This highly innovative book takes a new look at the intersection between intercultural communication, intercultural education and global learning. It aims to change how intercultural learning is thought about through a focus on three key questions:
what are the key factors influencing what it is possible to learn from intercultural interactions?
how is learning particularly affected when the cultures involved have a former colonial relationship?
how can individuals and communities learn to live with, and learn from, difference?
In considering these questions, the book makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of how education can prepare future citizens equipped to deal with the uncertainties associated with ensuring the sustainability of life on earth."
Transforming Intercultural Learning" challenges a common belief that success in intercultural dialogue rests on the ability to communicate effectively, and the ability to find common ground across cultural differences. This book argues that while communication skills are important, how people relate inter-culturally is strongly influenced by the socio-historical contexts of those engaging in dialogue. The histories behind the relationship affect what is heard, how it is translated, and what it is possible to learn from each other. Additionally, although a focus on commonalities is important for creating a sense of connection between people, on its own it avoids the more challenging work of learning about and from differences.
Postcolonial studies show that Western knowledge is a binary knowledge system that frequently divides the world into self and Other, whereas non-Western knowledge systems are more relational in nature. If knowledge is perceived as an object to be acquired, intercultural learning can become a vehicle for acquisition of that knowledge with little thought being given to whether such gains are mutual or reciprocal. Equally, if countries of the global South are seen as locations for the production of caring and responsible global citizens, this can recreate patronizing intercultural relationships redolent of colonial times.
By viewing intercultural learning as a relational activity, it can be transformed from a venture that emphasises learning "about" cultures to a venture that emphasizes the importance of the space "between" cultures a space of relation and an "inter"-cultural space. This book proposes an approach to intercultural learning based on transformative, relational pedagogies. It argues that this will create environments and opportunities to develop more ethical relations, and examines what this might look like in practice through activities such as study visits and global partnerships. "