How do we approach the development of students on their understanding of the 20-point Intercultural Grid?
Through a coordinated approach to learning via The Arts, Mother Tongue, Languages other than Mother Tongue, Health & Physical Education, Mathematics, Science, Studies of Society & Environment & Technology as well as the other subjects within the curriculum, it is possible to bring a Global Perspective across the curriculum.
Through these very different strands of the curriculum in both Primary & Secondary we are able to view independent subject topics in a networked style. Topics such as Interdependence & Globalization, Identity & Cultural Diversity, Social Justice & Human Rights, Peace Building & Conflict Resolution & Sustainable Futures, can be approached from a variety of educational standpoints. This should allow children who have varying learning styles, access to knowledge in regard to these critical subjects.
For Finnish schools, we see the use of this to help students understand the nature and culture of their own country, its shared history with the Swedish speaking eastern states, the Sami and Roma cultures, its history; and that histories effect on its relations with its near neighbours Sweden, Norway & Russia, its close links with Estonia and the Baltic states all the way out to its place in Europe and its ties to European nation states, its place in the world today and its importance to migrants as a place of Technological & Educational achievement and for refugees as a place of safety.
Connected, are a set of triggers, questions and lesson ideas (From CARAP/FREPA) that can be used to develop and guide our students along the path to Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity, each school will of course develop their own methods for their own students.
In projects undertaken by lower grade students such as Chinese New Year, one will be able to judge the effects on the students in how they see and regard another culture and its language, this is a very visual project and can easily be undertaken in grade 3 or 4. We think something for the lower grade of 0, 1 or 2 should be built around who they are as students and the planet they inhabit, again a very visual project with links to their own families and the families of other children within the class. However for grade 0 or Pre Primary we very much feel that the lessons should be child lead, and that their participation within this project should always be at the discretion of Daycare leaders, in regard to how they feel younger children would be able to participate in something such as this, or indeed if the Grade 0 is the perfect time to prep the children for what will come in their future school years in regard to multicultural project work.
For the older years children from Grade 5 to 9, these children will already be learning new languages whether they be Swedish, English, French, German or Spanish, it is through theses subjects and projects connected to these subjects that any assessment can be done in the children’s continued Awareness, Realisation, Appreciation and Acceptance of other cultures and languages.
All of the materials are for Intercultural learning lessons.
A collection of material to support the 0-9 Language and Culture Grids
Within this website, we have collected together the Culture & Language Grids (in both English & Finnish), which have been designed based upon the Descriptor materials from the FREPA/CARAP Council of Europe work on Pluralinguilism and Pluralculturalism. These grids are to help provide an invaluable resource to teachers when approaching the ideas of Culture & Linguistics from a Pluracultural/Linguistic perspective.
It is our intention to provide links and ideas to back up these grids from the collected resources of FREPA/CARAP and the Local materials available within Oulu, as well as ideas from around the world, that link into Globalisation and Cross-Cultural education.
For local resource material we have links to the Kielisalkku program used within Oulu, and recommendations as to which suitcase can be used for which grade level and which educational sector IE Culture or Language.
Also linked within this folder is the Kielipassini (My Language Passport), the Kieltenoppimiskertomukseni (My Language Biography), as well as the Self assessment lists for the European Language Portfolio.
Our next step is to look at the contents of the Language Portfolio and see how it relates to the language Grid. In my view the Language Passport covers the actuality of what the children know, it is much more defined in what it wants the child to be able to do. Whereas the Language Grid is far more abstract, it attempts to identify what the child should or even could know, given the child’s access to other language speakers.
Of course at the very early stage of Pre-School, or even grades 1 and 2 of Primary School, there is no guarantee that the child will have had any contact with others of different cultures, or access to other language speakers in their personal lives. It is only via ideas they are exposed to at school that any contact outside their own culture may be possible.
Also contained within the Kielipassini is a self-test guide for assessing your own proficiency level from the end of grade 6. It is our opinion that the Kielipassini and the Language grid complement each other in the lower grades, up to grade 5 or 6, and that the Kielipassini creates a possibility to collate an effective base level of other language knowledge, whilst the Language Grid allows for the extension of the child’s understanding of other languages via a more abstract route.
Moving on to the ‘ My Language Biography’ this has a much more direct link with the Language Grid and to the Culture Grid, it contains specific correlation to the early grade part of the grid, in relation to the student’s hearing of other languages and connection to other cultures in their daily lives. It also focuses on the child’s want to learn about other languages and cultures, as does the Language & Culture Grid in grade 3 & 4 in its view of the child’s desire to be involved in activities based upon other languages, and a willingness to be exposed to other cultures inside and outside of school.