(Dr. Annette Deschner)
“Exchanging Culture Shakes: A Teacher Manual for Multilingual and Transcultural School Exchanges” is designed for teachers preparing a school exchange focusing on culture and language sensitive learning objectives for learning groups with different mother tongues. This manual is a ready to use handbook with hands on tasks which can be used right away for a multilingual and transcultural school exchange. Besides this there is a section with the theoretical background for every task.
CUSHA priorities are attained with the following actions:
1) Inclusive education: School exchanges with focus on tourist activities showed an increase instead of a decrease of pupils´ stereotypes. Thus GAPP and others promoted project work instead. “Exchanging Culture Shakes” takes this approach further and applies it to a globalised world beyond nations. This meets the needs of teachers and pupils in a hybrid educational space with a mix of cultures and languages. This intellectual output takes into consideration different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of pupils and their families. Besides the cultural and linguistic inclusion, the manual sets up tasks for inclusive schooling considering different cognitive ability levels. Three categories of differentiation are used for the different learning styles: task, support and outcome.
These approaches can be applied at any inclusive schooling and in particular at schools with refugees, because they are struggling with linguistic and cultural learning barriers. For example, at Baden-Wuerttemberg schools they are taught in special preparation classes (Vorbereitungsklassen). Common practice in the classroom is to use the school language – often times a language not understood by all learners and thus excluding part of the pupils (cf. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002210/221037e.pdf). The solution for this are multilingual methods. In the manual they will be included by strategies to provide multilingual material, the use of language biographies, time for learners in mother tongue groups, etc. In the manual there will also be a part about parents´ involvement to make them active members to ensure that pupils from any educational, linguistic or cultural background have the home resources to take part in school exchanges. Sometimes parents are afraid to put up an exchange student at their place. Strategies for this (e.g. buddies, youth hostel) and other situations are worked out in the manual. Refugee parents become active at an institutional level e.g. in an international board organising exchanges and thus get access to educational tools such as exchanges.
This meets the EU topics “inclusion and equity” and “integration of refugees”.
2) Open and innovative education, training and youth work, embedded in the digital era: the manual for teachers presents activities for a school exchange using the following ICT tools:
- Social media for ice-breaking before meeting face-to-face
- eTwinning with activities pupils can share on this platform
- Translation tools such as Google Translate, www.leo.org
- Geocache for the hosting town (e.g. a mystery cache with lines from Shakespeare)
This meets the CUSHA topics “ICT – new technologies and new digital competences”.
3) Addressing underachievement in the basic skills of literacy through more effective, innovative teaching methods: School exchanges being an extracurricular activity challenge school schedules. Providing literacy activities this manual helps to integrate school exchanges into curricula and learning objectives, e.g.: the language biography: pupils place and visualize their languages within their bodies, then tell and write about this. This method promotes multilingualism and language learning, writing and speaking skills as well as narrative competences required in history and other social sciences. The local culture approach by Mark Wagler (http://csumc.wisc.edu/WTLC/?q=teaching) is combined with integrative multilingual didactics. Therefore, mother tongues, migrant languages or foreign languages can be mixed in the learning environment. Local culture includes people´s languages, creations, behaviours, beliefs, institutions, and all their interactions with other people. It is a culture approach apart from national or ethnic culture definitions. This opens up culture for anyone including refugees.
This meets the CUSHA topics “inclusion and equity” and “integration of refugees”.
With this intellectual output the main focus is on the following EU and CUSHA objectives:
- bridge the gap between theory and practice in reference to cultural education
- promote basic and transversal skills (e.g. foreign language learning, cultural awareness)
- enhance digital learning
- develop the European dimension in education particularly through the multilingual focus