Challenging the Ethnocentric Educational Model: Workshop materials and report (TCAU)

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Challenging the Ethnocentric Educational Model. The Role of Intercultural Education of Local Communities for the Integration of Migrants and Refugees

The education of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees constitutes a shared challenge for several EU member states. This is mainly due to school and local communities’ readiness to deal with changing conditions and reflect the dynamic character of the migration phenomenon, on the one hand, and the manifold roles that the educational system has to play, on the other. There are various reports and good practices implemented in EU Member States, from which we can gain knowledge and experience in order to integrate both migrant children and adults in the educational system. However, it is not only migrants and refugees who have to be educated in order to situate themselves in a new cultural setting. It is also local communities that have to reassess their ethnocentric perspective in order to co-exist peacefully with the newcomers in a new intercultural reality. Building on the knowledge offered by both theoretical considerations and good practices for promoting mutual progress of newcomers and the local communities, the workshop aims to bring forward ideas and policy recommendations related to the locals’ intercultural education, as well as the possible ways with which the local authorities and communities can face these challenges.

You can access the workshop results HERE

The workshop used the World Cafe methodology. The method is applied to enable a structured and collaborative dialogue around carefully and logically formulated questions. It aims to facilitate the discovery of a particular subject in depth while organically creating a network dynamic among participants. In the particular case, the subject to uncover was the linkages and interplay between education systems and integration of individuals with migrant or minority background. The World Café setting not only offers participants the possibility to express and exchange ideas but also to carry key findings to new tables in each round. Thus, they link the essence of each unit and round to an ever-widening circle of thought.

Participants were divided in 8 groups. Each group was reshuffled in each round of questions through random changes of seats and tables of the participants. Each table had a stable rapporteur who kept notes of the discussions and briefed the new groups in each round about what have been previously discussed. Participants were also encouraged to record the discussion. The bulk of ideas is shown on the flip charts produced at each table. Connections among the conversations are visible and reflect the patterns of idea-travel. The last phase of the Café, often called “harvest”, makes the pattern of wholeness visible to everyone in a final presentation of the notes by the rapporteurs and discussion in the larger group.

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The workshop was held in the framework of the international conference “Re-framing the Migrant Situation in Europe. Critical Issues in Policy-Making and Cross-disciplinary Approaches”. The conference was part of ‘The Citizens are United (TCAU)’ project, which is co-financed by the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme of the European Union.