ISJ April 2015: Valuing languages and cultures – the first step towards developing intercultural understanding
We live in a world where intercultural understanding could not be a more important competence to develop in ourselves, each other and in the children we teach. We learn and work in a highly diverse, interconnected and interdependent world. We face a range of global issues that requires us to develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, values and attitudes to communicate and collaborate across cultures and borders. And as learning occurs more and more in virtual environments and on social media platforms, it is important to develop an awareness of intercultural sensitivity in a digital environment.
Valuing languages and cultures is the first step towards developing intercultural understanding. As educators, valuing languages and cultures should be at the heart of what we believe is essential in our schools, yet too often they are not reflected in our learning spaces and practice, but merely written about in our mission statements or on our websites. Cultural and linguistic differences are resources that enrich our lives.