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Policies and Practices for Teaching Sociocultural Diversity - Concepts, Principles and Challenges in Teacher Education

Policies and Practices for Teaching Sociocultural Diversity - Concepts, Principles and Challenges in Teacher Education

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Published by Council of Europe
Future teachers require specific training on democratic culture and social cohesion. By focusing on reflective thinking, training can enable them to situate themselves in diverse environments, develop a clearer sense of their ethnic and cultural identities and examine attitudes to different groups.
Improving diversity management at school in Europe begins with initial teacher training establishments. This book is designed to provide a basis to help ensure that the needs of future teachers in this regard are met. It puts forward 18 "diversity competences" that were identified by a team of European specialists in teacher training between 2006 and 2009.
In order to open up the debate on competences, four consultation sessions were organised in Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Estonia. These sessions provided an opportunity to discuss these competences with key players (civil servants, government representatives, teacher trainers, head teachers, researchers, teachers and students) from a national and topic-based perspective.
Future teachers require specific training on democratic culture and social cohesion. By focusing on reflective thinking, training can enable them to situate themselves in diverse environments, develop a clearer sense of their ethnic and cultural identities and examine attitudes to different groups.
Improving diversity management at school in Europe begins with initial teacher training establishments. This book is designed to provide a basis to help ensure that the needs of future teachers in this regard are met. It puts forward 18 "diversity competences" that were identified by a team of European specialists in teacher training between 2006 and 2009.
In order to open up the debate on competences, four consultation sessions were organised in Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Estonia. These sessions provided an opportunity to discuss these competences with key players (civil servants, government representatives, teacher trainers, head teachers, researchers, teachers and students) from a national and topic-based perspective.

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Published by: Council of Europe on Nov 04, 2010
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01/10/2013

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The political context – Introduction
WorkontheconceptualframeworkofthenewprojectonPoliciesand Practices for Teaching Sociocultural Diversity went onthroughout 2005 in the Secretariat and in the Bureau of theSteering Committee for Education (CDED), and it was adoptedat the committee’s plenary session of October 2005.Several events which occurred that year inuenced the work asit progressed, some of these at the highest political level withinthe Council of Europe, and others in the context of intergovern-mental co-operation in the education sector. The objectivespursued during this project have been tailored to meet the wishexpressedbytheHeadsofStateandGovernment,meetingatthe3rd Summit (Warsaw, May 2005), for recognition of the need topromote a democratic culture and to encourage interculturaldialogue, both amongst Europeans and between Europe and itsneighbouring regions.Previously, the European Ministers of Education, meeting at the21st session of their Standing Conference, held in Athens inNovember 2003, had redened the objectives of co-operation inthe education eld in Europe, and acknowledged the role ofintercultural education in, and the major contribution made bythe Council of Europe to, the maintenance and development ofthe unity and diversity of European societies.Then came the Faro Declaration on the Council of Europe’sStrategy for Developing Intercultural Dialogue, adopted inOctober 2005, at the end of the celebrations marking the50th anniversary of the European Cultural Convention; thisdened several lines of action pointing to future priorities forintergovernmentalco-operationintheeducationsector,tallyingwiththeconcernsexpressedbytheMinistersofEducationattheirAthens conference, such as:respect for cultural rights and the right to education;the introduction of inter-sectoral policies promoting culturaldiversity and dialogue;
 
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Policies and practices for teaching sociocultural diversity
development of knowledge of history, cultures, arts andreligions;support for cultural activities and exchanges as a means ofengaging in dialogue;the strengthening of all the opportunities for teachers toobtain training in the elds of education for democraticcitizenship,humanrights,historyandinterculturaleducation.
1.1. Teacher training: a priority for Council ofEurope intergovernmental co-operationin the eld of education
It is in this context, and in order to take action on the politicalprioritiessetbytheMinisters,thattheCouncilofEuropesSteeringCommitteeforEducation(CDED),asearlyas2006,steppedupitsactivity on teacher training through the gradual introduction oftraining modules for teacher trainers in several elds of activity,suchaseducationfordemocraticcitizenship,theEuropeandimen-sion of education, the education of Roma children, and theteaching of history and languages.While the emphasis was placed mainly on the production ofteachingtoolsbasedonmethodologicalconcepts,principlesandapproaches and on examples of learning activities in these dif-ferent elds, the development of new skills remains a constantconcern,especiallybecausethequestionofhowteachersacquireskills has to be considered, and because, in most cases, the skillsacquired remain closely linked, and limited, to the specic eldsof each subject taught.It is therefore a worthwhile step for the Council of Europe toconsider the creation of a reference framework to serve as acommondenominator,encompassing“core”fundamentalskills.Were this common denominator to be “education for diversity”,theskillsthatappearedinthereferenceframeworkwould,oncetheyhadbeenacquiredandapplied,provideteachersandeduca-tion professionals in general with means of successfully copingwith our societies’ growing diversity.
 
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The Council of Europe project
1.1.1. The project and its objectives (2006-2009)
In this process, the crucial role clearly devolves to initial trainingestablishmentsandtrainingprogrammeswhichhavenotyetbeenthe focal point of a Council of Europe project. The Policies andPractices for Teaching Sociocultural Diversity project is intendedprecisely as a response to certain key questions connected withinitialteachertrainingandtheintroductionofcommonprinciplesto the management of school diversity. It is therefore addressedmainly to education policy makers, and more specically toteacher trainers.The Steering Committee for Education wished to develop thisproject through three separate phases:1. Phase 1, 2006-2007: analysis of the teacher training pro-grammes available in a number of states to provide teacherswith the skills they need to manage socioculturally diverseclasses;2. Phase 2, 2007-2008: preparation of a skills framework foryoung teachers relating to education for diversity;3. Phase3,2008-2009:preparationofreformguidelinesthroughtraining sessions and the raising of awareness among themain parties.This project has two main features:1. Itrelatestothetrainingofteacherswhosejobitistopreparenew generations for a future of variety and differences.2. It regards sociocultural difference not as a neutral concept,but as one accompanied by discrimination and inequalitieswhich need to be combated through dynamic nationalpolicies, which are one of the Council of Europe’s majorconcerns.
1.1.2. Sociocultural diversity: content and context
If diversity is regarded as a value, it has to be assumed that oursisasocietywhichnotonlyacknowledgesdiversity,butisalsoableto manage and enhance it. Enhancement, in particular, is animportant issue, quite distinct from the tendency to categorise

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