Ideas for a non formal learning program in Intercultural sensitivity : A new category/tag for a new (collective?) project

Christian Schloe#1 The background

I’ve been working on a thesis about intercultural sensitivity and new media for a bit more than three years. With that, I think I’m continuing with a path of studies and experiences around cultures and intercultural learning that started with other disciplines (language and literature) and continues today in the field of qualitative research in education and informal learning.

What I want to do with this series of posts is to present ideas and collect information to be able to design a curriculum of studies based on intercultural learning. And I’m doing it through the blog to be able to organize thoughts and share with people interested in the same subject.

One of the reasons that took me to work on a thesis about intercultural sensitivity (from the point of view of education) was to be able to understand the process by which this kind of sensitivity can be developed through new technologies. Before that, and during the process of the research, I’ve been taking notes and brainstorming about the idea of building a non formal program based on new media and intercultural education.

I have been collecting different kinds of texts, quotes, talks, novels, writers and images that I think could work when talking about understanding cultural diversity and realizing how we are the result of mixes and exchanges that have happened through history and that continue to take place. In times like ours, in which we live under the illusion that sees Globalization as a phenomenon of our times, new approaches to cultural exchange in education are critical and long overdue.

Likewise, I see with the deepest concern how manipulating our vision of the Other has been an effective tool for a lot of political leaders when explaining most economic conflicts in the modern states of both East and West. As a traveler, as a xenophile, and as an immigrant as well, I have experienced and witnessed different ways of what seems to be fear of change, protection from the unknown and a complete disregard for people’s origins and sensitivities. And this, interestingly, has included dear, smart and caring friends, highly respected professors and specialists in the area of research in education and intercultural ‘problems’.

I say “interestingly”, because this is what actually took me to work with Intercultural sensitivity. I want to work with what goes behind good intercultural skills. A position in which you want to learn about other peoples and other cultures. The base of being aware and of the complexity of others while discovering how these “others” can take us to understand better our own selves.

I know I’m not alone in this concern. There are researches encouraging the design of more projects with this base. What I would like is to work in different models that can be adaptable to various cases.

And I want to start here. Writing, commenting, sharing and exchanging.

I have met and worked with wonderful people that can also recognize the ever changing colors of our experiences as a species, as groups, as countries and cultures. With this post and this new category/tag I’m hoping to find even more, and attract their attention. I would like to use this space to brainstorm, share ideas, advices or even work strategies. I’ve seen wonderful ideas take shape thanks to collaboration, online and offline. I’ve participated in different projects, I have found beautiful initiatives and met remarkable people like this. I guess it’s my turn to push the wheel rather than keep taking notes hoping for time and space to make this happen.

I believe the material gathered here will be useful for a number of people. From those already teaching intercultural approaches, designing programs for the world of business (who seem to look for a ‘practical’ solution to misunderstandings) or people that just like to add words to thoughts and experiences thanks to different authors and different media.

To be able to reach to a larger readership, I decided to publish this series of posts in English. The words will be simple, grammar mistakes will be around, but so will lots of links, authors, texts, books and videos. I should also say that it will all be spiced with a lot of the typical naiveté of new ideas (hence the image).

I’ll go with more concrete ideas in the next post to avoid publishing a super long one here. But this is the first step! Let’s start the conversation! What do you think about the project? You think you could add more to the sauce? Have you seen ideas like this done somewhere?

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