ISJ November 2013: Globally-minded students: defining, measuring and developing intercultural sensitivity
In this first of two papers, I argue that intercultural sensitivity is a critical part of being globally-minded (or interculturally minded in IB terms) and therefore needs to be understood, measured and developed.
I begin with a study of culture, identity and group interaction. After examining the validity of culture as a concept, I will examine the associated ideas of intercultural awareness, intercultural sensitivity and intercultural competence. The case for fostering intercultural sensitivity, as a core principle of global-mindedness, will then be made.
I contend that in an international school our cocktails of cultures are stirred but rarely shaken. In other words, I believe that we skirt around engaging in true cultural discussions and minimize differences to find a middle ground. On a continuum from ethnocentrism to ethnorelativism, this is considered a midway point. Is this where international schools wish to be?