Presentation of baseline study results on intercultural education in universities
On 21 December 2018, at the Educational Center PRO DIDACTICA, the team of the project Promoting and developing intercultural education in the initial teacher education and the group of sociologists, who conducted the study of the current situation regarding the development of intercultural competence in 3 universities (Moldovan State University, “Alecu Russo” State University from Balti and Comrat State University) presented the results of the baseline evaluation.
In the assessment of the initial situation were involved about 150 students, 49 teachers and over 40 managers from different levels. As evaluation tools were applied questionnaires and group interviews. Diagnosing the situation on ICE at faculties with a pedagogical profile was necessary before the start of the project, during which the university professors will be guided in the elaboration of the curriculum for the optional discipline “Intercultural Education” and of the respective module from other subjects’ curricula.
The analysis of the problems faced by managers of higher education institutions, teachers teaching subjects in the field of education sciences and students confirmed the necessity of addressing the topic. Coming from multi-ethnic and diverse cultural backgrounds, students demonstrate an understanding of the current situation – in a Europe that is so diverse in terms of culture, ethnicity, religion, and depth of the impact that students can have on pupils by ignoring problems that generate ignorance, stereotyping, discrimination, intolerance, segregation etc. As future pedagogues, they see the ways of solving conflicts in informing and training the subjects.
Teachers, in turn, find that the cultural diversity of students can only be beneficial for the formation of their intercultural competency unless they are harnessed strategically, tactfully, wisely, and having distinct ends. In this context, the envisaged elaboration of documents that will facilitate curriculum development and optimization in pedagogical institutions will be conceived as a deepening (some content units of disciplines in the area of education sciences will be studied in depth); Extension (one of the content units and certain competencies will be complemented by the new optional course, which will include new content and extended skills); Extension (one of the content units and certain competencies will be complemented by the new optional course, which will include new content and extended skills); Integration (the course will be designed to intersect and overlap disciplines, combining skills and content from the various disciplines currently taught) or Innovative (new courses will be developed with a topic that were not addressed in the existing approved curricula for now).
In this regard, the specific training needs of university teachers were harnessed through a final evaluation of the activity and its results identified the key points of the future tasks within the project: providing teachers with a wide theoretical support; exercising different ways of conceptualizing the necessary curricula; studying the experience of other countries; valorizing the experience of school teachers involved in the National Youth Council of Moldova (CNTM) projects, etc.
Tatiana Cartaleanu, expert