Some theoretical aspects of the intercultural education area within the context of the socialization and personal development
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Дата публикации: 31.05.2017
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Алиндер-Исмаилова Е. О. Some theoretical aspects of the intercultural education area within the context of the socialization and personal development [Текст] // Педагогическое мастерство: материалы X Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Москва, июнь 2017 г.). — М.: Буки-Веди, 2017. С. 1-5. URL https://moluch.ru/conf/ped/archive/215/12521/ (дата обращения: 21.06.2018).
The paper discusses the problems ofthe intercultural education environment as socially justified. The individual develops his/her personality by interacting with other people. This is a very complex and multi-layered process where relations between people are enhanced by the inner necessity for collaboration and empathy. The process itself involves exchange of meanings, development of a unified strategy for interaction, perception and understanding of the other/the stranger that is so far away. The social sense of the intercultural education area reveals in its ability to relay forms of cultural and social experience. The sense of «equality» makes the pressure of suppression and restriction of significant personality identifications lesser. The intercultural education area presupposes both understanding of the complex and multi-dimensional personality/background identity that marks the social development of the individual and tolerance to diversity available in various (co-)identifications.
Key words: intercultural education, intercultural communication, intercultural education area, socialization, personal development
Changes that have been transforming the world over the past two centuries led to thorough discussions on issues of identity, intercultural communication and interaction between individuals within the cntext of their socialization and multicultural education area.
Edward Hall, who was the first to define the term «intercultural communication», states it is the right of realization of an individual as a system, which creates, sends, stores and transmits information. Moreover, this is an ongoing process that influences every aspect of life.
According to the author the development of intercultural competence is an inextricably part of the development of humans over the years. It is especially during the last century that the rate of human evolution increases in direct consequence of the individuals` creations. The evolution is not only a biological fact but also it is a result from the very individuals` creations. (Hall, 1969: 89)
The modern socium itself is an intercultural environment. Moreover, the higher school environment is a specifically intercultural space where the two seemingly mutually exclusive tendencies of socialization meet: firstly, a person goes through various phases of his/her biological development (childhood, adolescence, adulthood, etc.), and on the other, a person is involved in many social groups (family, friends, ethnicities, economic and religious groups). Nikolai Dubinin stated that the process of formation of consciousness, thinking and language occurs as a complex process based on biological preconditions. The biological nature is transformed into a public one when «the external in the form of social program» gradually breaks through the senses and the intellect of the individual and «becomes internal». (Dubinin, 1973: 447) The forces that drive the social development is generally determined by the researcher as «internal» and «external». The internal sources comprise innate reflexes, feelings and their level of development, the relationship between biological, physiological, psychological and social factors. The external sources include everything which the individual interacts with. The social development is a process of qualitative and quantitative changes under the influence of these internal and external factors. This is a logical and a natural phenomenon. Its character is continuous and is not balanced because an individual feels a constant need for a social change, conservation. He/she strives for socially sharing experience as a natural social growth of an individual. The process of socialization varies depending on many factors such as age, temperament, emotional and intellectual status, etc.
We need to define clearly the terms intercultural education, intercultural education area and socialization in order to confirm the relation between the process of an indicivual`s socialization, particularly within the education area, and the challenges this individual is facing in achieving «harmony» within the intercultural environment.
In Bulgaria Intercultural Education as a term was started to be used in the 90 years of the 20th century. Initially, according to Ivan Ivanov, the term «focuses on the dynamics of the processes of acculturation». From the late 20th century to nowadays the understanding of intercultural education goes through various stages to get to define it as «an educational process in which participants, representatives of various ethnic, racial, religious and racial groups, working in a spirit of mutual respect and interdependence ". (Ivanov, 1999: 14)
The intercultural education area involves ceartain educational projects and teaching models targeted at specific addressees. In these didactic models one sees a transition from general remarks to specific applications of the theory of intercultural education, applicable not only for school life, but also for sport, art and religion. Mass media focused on the higher education system, and in recent years — social and new media platforms were incorporated within the higher education system policy.
In the middile of the 20th century, the idea to develop educational curricula based on the the spirit of understanding, tolerance and friendliness towards the unknown/the other is seen as a credible perspective for the development of intercultural education area, which enhance the development of the human person, preserve the dignity and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This multicultural education area involves the exchange of values based on understanding and embracing the culture of the other.
In 1987 the European Commission launched the Erasmus program with the idea to make the intercultural education possible. The program gained popularity and co-existed with other programs such as Comenius, Leonardo da Vinci and Grundtvig that comprised the largest Life-long Learning educational program. These higher education programs had common goals. They financed similar types of action. These very programs were launched to improve the communication based on technology. They allowed variety of virtual contacts, rethinking some classic theories of socialization, intercultural communication and intercultural training. According to official data students participated in mobility are over 1.5 million under the programming period (2007–2013), while the number of teachers exceeds 140,000.
Practice proves that the best opportunities to develop the intercultural education area, thr training and the formation of intercultural competence for socialization are provided by real contacts between representatives of various institutions, including university students, graduates and academic staff from different countries. The most important prequisition for making opportunities to enrich knowledge and shareing experience abroad possible is the knowledge of foreign languages. That is why, in recent years, the attention is focused on language learning. This very fact enables a greater number of students to participate under the European programs and projects. They are able to communicate with students from other countries and to develop not only their personal qualities and professional skills, but also to develop skills that enable them to analyze processes from a different perspective.
Successful socialization within the education area is the leading idea with which the new EU program for education, training, youth and sport started in 2014. The program «Erasmus +" aims to improve the skills and employability, as well as to achieve a modernization of education, training and youth work. This seven-year program (2014–2020) will have a budget of 14.7 billion euros — a raise by 40 % compared to the current level of costs, reflecting the EU's commitment to invest in these areas.
«Erasmus +" will enable more than 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and to be volunteers abroad. The program brings together seven existing EU programs in education, training and youth, and for the first time it will provide support in the field of sport. «Erasmus +" will offer more opportunities for cooperation between the sectors of education, training, youth and sport. Each year it gives a chance to thousands of students and teachers to gain new knowledge and to share their skills.
Although the events of the last years (the terrorist attacks, military operations in a number of countries such as Libya, Iraq and Syria, fleeing to Europe, etc.) made these intercultural education area slogans seem somewhat naive, it has not to be overlooked the fact that it is the intercultural education tht makes possible the adoption of democracy and «multiculturalism of a society». (Buzov, 2008: 42) Nowadays, all these presuppose daily work on «education in diversity and awareness of their own identity», «mutual exchange» and dialogue. Namely, cultural identity is both an obstacle and a condition for intercultural communication. The global political changes caused a progressive transformation of the society in a multicultural environment, which in itself is a quite complex and contradictory process.
Practically, there is no country that is homogeneous ethnically, culturally or socially. It seems that the perception of the other/the unknown strengthens the differentiating mechanisms. This requires a new interpretation of the terms «intercultural interaction», «intercultural area», «multicultural».
Socialization in the context of intercultural education area is a leading thesis within the other mobility programs in higher education such as Melville, Farabi, Fulbright, CEEPUS and etc.
In a number of psychological, anthropological and methodological research intercultural interaction begins to be seen not only as a theoretical idealistic philosophical concept but also as a transformed into social, media and educational practice one. The latter is essential as suggests creating a model of thinking and behavior in future generations, which mainly is expressed in understanding each other's cultureand mutual respect of human values .
The intercultural education area implies an effect of human interrelation. The theoretical interpretations of the early 21st century refer to it it as «culturally determined». Culture carries specific characteristics. Its specifity implies in the reliefs one can not build, «if he/she doess not co-exist» with other cultures. According to the cultural anthropologists «there is no diversity, if there is not originality» and vice versa. Moreover, the otherness, is an essential part of own`s personality and self-understanding. (Leontovich, 2003: 67).
This text is an attempt to analyze and to define the need for new approaches to be impleneted in discussing the problems of socialization in a multicultural education environment because globally education is facing the challenge to include in its agenda the daily work with various minority groups. The issues are of crucial importance since, especially in recent years, various integration efforts suffered a complete collapse.
This collapse, according to Alvin Toffler, is due to the disproportionate relationship between educational paradigms applied and the speed of change in the society. Nowadays, according to the American scientist, humanity is at a moment of transition to a qualitatively new leap twards a “new world”, the so-called post-industrial (information) society. The “pace of change” is so rapid and unusual that it destroys all “normal” concepts and notions that «shocked» all generations and has unpredictable consequences.
Referring to a number of authors who also interpret various aspects of everyday life — economy, culture, politics, education, science — Toffler makes a thorough analysis of rapidly advancing new civilization and concludes that it is able to cause many negative consequences, which he calls the «shock» of the future. If humanity is not prepared to meet and overcome this shock the world could die. According to the researcher salvation could be found in a completely different and new type of training and educating the younger generation. (Toffler, 1970: 95) The main thesis is that the educational paradigms need to reflect the rise of humanity towards affirmation of personality as a value, its release from custody of society, its norms, dogmas, etc. This process is done in parallel with social progress. Toffler called the new person “the associated person». This person is open to change, traffic, conversion/ modification and has a high degree of adaptability and flexibility of thinking and behavior. The speed of change in that very person value system is extremely high. “The associated person” constantly updates his/her knowledge and concepts about the world. It is ingenuity, entrepreneurship, willingness and need to take risk, short duration of commitments and relationships, responsibility for the tasks performed that are the highly distinctive features of the associated person. (Aronson, 2009: 37)
It should be pointed out that socialization requires full self-knoledge, on one hand, and the other — it involves identification with a particular community. This is the inherent contradiction of the process — self-identification of an individual with a particular group and at the same time, that very individual has to bear in mind that each person is unique. In order to be useful in their uniqueness for themselves (and that means for the others), it is of particular importance people to be commesurable with others — i.e. slef-knowledge is the crucial point. There is a constant struggle between the process of self-knowledge, on the one hand, and identification with the community on the other.
Socialization in modern society, particularly in the education area, has its own specific characteristics in different societies. Franklin Gidings first defined the term socialization in the 19th century — " development of social nature or character of the individual; training individuals for social life». Socialization of personality is a constant process of one`s life performed under the influence of factors such as family, formal and informal social groups, learning processes, educational institutions, education and others.
Over the years, the interest of researchers in this process increases. Some suggest that socialization is the formation, development and self-change an individual in interaction «with sporadic, relatively guided and purposeful living conditions». (Leontovich, 2003: 93) According to others, socialization reveals the generic nature of an individual in his/her interaction with others.
Another group of researchers analyzed socialization in the context of communication, knowledge and training and they consider socialization “as a social process». (Georgieva, 2008: 234) It has to be noted that in addition to communication, knowledge and learning, socialization is the process of interpersonal communication. Namely, education environment allows for the realization of this communication. The strive for education is inherent in every person. It is both personal and social need and is a «tool» of the aim to preserve the personal iedntity, uniqueness and freedom of choice.
The socialization of personality is bond to a specific historical formation of individuals` social qualities where certain norms, values, goals and ideals are presented and are accepted by socity.
Intercultural education area enhances the process of modeling the individual`s functional behavior in accordance with the expectations of the cultures which one is confronted with. It is a fact that socialization involves generational development of the individual and is seen as a one`s process of transformation into a personality that is characterized by the adoption and implementation of a system of social roles. Socialization includes both consciously conceived organized and implemented social impacts and spontaneous ongoing processes. One component of this process is the gradual build-up worldview of the individual, and hence a certain system of value orientations.
It is expected by the intercultural education environment to form skills and abilities for perception, understanding, evaluating, storing and sharing not only in one`s own world but also in the world of others. It should cultivate tolerance, respect and adaptation to otherness. Man is «condemned» to be social. There are always the others against the individual — at various metamorphoses groups. And each group has its «soul», its life where everyone thinks, feels and acts not like when he/she is «alone». In this sense, intercultural education area in the context of socialization of personality allows a process to flow where social roles, values and norms are included and build the structure of personality. Socialization structures the social actions of individuals in the forms of «normative orientation» and «educational standards», which, in turn, supports the social structures and functioning of the social system. The terms of personal socialization and intercultural education in their broadest sense validate certain quality level of individual and society development. It is the interpersonal psycho-social, functional and mentally active internal relations that are considered to be the main dynamic force for the development not only for the socialization of the individual, but also for the educational process itself. The perception of values of the other on a level is irrational and emotional need.
The thesis that «education is a reflection of reality» is not unconditionally acceptable and applicable. «Reality» is the most powerful source for all actions of the human soul, and therefore it cannot be easily explained the specifics of the material aspects of the educational process. It is more difficult when it come to intercultural education area that is is considered both to be the result and the action. Everything in the «reality of the other» is reflected through social and individual life of an individual. The intercultural education area allows not only looking out at the surrounding world, and allows individuals to peer into the depths of their souls. The education process induces a specific and internal communication. This underlines and reinforces the personality importance being a subject of various types of activities. The presence of education in social life connects people in a specific and unintentional way. It carries out the interaction between social and personal system and supports the overall integration processes and trends.
Intercultural education area expands worldview of the individual, makes him/her to consider and seek for his/her inner need to rethink existence. The person who is aware of the intercultural education characteristics often makes rearranges his/her values and this is of great advantage because one more often (co-) measures his/her individuality in line with the scales of others. Thus, one can be seen in the wider global aspect of human life, e.g. the interest in one`s person leads to an interest for the other/the stranger/the unknown. The individual interest in communication within the intercultural education area becomes a social phenomenon.
A person is doomed to live in a community and to fight the forces of a surrounding hostile nature and social environment. This fight makes one acquire knowledge and social qualities. One gets a status that is approved and embodied by community life. But as society is composed of individuals with different intelligence and status, the «synthesis» of individuals creates psychological reality of different order. It reflects humanity — habits, beliefs and perceptions, ways of thinking and living that existed long before the concrete individual and will exist far beyond him/her.
Social in the context of intercultural education area is a specific reality which has its own characteristics. It is a system of individuals formed by their association. This applies not only to society itself but also to all social facts. In some cases, the individual finds fully developed social facts that cannot be ignored or changed. This complexity is due to the marginal integrality of personality concept, implying the widest range of human characteristics — a set of mental properties and qualities that define socially significant forms of human behavior.
The process of socialization is historically and culturally determined. Nowadays, it shows some specific features mainly in two trends — the social and psychological criteria for maturity are amended compland become complicated, and the very factors of socialization are re-structured.
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