value and the purpose is about to come; the space was important and it can become more important if it becomes a means of communication amongst students and teachers; (I) think it should be implemented for the relation between students…; …Technical barriers as equipments and teachers’ skills are a problem to face if this kind of instrument is to be used…

Metaphors are forms of language that express shared sense-making process, since they stimulate a “double process of semantic mapping”, through the operation of linking one category to another, and thus condensing meaning (Mercer, op.cit; Lakoff, 1980). Metaphoric thinking is also deeply rooted by images (Lakoff, 1993). Is this cognitive base that makes frequent the use of metaphor in intercultural conversation. Within PERMIT, metaphors started to circulate among teachers and students at a certain point, emerging as part of the process of negotiation of meanings, in the effort of coming to understand the others reality but also, of generating a common representation of activities. A first metaphor, that of the online forum called “The PERMIT Coffee-House”, was achieved to represent the need, felt by the group, of creating a “meeting point” to start free, informal interactions. This metaphor was launched through an image to illustrate a Students’ area and the diversity contained in it.

Intercultural learning on the Web

4.3.2. Outcomes II. The sensemaking process: building metaphors of intercultural dialogue

Figure 12 – A metaphor of the International Students’ Informal Place of Learning

the space too loosely connected to planned activities. C

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Teachers discussed about pros & cons of this proposal at the International Teachers Community (Plenary Discussions Forum, Interactions 11 to 18: 6 participants); the main problem they had to face was the risks lying behind leaving the space too loosely connected to planned activities. Controlling students’ behavior in this place –in-between the walls of the school and students’ outside world was also envisaged as a conflicting issue. Teachers concluded that it was important to give space to free contacts between students: this decision revealed to be positive, since the Coffee House allowed students to know personal and everyday life aspects of foreign students, supporting reflection about lifestyles and identities in several cultures. As it emerged from activities of feed-back from students to teachers (Italian Group), the impact was strong: Original Transcription

English

…Non avremmo mai immaginato che una ragazza turca poteva essere la figlia di un medico e quindi aver viaggiato e conosciuto mondo più di noi(…) –Vocational Training School, Mestre, 14 May 2009…Leggendo sulla vita di questi ragazzi mi sono accorta che i loro gusti, i loro pensieri, le loro paure, sono molto simili a quelle mie… (Vocational Training School, Mestre, 14 May 2009 ) …L'inserimento del tassello nel puzzle è una buona similitudine del rapporto che si è venuto a creare tra gli studenti italiani e gli studenti stranieri, turchi e sloveni, del progetto Permit. Infatti con questo progetto il puzzle si è completato e si è stabilito un rapporto importante e costruttivo tra tre culture molto diverse tra loro, ma allo stesso tempo accumunate dal desiderio di volersi conoscere e di volersi capire, lasciando da parte stereotipi e preconcetti. Per me il progetto Permit è stato un'importante rampa di lancio verso una conoscenza più approfondita di culture diverse dalla mia. (Art School, Padova, 28 May 2009)

…We would never imagine that a Turkish girl could be a Physician’s daughter, and that she could have travelled the world more than we did… …Reading about the life of this kids I realized that their likes, their thoughts, their fears, are very similar to those of mine… …The insertion of the dowel in the puzzle is a good example of the relationship that has emerged between Italian students and foreign students, Turkish and Slovenian, of PERMIT project. In fact, this project is a puzzle that has been completed, and that established an important and constructive link among three very different cultures, that at the same time are together in wishing to know each other and wanting to understand each other. To me, Permit Project has been an important springboard to a deeper knowledge of cultures different from mine.

Table 13 – Students’ Final Reflections on the learning experience

Another significant metaphor, emerged from the Humanities group:thethat “Skyline”, shapeof o cities participating “Skyline”, the shape of cities seen against the skyline at the theseveral sunset. Linked to the t idea of the several cities participating to the PERMIT puzzle of identities, the Skyline was the first symbol easily shared despite the difficulties of communication in English as “lingua franca” (in fact Humanities group suffered intensely the difficulties of negotiate meaning towards a common project, coming from very different disciplinary fields and backgrounds of experience). The teachers agreed first to exchange photos taken by themselves about the cities where they came from. Following this idea, they started to ask their students to take pictures, reflect about the “shapes and shadows”, as Literature visible and of the owntext city; (as visible a base toparts produce literary andand to hence build on the shapes and shadows of other “PERMIT” cities. i It followed an introduction of the theme of cities on Lessons Plan,context of very the study historical of different disciplines as Design (as a mood to design mode); Literature (as a base to s produce literary text and to introduce Italo Calvino’s work “Invisible Cities”); Art (as a base to study the art of the different cities involved in the programme); History (as a mean to stimulate the study historical context of some buildings linking periods across cities).

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The cognitive mapping process produced by this metaphor was also extended to other categories to represent intercultural dialogue: for example, the representation as an iceberg, with visible, evident (like Skyline) aspects of intercultural identity and invisible (hidden under the water or by the shadows). This impregnation of common images through students’ production, and teachers’ reflections on their students works was a clear representation of the cognitive and emotional effort to build a common narrative of practices across frontiers and disciplines, negotiating a common, intercultural context of practice. Not given by the curriculum or imposed by the project coordination, but achieved by consensus from the first residential workshop (FTF), and strongly enough to represent, in the end, a space of common practices.

Using net-based technologies for communication and specially to fostering professional communities is a challenge that requires a changing mindset. This challenge emerged at the PERMIT international meetings and along the whole teachers’ learning process during the project’s development . Italian teachers (but also the whole group) perceived the importance of the space, considering it a strong element of a “community across frontiers” like PERMIT. In fact, extra energy was to be dedicated to explore and use technologies. Despite the great effort demanded to the teachers, working on the quality of materials to be published and shared with colleagues, fighting against traditions within institutions to take students outside the secure curriculum activities, and explore with students participating to the process the open possibilities of communication and sense-making, were but examples of these efforts Therefore, knowing other local/national realities, and communicating with them through the use of the “virtual” space was considered not only relevant, but crucial from an intercultural perspective, both in order to implement an innovating pedagogical practice and as a professional development opportunity. All teachers emphasized the motivation and curiosity showed by their students about the different realities participating to PERMIT experience, being the Space a window to look “outside the walls of the classroom/curriculum”31: teachers hence stressed the need to enhance this motivation for educational innovation in class and at school, by introducing common activities “across frontiers”; moreover the same students asked to keep on participating on the space to communicate with peers from other countries. Considering this interest, my reflection was that the space offered by the classroom (physically delimited) and the curriculum (symbolic delimitation) is becoming too narrow: what students and teacher are claiming for is a new territory, which frontiers are just the limits of imagination. This is were the Internet can play a role, not as technological resource, but as semiotic space: creating the coordinates of an enlarged learning cultural context.

Intercultural learning on the Web

4.4. Final Reflections on The Space

31 Teachers internal meeting, Venice, 15-5-2009.

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5. Conclusions In this chapter my attempt was to raise some awareness about intercultural issues on e-learning environments, building on the assumption that intercultural learning on the net is possible. I further assume that this effect is connected to the the process underlying to communications on virtual learning environments, of creation of a semiotic space. This space assumes the features of a place where reinterpretation of the own experience, followed by a new common narrative occurs. In fact, participating in international online communities not only creates the opportunity to collaborate and learn, but also to achieve an intercultural vision, if participants are able of feeling “out” of a specific cultural context, but in a new, emerging cultural context of learning. In fact, the cyberspace is not my territory –with my cultural rules- or your territory; through the means of electronic conversation it can become a third, new place (Goodfellow & Lamy, 2009). The fact that the process is crystallised in written electronic text and icons used, let us believe that diversity is discovered, explored and kept in memory before arriving to thirdness. In the PERMIT case study, this conception of interacting and learning in culturally hybrid virtual spaces certainly introduced a new perspective of “otherness”, since participants where free to construct, not only from texts but also with icons and symbols, the own representation of the own “hybrid” space. We could affirm hence that the Web gave participants the opportunity to create enlarged cultural contexts where the own cultural identity was explored against otherness, producing cultural awareness and expression. This could be connected, in time (considering prejudices deconstructed through learning activities) to give to this third space a sense new “peaceful” place, where new citizenships can emerge. Will this encounter in online spaces have impact on places in the real world? This is a question that requires certainly further research. Of course intercultural dialogue is based on intercultural competence, which is to say skills and a “softwares of mind” that are not easy to perform in a short period of contact with otherness.. As Hofstede recalls, the place where we grew up constrains the way we think, feel and act (…) and culture is the unwritten book with rules of the social game that is passed on to newcomers by it members, nesting itself in their minds32. In this author view, we can only intervene on practices, the more superficial part of individuals’ cultural mindset. Nevertheless, the experience hereby presented could contest this principle. Metaphors emerged and shared by teachers and students about their common teaching and learning activities, where clearly supported by the virtual working space; it promoted continuity of a process of sense-making, thus leading participants to live a kind of experience that allowed them to build new discourses about other cultures. The net – as part of a wider training vision – seems to offer the possibility to feature symbols and iconicity in a significant way, taking hence to recognition and re-signification of others’ cultural symbols – metaphors –, pushing a little but significant process of socio-cultural changing.

32 Hofstede, ibidem, p. 36.

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Returning to the point of online learning spaces as Communities places, or as Virtual Environment, I would like to make this point, concluding my argumentation: in effective learning processes (as the focus here of intercultural dialogue) technology seems to constitute a mean to allow conversations, which in time strength processes of sense making, inscribed into a subjective reality. Within this process, icons, words and symbols are used, building new contexts to allow new narratives (text). In fact, as it has been emphasized by Sharples, Taylor & Valvoula (2007),

The process of participating in a virtual space goes then far from building a “community of practice” (bottom-up vision) or creating a learning environment (top-down vision). There’s a dialectical relationship between learning and technology33, where interaction takes to a continuing process of reconstructing contexts through the exchange of symbols, icons, words, music, etc. If technological space is adequately proposed, if it allows access to the crucial information, and then usability: the consequence could be the generation of a semiotic space where social rules are re-created and reinforced, there’s engaging, and thus, meaningful intercultural learning occurs. In this case, recalling the idea of place of meeting (an Agorà), the Space generated the perception of a room where people introduced their diversity, shared goals and activities, and recognized otherness. Perhaps this gave to the participants the idea of a classroom without walls, in an enlarged cultural context where tensions among differences in search for dialogue could take place. If in the “real” (Face to face) educational spaces intercultural dialogue is heavily impregnated of the dominant-domestic culture (since activities are contextualized in a “place” with its past identity and history), the efforts of create “social” presence, introduce identities, and hence negotiating meanings, makes more evident the conception of “construction” of culturally hybrid human production. We should bear in mind, at this point, that these processes are not precluded to online learning environments : they are also possible in the physically situated learning experiences. The teachers’ capacity to play with cultural voices and artifacts introduced by its students in class, but also by discourses and facts coming from the outside world, should be the cue to build “enlarged cultural learning environments”. Of course the Web should have a key role in so doing. Much research will be necessary to analyze the way in which meanings from inside and outside “learning culture” of a certain group (in a certain classroom and school) are negotiated, producing culturally inclusive environments. The idea of two interacting but separated cultures, lying behind the intercultural perspective, is in my view somehow deprived from the potentialities of creation of new, hybrid cultures of learning, as a result of that process of interaction/dialogue. Hence, the recognition of dialogic spaces, as spaces of creation of new cultural

33

Intercultural learning on the Web

…learning not only occurs in a context, it also creates context through continual interaction- The context can be temporarily solidified, by deploying or modifying objects to create supportive work space, or forming an ad hoc social network out of people with shared interests, or arriving at a shared understanding of a problem…

Sharples et. al., ibidem, p. 231.

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meaning where “learning minorities” live their own account and narrative, should be considered in education. This does not entail a presumption of “equality” and consequently blurring of origins and belongings: a reflective approach to the process of meaning making, wisely conducted by the teacher, should enable dialogic processes that on one hand deconstruct beliefs, ideas, values, while working on the new knowledge and meaning construction, but without putting memory aside. As Bhabba expresses, building on the Bakhtinian perspective of hybridized new speech act (Bakhtin, 1981)

Raffaghelli

“...the concept of hybridity (…) makes possible the emergence of an intersticial agency that refuses the binary representation of social antagonism. Hybrid agencies find their voice in a dialectic that does not seek cultural supremacy or sovereignty. They deploy the partial culture from which they emerge to construct visions of community, and versions of historic memory, that give narrative form to the minority positions they occupy; the outside of the inside: the part in the whole...” (Bhabba, 1996, p. 58)

We should rethink intercultural dialogue, and the intercultural perspective within education, on this light, to avoid the commonplaces of naïve vision of otherness. A vision that keeps the différence far, that structures a stereotyped space for it within the dominant narrative in class – that of national curriculum, and of the teacher’s personal beliefs –, pretending that interaction is the only result of cultural encounters.

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CONCLUSIONS


Umberto Margiotta, Juliana E. Raffaghelli

Towards intercultural learning PERMIT’s learned lessons and the future

In the context of globalization, as we have demonstrated in this case study so far, intercultural education is receiving much interest. Connected to this, there has been a raising number of cultural studies, cross cultural approaches, as well as interventions to promote intercultural dialogue as part of a new mode of thinking education for the multiethnic society. In fact, culture has become an instrument for social interpretation and communicative action. As it has been emphasised in this book, the main goal of intercultural education is seen as the development of intercultural competence, which is the ability to act and relate appropriately and effectively in various cultural contexts. Intercultural competence is generally thought to require three components on the learner’s side: a certain skillset, culturally sensitive knowledge, and a motivated mindset. In greater detail, the skills, values, and attitudes that constitute intercultural competence include intercultural attitudes (like openness, curiosity, readiness); general knowledge (of the theoretical aspects of how social groups/products/practices work and interact); • skills of interpreting and relating (like making comparisons from one culture to another); • skills of discovery and interaction (like the ability to discover information about another culture and the ability to communicate in real-time interaction); • critical cultural awareness (like being able to consider different cultures coexisting with one’s own). The teacher’s task is to support the learner in all these aspects; if the teacher (and the learning environment) succeds, intercultural learning generate culturally competent learners. In the context of intercultural education, our ex-cursus have led us to recognize the importance of being aware of different subcategories of culture, namely, “little c” and “big C” culture. While the latter one could be called “objective culture” or “formal culture” referring to institutions, big figures in history, literature, etc., the first one, the “subjective culture”, is concerned with the less tangible aspects of a culture, like everyday patterns. In intercultural education, a mixture of these two forms of culture to be employed, but it is especially the apprehension of subjective culture that triggers the development of intercultural competence.

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Now this takes us to think carefully about the teachers’ actions: as we have highlighted in the first chapters in this volume, pedagogical practices have been frequently linked to the idea of transmission of knowledge, and the consequent development of cognitive skills by the students. The point here emerging clearly is how the teacher can enact learning processes that, being significative and authentic (from a constructivis point of view) can stimulate such a subjective and deep dimensions of the above mentioned subjective culture (little c).

Margiotta, Raffaghelli

Intercultural education requires educators to reflect to employ a mix of “little culture” and “big-Culture” approaches in order to address the larger issues of ethnocentrism, cultural self-awareness, because intercultural competence cannot be achieved by the single acquisition of knowledge about a specific culture or the pure ability to behave properly in that culture. The idea that “(big) Culture” repeats itself, commonly taken as a statement about historical determinism, emerges frequently within liberal discourses when consensus fails, and when the consequences of cultural incommensurability make social contexts unbereable for those trying to live within them. At such moments, the past is seen as returning dressed as the Culture, as a “patrimony” of knowledge, representations, values, beliefs, that make the people feel confident with their realities of meaning and their interpretation. The narrative proposed by the Culture seems to be transparent and lineal. The redifinion of nationalism, the claim for ethnicity and race, the idea of “national” identities and its institutions, take us to see just a Narrative of what has been the social engine of nineteen century. Underlying the signs of Culture shows the anxieties that provoke the same distruction of that ideals, the age of “identities and narratives”, the age of “cultures”. As Bhabba says: “...Narratives of historical reconstruction may reject (...) myths of social transformation: communal memory may seek its meanings through the sense of causality shared with psychoanalysis, that negotiates the recurrence of the image of the past while keeping open to the question of the future. The importance of such retroaction lies in its ability to reinscribe the past, reactivate, relocate it, resignify it. More significant, it commits our understanding of the past, and our reintepretation of the future, to an ethics of survival that allows us to work throug the present. And such a working through, or working out, frees us from the determinism of historical inevitability, repetition without difference...” (Bhabba, 1996, p. 60).

This means that teachers and their students (and all the actors involved in a determined educational space) are to consider themselves as part of laboratories of culture, not as trasmitters of the Culture, but as creators of cultures, collective narratives that give shape to the personal narratives, becoming hence inclusive spaces. This multi-voiced systems of human activity, as pointed out by Minello and Raffaghelli (on the basis of Margiotta’s concept of educational space), are the engine of engagement, participation and inclusion. An inclusion that cannot wait longer, if we take into account the problem (and also the richness) of the second generations. As Lazzari puts we still see approaches of permanent discrimination, especially in

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Europe (US, Canadian and Australian contexts are proven more welcoming with regard to the permanent settlement of immigrants; Sweden is an exception in Europe) being the persistent discrimination of the children of immigrants in the work environment and the environment of education and training. Second generations aspire to social roles and positions coherent with their education and training paths. Assimilation, as acculturation behaviour, implies the choice of not maintaining one’s own culture of origin and to favour frequent contact with the hosting culture, and other groups that are in the environment. We have also discussed here (Richieri; Raffaghelli and Minello) how teachers need to be prepared to tackle with such a complex learning process. It’s not only about creating learning environments, but rather the creation of “enlarged” spaces that, starting from the own teachers’ beliefs, supporting operations of deconstruction and reconstruction of meaning.

Considering the positive impact on intercultural sensitivity generated by the PERMIT project by spreading international residential seminars blended with networked learning over rather long periods of time, similar experiences should be shared and disseminated, in order to let new teachers know the educational gains brought about by meeting otherness on the Net, and promote their participation in similar activities. Furthermore, academics, researchers and teacher trainers should help them investigate their own disciplines’ epistemology in international networked learning activities both as pre-service and in-service training opportunities in which teachers can reflect on their discipline’s dimensions that can be affected by intercultural sensitivity and competence. For example, the European Commission is providing a policy context to promote teachers’ professional mobility (Comenius Projects: Lifelong Learning Programme, Strategic Priorities, 2010). Thus, introducing a perspective such as the one explored in this volume, can certainly improve dimensions of teachers’ professionalism, by creating intercultural environments for teachers’ professional development.

Conclusions

Teachers need to become aware of the importance of managing complexity induced by diversity at any level of learning experience. Teachers’ effectiveness depends on this awareness, which can generate appropriate educational actions.

Future research has several areas to explore in order to develop an intercultural approach to education. Just but examples are the reflection brought by anthropology and cultural studies to education, the pedagogical reflection on learning processes in multiethnic classrooms, the analysis of teachers’ professional learning; not to emphasize the important role of coherent research methods about such a complex field of educational research. The agenda should take into account an approach that goes from the “technicalities” of teaching and training methods, to study learning outcomes, the emerging identities, and productions in hybrid learning communities. From the other hand, it is interesting to explore the use of resources and tools, understanding learners and educators’ behaviors with regard to several “mediators” of learning as part of cultural constructions. Cultural meaning attached to tools (learning resources, spaces, interactions, within activity systems,

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as explained by Raffaghelli and Minello), could encompass a wide range of user’s reactions, being them also holders of a cultural perspective. For example, the use of technologies or technological devices, as well as the use of certain literary or art works could trigger very different reactions by the students coming from diverse experience. Future research should hence explore those reactions, in order to find, together with teachers, the better strategies to enact reflections with students that encompass critical positioning, inclusion, and the openness to remix and create new resources. However, whatever was the direction into which research about intercultural education did develop, researchers should consider a position as someone who have an ethnographic involvement within the communities being studied. It is a key implication that involves the deconstruction of the researchers’ position as representatives of the hegemonic culture that is frequently taught in class (this also applies to the centrality of language, that was not specifically treated in the PERMIT case). Such research perspectives, in line with a constructionist view, should incorporate “insider” views. This means that projects intending to research the construction of enlarged cultural contexts of learning should not be conducted entirely from an etic perspective, that is to say, entirely by researchers who share a particular cultural perspective and who are looking from outside. Projects should, in our view, be conducted by teams, which are themselves culturally diverse, for whom the construction of their own learning culture would be an acknowledgement outcome of research. This emic perspective was, within PERMIT study, foreseen, but never implemented completely; furthermore, this should be an important concern, considering the important raise of international cooperation in education, launched for example through the Lifelong Learning Programme in Europe. It does occur within all the developed countries’ societies that classrooms are constituted by an increasing number of immigrants; it also happen that learning communities are extended to several scenarios, by the use of Information and Communication Technologies. Hence, teachers and learners are already engaged in big “laboratories” of culture, that need urgently the sensitivity and intelligence of interventions aimed to explore and discover the richness of this spaces. This could be recognized as a one of the key competences for Lifelong Learning (European Commission, 2006), that of cultural awareness and expression, as the base for a new model of human development. The educational dispositive of the PERMIT project, could just be considered one case among others, towards the exploration of significant instruments to promote such awareness and expression.

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