An Introduction and Breakdown of the 20 Point Intercultural Grid for Cross-Cultural Education, including an introduction to the display work for FREPA descriptors for use within the Finnish education system.
Based upon the work undertaken by CARAP/ The Council of Europe on “A Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches to languages and cultures” we have attempted to provide a much more useable and broken down framework in which adaptations of the FREPA descriptors are able to be viewed.
The descriptors themselves focus on the pluralistic approaches to language and cultures, these being a set of didactic (intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive) approaches involving the use of at least one or more varieties of language or culture within the teaching process.
By placing these descriptors within Word, PowerPoint and Prezi demonstration displays, the user can easily follow where each set of descriptors lead, be they Knowledge/Culture, Skills or Attitude. In doing this it is our intention to be able to break down the main points into useable segments for future use within the New National Core Curriculum
IE 0-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-9
In the implementation of these descriptors, it should be far easier for a teacher of any grade to pick up a copy or click open a display, and in doing so be able to view the areas in which his or her lessons should focus on Global and Cross Cultural Education, as well as to be a guide to help any student find his way in our cross cultural society.
The descriptors have at present been broken down and reorganised into their respective parts and are available here (see drop down menus), The drop downs contain the original CARAP/FREPA materials sourced from their pages on the Internet, the PowerPoint Framework, one for each descriptor Knowledge/Culture, Skills and Attitude the frameworks have been colour coordinated Blue for Knowledge/Culture, Orange for Skills and Red for Attitude.
The next set of drop downs contain a full set of descriptors broken down by grade level, you will find here Knowledge/Culture, Skills and Attitude for grades 0-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-9 each folder contains all the CARAP/FREPA information laid out by level. Using the FREPA descriptors we have displayed the work to show how Useful, Important or Essential each point is, again this is done by colour coding Useful is Green, Important is Orange and Essential is Red.
Finally we have the 20-point Intercultural framework for children from Grade 0 (Pre Primary) to Grade 9. This grid focusing on the Culture aspect of the FREPA/CARAP descriptors rather than the Language attempts to breakdown the entire CARAP/FREPA descriptor framework into an easily viewable single page. In addition to this we have a matching grid, which is devoted to the questions we should be asking when teaching/in a classroom, and a selection of lesson ideas for use within this context and the school subjects in which these questions and projects could be tackled.
In doing this we have to be very precise in what we mean by Culture. Culture is a word that can be, and has been used in conjunction with many different viewpoints; from the Culture of a single civilisation, its religious practices and its ideas on community, its beliefs and perceptions that influence human behaviour, to a very fine definition of Culture being how one views the arts. To define Culture as a whole one should look no further that T.S Eliot’s 1948 work “Notes towards the Definition of Culture” It should be pointed out though, that even Eliot understood the limitations of understanding another culture “Understanding involves an area more extensive than that of which one can be conscious; one cannot be inside and outside at the same time” Eliot was also very precise on what he felt Education to be able to provide “For the schools can transmit only a part, and they can only transmit this part effectively, if the outside influences, not only of family and environment, but of work and play, of newsprint and spectacles and entertainment and sport, are in harmony with them”
In our use of the term Culture we are intent on the meaning to include as many possible aspects of other communities, religions and practices as our understanding allows. We have tried to contain all of the major points of the FREPA/CARAP descriptors and the framework is again colour coded for ease of use.
Within the framework, we have intended to show the growth that students will be aiming to achieve within their understanding of the various cultural aspects, which they will face. We wanted to build something akin to Blooms Taxonomy (Division into ordered groups or categories) of Cognitive Levels those being:-
Yet for our purpose we need to redefine, or simplify these terms for our framework. The four levels that we are intending to use are:-
These four levels, although encompassing the ideas we wish to develop, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Global Education and Cross Cultural Learning, it is how the individual child approaches them, and the way in which they understand them that is of vital importance, for instance Awareness leads to Curiosity but just because the child shows Awareness does not mean that they will be necessarily Sensitive to other cultures. In the same vein that having Appreciation, does not lead to one showing Willingness to become involved with projects that connect to other cultures. It is only through the stages of Awareness, Realisation, Appreciation and Acceptance that we are able to attempt to guide positively our students along the road to Intercultural Sensitivity. It is on this journey that the child will learn to Compare, Negotiate & Question their place within their own culture and the culture of others.
These four levels should not be considered to be logical steps that children will progress through, IE A child may show Acceptance before they show Appreciation and in some cases a child although Appreciative of other cultures may for some cultural reasons not show Acceptance of said other cultures. As teachers and educators it is our job to guide the child, in ways that help them make decisions, not make their decisions for them.
In creating these levels we are very aware of the ideas that form the backbone of the Oulu/SIKU strategic development guide. In the ideal of a city being able to hold true to its own principles, it is our view that each individual must also aim to achieve an understanding and grounding in those same principles, those being Fairness, Courage & Responsibility. We feel that our view of Awareness, Realisation, Appreciation & Acceptance, can only be a benefit to each child on their educational journey.
We are also aware of the intended purpose of the idea of multicultural and cross-cultural learning, and the idea of Cultural Diversity. We have fully taken into account the factors within the Kulttuurinen monimuotoisuus ja kielitietoisuus in section 4 of the Luonnos Perusoeptuksen Opetussuunnitelman Perusteiksi 2014. The needs of this educational plan have been paramount within the drafting of our 20 point inter-cultural framework.
In building this framework we have been able to research many ideas on Global Education and on the whole have found them to be extremely encouraging, in particular we would like to reference the Global education package put together by the Australian government early in the 2000’s, as well as the Finnish “Schools Reaching Out to a Global World” PDF, included within this is the report on the Seinajoki School program of “World Within our Reach” a Global Education program that was undertaken in 2011, (the Seinajoki program was designed for Upper Secondary students). These documents are a fascinating exercise on how to include Global Education within a Curriculum. In our opinion they all match almost perfectly with the Grid we have designed from the CARAP/FREPA descriptors, and can be viewed here.
The Australian Global Education cross curriculum plan has some elements that can be adapted for the Finnish system, we have used this within our Global Perspective material for use with the Culture & Language grids.
In addition to the Culture aspect of education we have been looking at the Language and Linguistic side, we have attempted to create the same grid for Language as we have been able to do with Culture. This grid is again a 20-point guide from Grade 0 to Grade 9, and includes the same 4 level progression of Awareness, Realisation, Appreciation and Acceptance. We feel that by keeping the grids similar it will be easier for any teacher to assess competence in his or her student’s abilities, their needs and their progression along their individual journey towards understanding of other Cultures and Languages.
Our next step is to look at hands on material that can be used within the schools in conjunction with these grids. It is our opinion that the work is already to some extent being undertaken in schools and no or very little extra work will be needed. (This material follows the main text)
In our opinion the ability for all children to become culturally sensitive, and accepting of others in this Pluracultural world already exists, and is being taught at all levels of our school system, but it is just that we are not fully assessing their competences for it, or taking it into full consideration, we believe that in the judicious use of these markers, that we can help every child become, or be on the path to becoming Global citizens by the time that they graduate from grade 9, and enter the world of higher education.
In addition this framework is an excellent tool for laying the groundwork for students to continue once in higher education, in the continuance of their language studies, towards the goal, of attaining a Certilingua qualification for their uses of 2 or more languages and their understanding of the cultural complexities of their surroundings and the wider aspects of communication with various cultures within Europe and beyond.