Empowering European teachers with intercultural training

by Tinna Sveinsdottir, Communication Coordinator, European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL)


In this article you will find out about:

  • The seventh annual Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange(FILE) focused on the intercultural training of teachers, and the recommendations and outcomes of this international event,

photo by Fondazione Intercultura

The Intercultural Training of Teachers: What, When, How? was the main theme of the seventh annual Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange (FILE) held in Colle Val d’Elsa, Italy in November 2016. FILE was convened by the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL), which is the AFS umbrella organization in Europe, the Intercultura Foundation, and the international division of AFS Intercultural Programs. At the Forum, 60 participants in the field of international youth exchanges and intercultural learning shared research and teacher training resources.

Participants included Ana-Maria Stan, representative of the European Commission, Joseph Huber, representative of the Council of Europe, and featured keynote speaker Kenneth Cushner, Professor of Multicultural and International Education at Kent State University, USA (see the full program and list of participants here). Cushner presented an overview of teacher training on intercultural competences. His presentation noted that teachers are a relatively homogeneous group (usually representing the dominant ethnic group in a region or country, for example), which may not encourage diverse perspectives in schools. Interestingly, Cushner also referenced research on schools where pupils are more interculturally competent than their teachers.

photo by Fondazione Intercultura

The lively and informative three-day event concluded with a series of recommendations:

  1. Educators worldwide need to embrace the importance of including intercultural learning in all subjects and all levels of education, from preschool to high school, and make it a part of teacher training.

EFIL takes the lead on creating teacher training programs

As an outcome of the 2016 Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange, and to further enable the intercultural learning for teachers and pupils, EFIL is leading an Erasmus+ project, “Intercultural learning for pupils and teachers” to create programs to be implemented over the next two years. The partnership will create a three-day training program that develops teachers’ intercultural competences, and then enables them to apply what they learn in the subjects they teach. The program will be piloted as a training for trainers, in August 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Partners on this project will also develop a toolbox with pedagogical methods, guidelines, activities and links to existing resources to be used by teachers. Find out more about this partnership in “Kick off of the Erasmus+ project Intercultural Learning for pupils and teachers”. For more information about AFS school-based programs go to “AFS helps schools around the world create intercultural initiatives”.

Connect: Intercultural Insights for Global Citizens

— curated by AFS Intercultural Programs

AFS Intercultural Program

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AFS is a community of 50+ Partner organizations, supported by 44,000 volunteers worldwide, who provide global exchange and intercultural opportunities.

Connect: Intercultural Insights for Global Citizens

— curated by AFS Intercultural Programs