Travel stop for Muslims from seven countries in America, meanwhile it was tipped again by courts. Discussions about refugees and Islam in Germany. According to a study, ten percent still rate the influence of Jews in Germany as high (Heinrich Böll Stiftung, 2016). In Germany as well as in other countries of the world (France, England, America), intercultural differences within society are increasingly being brought to bear in recent years.
Since we developed our project OCULAR last year and have implemented it for the first time, I am increasingly interested in the topic of culture. Especially in social media like Facebook there just seems to be a black and white thinking: Either you are for diversity or against it. However, a debate on what diversity and interculturalism mean, often does not appear in the commentary columns and discussions. Culture is equal to religion – point. I know your religion, I know who you are and how you behave.
But this is not true. Culture is not only a country, a region, or a religion-related behavior, but rather as the perceptions, patterns and actions of the individual. Through the education and imprinting of the environment they are condensed into a self-image, an own and lived culture. Interculturalism then means sensitizing and respecting the cultural, linguistic, or religious diversity of the members of a society. But:
What is intercultural education?
Traditionally, it is said that the parents’ house is responsible for communicating life experiences to a teenager. Forms of treatment, bureaucracy, etc. The parties are responsible for political decision-making according to the Basic Law (Article 21). But who is intercultural? From my point of view a difficult location. Family and friends can not afford this, because with their education they already strongly influence the cultural context of a person and therefore can not reflect the topic on a meta-level. Schools are described as having a qualification and integration function in the literature (Hintz et al., 1993, p. 118) and thus the task of preparing children and young people for the later social and professional life. Does this also include intercultural education? A good question that is probably a point of interpretation. At least I did not have any classes or project weeks during my school days, which seriously dealt with the topic of culture (yes, culture, not religion). Our OCULAR project for us, of course, has been a logical consequence of this realization. We wanted to go directly to schools, educational institutions and other groups to draw attention to the subject matter.
But what do you think: whose task is the mediation of intercultural competences?
We are looking forward to your opinion!