Designing a Course in Intercultural Education

Keywords: design, intercultural, cultural studies


There are a number of principles to be considered in the design of  intercultural education courses. The existing intercultural experience that participants have built from early childhood must be recognised as a major resource. Interculturality is a reflexive awareness of Self and Other in a crossing of boundaries which resonates with C. Wright Mill’s “sociological imagination.” A critical cosmopolitan notion of the third space concept is employed as an open rather than an intermediary space—a creatively investigative space which enables us to work on finding ourselves as new and even more enriched selves across boundaries, and where all of us are hybrid. The focus should be on self among others rather than the nature of difference between national or other large cultures. This resonates with the radical agenda of cultural studies, where there is critical intervention against structures of prejudice, with particular attention to countering what I refer to as powerful essentialist West as steward and “West versus the rest” discourses of culture. There is therefore a postmodern and constructivist interrogation of ideological constructions of the intercultural that commonly push the recognition of important cultural realities to the margins. These principles are applied along with the need to learn how to avoid essentialist blocks and choose threads from our personal cultural trajectories that draw us together. The paper concludes with suggestions for intercultural education events that apply these principles. This is written in the inclusive third person to signal a final principle that intercultural educators are joining with their participants in working out their own interculturality.

Author Biography

Adrian Holliday, Canterbury Christ Church University

Adrian Holliday is Professor of Applied Linguistics & Intercultural Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK, where he supervises doctoral research in the critical sociology of language education and intercultural communication. The first half of his career was spent in Iran, Syria and Egypt as a curriculum developer.

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