Pause for Thought

Intercultural education is not a closed program that may be repeated without continuous modifications. On the contrary, not only is the range of possible intercultural activities very wide, but we also have to question continuously what we are doing and why. It is impossible to buy a magic formula that can guarantee us success.

To help us know how and where to place the limits of each informal intercultural education activity we should try to be aware of the following factors:

The content and the extent of the activity we are intending to organise­. There is a saying in Spain, which sums it up nicely: "We cannot pretend to hunt an elephant with a fishing-rod".

The context in which we are going to work and the limits it imposes on us. The motivation of the participants will differ according to the venue and their motivations to attend.

The level of acquaintance and relationship we have with the young people with whom we are going to work. If we know them well and know that we can plan long-term this will have an effect on our objectives. Our planning process changes if we are going to organise a one-off activity with young people we don't know yet.

The level of participation in the activity. If they feel responsible for the outcome of an activity the results will be more positive than if the participants feel they have only a passive role to play.

On the other hand, we have to take into account that:

Isolated activities have limited effects. In intercultural education we are looking at values, attitudes and behaviour. Therefore, it would be desirable for each activity to be developed within a wider process. But this does not mean that we should turn down even limited opportunities to facilitate intercultural processes; it is mainly a question of tailoring our ambitions.

The meaning of the activities should start and must be referred to the participants' daily life. We are aiming to generate positive attitudes in our own environment and to link that environment with the rest of the world.

How we approach each informal intercultural education activity, will depend on our concrete possibilities to act and on the participants... We have used these ideas and principles in designing the activities for Part B, but we realise that it is neither possible nor logical to make hard and fast rules.

To sum up, it may be helpful to remember that:

• Starting from an active and dynamic methodology...

• we work with processes...

• through which and by means of information, analysis and critical reflection of reality...

• the participants in our work will find ways to:

• interact with people from other cultures positively in their daily life

• and will devise strategies to transfer that positive relation with people from other cultures into individual or collective actions

References for this chapter

Equipo Claves/Cruz Roja Juventud (1992): En un mundo de differencias ... un mundo diferente, Madrid

Bergeret, Jean-Marie (March 1995): "A propos d'interculturel/Re: Intercultural Learning" in Multiplier , European Youth Centre, Council of Europe, Strasbourg

Chisholm, Lynne (1995): "The Council of Europe's Youth Centre Past, Present and Future: an Interview with Peter Lauritzen" in Circle for Youth Research Co-operation in Europe, The Puzzle of Integration, European Yearbook on Youth Policy and Research, Volume One, De Gruyter, Berlin/New York

Colectivo AMANI (1994): Educación Intercultural. Análisis y resolución de conflictos, editorial popular, Madrid

Council of Europe (1995): DOmino - A Manual to use Peer Group Education as a Means to Fight Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-Semitism and Intolerance, Strasbourg

Dublin Travellers Education and Development Group (1994): Reach Out - Report by the DTEDG on the 'Poverty 3' Programme 1990-1994, Pavee Point Publications, Dublin

European Commission (1994): Community of Learning - Intercultural Education in Europe, Luxembourg

European Commission (1994): Report on the Education of Migrants' Children in the European Union, Luxembourg

European Youth Centre (1991): Intercultural Learning Basic Texts, Training Courses Resource File Volume 3, Strasbourg

Hope, A., Timmel, S. and Hodzi, C. (1985) Training for Transformation - A Handbook for Community Workers, 3 vols, Mambo Press, Gweru, Zimbabwe

Jones, Crispin and Kimberley, Keith (1986): Intercultural Education -Concept, Context, Curriculum Practice, Council of Europe, Strasbourg

Office of Multicultural Affairs (1994): Local Diversity, Global Connections (2 Volumes), Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra

Otten, Hendrik and Treuheit, Werner (1994): Interkulturelles Lernen in Theorie und Praxis, Leske + Budrich, Opladen, 1994

Perotti, Antonio (1994): Plaidoyer pour l'interculturel/The Case for Intercultural Education, Council of Europe, Strasbourg

Ruffino, Roberto (1995): "Interview about Intercultural Education" in International Christian Youth Exchange, ICYE Handbook - European Youth Exchanges, ICYE, Brussels

Rey, Micheline (1986, reprinted 1992): Training Teachers in Intercultural Education?, Council of Europe, Strasbourg

Vink, Caroline and Groot, Klaas (1994): Over en weer: werkboek internationale groepsuitwisselingen in het jongerenwerk, Stichting IVIO/Exis, Lelystad

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