Intercultural education prepares children, students and teachers for life in a diverse society. It helps us to…
Intercultural education should not rehash stereotypes or offer “folklore tourism”.
Intercultural education is also an important tool for creating change the Czech education system into an inclusive system – a system where anyone, no matter their age, language, physical abilities, gender, sexual orientation or skin colour, can fully develop their potential and be respected for who they are. Intercultural Education provides us with tools to support the process of discovery and understanding.
We create and test educational programmes and materials for teachers and students. We prepare methodology and learning activities that develop self-reflection, dialogue, active listening and communication. We explore ideas that go beyond the traditional classroom setting, such as the cooperation between school and family, the climate of a school or active citizenship.
We look for theoretical underpinnings as well as practical assessment of the methods with which we work. In order to do that, we cooperate with academics in the field of education and psychology, as well as with faculty members in schools.
We work with Czech and foreign experts on exchanging and relaying good practices to the Czech education system. Two examples are the Persona Dolls teaching technique and anti-bias education.
We organize events, such as panel discussions or parent-teacher conferences, for students, parents, teachers, school officials, representatives of parents’ associations, regional education unions and Education Ministry representatives. We want to foster an effective exchange of ideas among all the people who can influence the state of the education system.
We support teachers’ professional growth through seminars and individual consultation. We offer additional education, a space for an exchange of experiences, supervision and professional consultation. We also prepare theoretical e-learning programmes for teachers, as well as for university students.
We strive to achieve the following within the Czech education system:
Instructors who, with their teaching, show varied perspectives and values that reflect the world the students live in and the environment in which the school exists. They are able to reflect on their own values and to accept the students and their diversity.
Students who know their own identities and values. They are aware that their identity develops with time. They are able to lead a dialogue with others, they respect the values and opinions of others, they can empathize, see different perspectives and solve problems together.
Schools that are places where all children are accepted. The school environment caters to specific children that attend it and their families. Schools, for example, provide information in the languages that the students’ families speak, which helps them be more open to diversity.
An education system that is open to diversity on all levels and fully embraces it.
In our work with intercultural topics, first and foremost we rely on the personal experiences of the individual, which shape his or her cultural identity and background. We then enter into a dialogue, which allows us to discover the differences between our own identity and that of others. Later we look for ways to accept those differences in order to live together in one society with respect for each other. As part of intercultural education, we develop the following approaches:
The instructor creates a space for students to express themselves, being respectful of their individuality. With this approach, the instructor also shows students how to respect each other.
Self-expression requires one to understand one’s own values – what is important to me. Having individual freedom and being able to express oneself means the ability to be the person you feel you are, not the person you are labelled as being by those around you.
Intercultural education works with a range of categories – such as age, gender, language, appearance, citizenship, physical abilities and handicaps, social and economic standing, sexual orientation, religion – so that they do not become the singular bases for identifying people. It allows students to understand the wider implications of each of the categories, to discuss them and learn about their role in society. This is vital, because so often human rights and freedoms in our society are threatened on the basis of these categories, as for example on the basis of gender, age or sexual orientation.
The Varianty Educational Program of People in Need
120 00 Prague 2 Czech Republic
IČ: 25 75 52 77
DIČ: CZ 25 75 52 77
Tel: +420 226 200 467
Tel: +420 777 782 061