Bilingual and Intercultural Education

The reason why I chose this topic is because I am from an intercultural family, My wife is from America who speaks only English, I am a Chinese and we live and work in China, we have two sons who are naturally bilingual and intercultural, and they are currently receiving intercultural Education from my own school. My wife and I both work in a bilingual school near Shanghai, the majority of our students are native Chinese speakers,  but English is the only official language in school, most of the classes we have and standards we adopt are western culture based such as IB, AP courses, and common core state standards or NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). So intercultural for me is everywhere from life to work.

I believe bilingual and intercultural education is really important because understanding each other is the very first step in seeking common ground in spite of differences and solving conflicts. As the Director-General of UNESCO mentioned in her article, Individuals become interculturally competent through learning and life experience for successful living in the modern complexity of our heterogeneous world and consequently they become prepared to appreciate diversity as well as to manage conflicts in accordance with the values of pluralism and mutual understanding.[1]

Ranging from different background couples in one family to different races and religions in one world, it is vital to teach them harmony and peaceful coexistence. In 2012, UNICEF and the government of the Netherlands began an ambitious and unprecedented journey to change the way education was delivered to children and young people in countries at risk of, experiencing, or recovering from violent conflict.[2] Although my school is not facing these problems, we also have issues between students from mainland China and students from Taiwan, Sometimes there are fierce arguments on the sensitive issue of whether Taiwan is an independent country.

Modern societies are made up of a growing number of diverse stakeholders who collaborate through formal and informal channels. The rapid advancement and reach of information and communication technologies have enabled them to play a much more immediate role in decision-making while at the same time the delivery of public services has become more decentralized.[3] Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development talked about governing education in a complex world in which I also found a correlation with intercultural education.

In conclusion, I believe intercultural education can decrease the parochial nationalisms in young people, thus promoting world peace and harmonious global society as a whole.

[1] Bokova, I. (2012, May 31). Learning to live together. Retrieved December 2, 2016, from http://en.unesco.org/themes/learning-live-together

[2] Affolter, F. W. (2016, June 27). Building peace through education | global partnership for education Retrieved from http://www.globalpartnership.org/blog/building-peace-through-education

[3] Governing education in a complex world. (2016, September 23). Retrieved December 2, 2016, from OECD, http://oecdinsights.org/2016/09/23/governing-education-in-a-complex-world/

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