Intercultural engagement through pedagogical practices

Year: 2013

Author: Cloonan, Anne, Fox, Brandi, Ohi, Sarah

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Previously, in Victoria, Intercultural Understanding was embedded in the context area of ‘Languages Other than English' and taught by LOTE specialist teachers. Positioned in the new National Curriculum as a ‘General Capability' it will become the shared responsibility of all Australian teachers and so directly impact on them and their pedagogical practices. This prioritizing of Intercultural Understanding acknowledges the role of pedagogical practice in developing national and international social cohesion as well as meeting national economic imperatives (MCEETYA 2008, Banks 2011). The diverse social context of schooling is one in which many students experience negative intercultural experiences (Mansouri et al 2010) and yet it is also a site rich with potential for positive intercultural experiences and development of cosmopolitan dispositions (Noble, 2013 Rizvi 2009; Lo Bianco 2006); particularly ‘vernacular' cosmopolitanism (Robbins, 1998; Turner 2010). Drawing on case studies from two primary schools participating in an ARC-funded national research project, this presentation considers the impact on teachers' attitudes and pedagogies as they reflect on and enact teaching to promote intercultural understanding. With a focus on critical engagement with texts (including student, teacher and community multimodal texts) the teachers design pedagogies to support the three key areas recognising culture and developing respect; Interacting and empathising with others; and reflecting on intercultural experiences and taking responsibility (ACARA, 2012). Vicarious, virtual and face-to-face opportunities for enhancement of self-awareness and cultural acknowledgment; experiencing and exploring cultural difference; and for critical reflection on cultural encounters (Bredella, 2003) will be explored. Of interest is teacher and student agency (Fielding, 2001; 2004) in the selection of resources, development of knowledge, critical reflection and approaches to dealing with sensitive issues.