Many school-aged children experience cultural diversity every day. Whether that’s classmates who have relocated with their families, friends from a different ethnic background, or even teachers who have moved to a new country for work — people are more internationally mobile than ever, and it’s shaping societies everywhere.
Intercultural education teaches children to understand and accept people from different cultures and backgrounds. It encourages them to see diversity as a regular part of everyday life and sensitises them to the idea that we’ve all been formed by different cultural learnings and customs.
It also raises awareness of the cultural conditioning behind their own behaviour and beliefs — something many of us aren’t typically aware of. Through intercultural education, children also learn to respect other people’s views and deal with each other in a constructive manner, something they will take with them through to adulthood.
At Phorms, a network of seven bilingual schools in Germany, intercultural education is a regular part of the school day.
Many of its 769 staff members come from countries all over the world, including South Africa, the USA, Australia, and the UK — it’s a truly international environment where kids are taught in both German and English from nursery school to the end of year 12.
Each teacher adheres to the state’s curriculum while bringing with them best practices gained throughout their international teaching experience. This means children are exposed to an amalgamation of teaching methods and cultural nuances every day.
Thembela Vischer, early childhood educator and kindergarten teacher at Phorms’ Josef-Schwarz-Schule, comes from South Africa and is just one of the many Phorms teachers that draws on her heritage to teach.