Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Call for Project Partners: Tolerance Education in Multicultural Society

Description of the project

Tolerance education in multicultural society (TEMS) is a framework training programme for student-teachers, in-service-training teachers and all others who work in NGOs, particularly with minorities, immigrants, asylum seekers. It prepares them to work with children in a multicultural environment giving them knowledge and experience of minority cultures presented in the CR, particularly Romany. It is a multidisciplinary programme whose major innovation is to bring together themes (HRE and Education for Citizenship among them) which are rarely touched upon in teachers training . TEMS is a mix of cognitive and participative teaching methods aimed at changing teachers' and students' attitudes, making them more open-minded and tolerant.

Background

Teacher training is often reduced to learning about various teaching methods and aspects on teacher attitudes towards pupils are neglected. In societies which until recently were monocultural and where minority issues were not discussed, this leads to teachers having difficulties to face and react to increasing cultural differences among pupils. E.g. the significant minority - the Romany, who have a different attitude towards learning than the Czechs, require particular attention. The common way – to put these children in so called “special schools” - leads to isolation and stigmatisation. Unfortunately, only those teachers who were teaching in the special schools were prepared how to teach children with difficulties and how to reach special ethnic groups as Romany.

At the same time, there are other “new” forms of racist behaviour in Europe (anti-Semitism, anti-Islamism,) which lead to increasing tension in the society. TEMS strives to prevent it via exchange of educational programmes for young people

H-P HREC has more than ten years of experience with education for human rights, tolerance and democratic citizenship. There are about seven text books on this topic (latest from the year 2008) which are available as background teaching material. Particularly, basic forms for education of Roma minority are currently developed. To be able to share our positive experience with other, we need to cooperate with partners who have similar experiences e.g. with education of children from “Arabic (Islamic) world”. However, future project must be realized in common language for all partners. We propose English.

Objectives

The major objective of TEMS is to develop methods, skills and knowledge which would enable the successful development of a multicultural society. These goals can be:

  • increasing the quality of teachers training,
  • increasing the legal and civil consciousness of students on subjects of human, children and minority rights,
  • promoting the tolerant cohabitation of different cultures,
  • developing participants' interest in active citizenship,
  • enabling the participants to run human rights or/and democratic education courses in their own settings.

Programme

The programme is realized in the form of a multidisciplinary course. It combines subjects as history, psychology, pedagogy, sociology and politics in addressing topics such as:

  • intercultural dialogue,
  • how to work with minorities,
  • the possibility of inter-religious dialogue, etc.

The course combines cognitive and participative methods, giving factual information, but also using debates, games and simulations. TEMS is rather a course how to teach in a multicultural environment. H-P HREC uses for the course its experiences with the 120 lessons course practiced as the “good practice” for Romany pedagogical assistants. The basic recognition on which the programme is based :

TEMS consist in the elucidation and explanation of characteristics and attitudes, to support human rights through the cultivation and interpersonal relations. The decisive educational tool is a cleat and simple approach which is acceptable and understandable by children of different ages and cultural backgrounds.

From the year 2009, the programme should be developed in three substantial phases:

1. As starting point, the project describes and summarizes specific phenomena of racism in EU countries, addressing e.g. Anti-Romany, Anti-Muslims, etc. (Anti-Semitic, Anti-Slavic) forms, racism as well as colonial racism. This will not only include dimensions of social assumption but also dimensions of (biographical) experience. The next analytical step will be to work on the specifications of existing interventions critisizing racism, primarly in pedagogical fields. Subsequently, we will look at social representations of racism and their causes with education professionals.

2. Individual partners will design concepts and materials for didactical practice and find (exchange) the common ground for all. Two core methods will be used: comparative studies and didactical reconstruction. The comparative method will help to identify the common ground for all involved countries - and then to add specific 'tools' for each country. The concept of didactical reconstruction will help to develop the concepts. Specific tools of TEMS education for each country will be shared via on-line workshops of students.

3. Strong emphasis will be on producing contextual (European) material, taking into account also variations of educational praxis. Materials of the 'general knowledge' and 'personal perspective' of educational professionals will not become an obstacle for implementation but rather contribute to the success.

Time table of the project

Project period: January 2009 - December 2011.

HP HREC applied for granting from the ESF, 3. Social integration and equal opportunities for the proposed project for a period of 36 month. (Deadline for application is October 2008.)

We will be happy to find a partner (or co-operator), particularly experienced with education of children from Islamic minority. The budged of the project will differ according to the possible partnership, but professional expenses of the partner should be fully covered. The programme would be regularly monitored what is the way how to feed results, new ideas and other feedback into the course content.

Expected outcomes of the project

1. Edition of an textbook on education against social exclusion (in English)

2. Organization of educational courses on education against social exclusion.

3. 20 secondary schools participating in this project (at least one educator from each school participating in the proposed courses).

4. Two online monitoring workshops of students from participating schools.

For further information please contact: HUMANITAS-PROFES – Human Rights Education
Ms Alena Kroupova: kroupova@email.cz