INTERCULTURAL EDUCATION THROUGH THE POSTCOLONIAL LENS
Education provides opportunity for personal development while distributing students within the social hierarchies; it is as much a resource for emancipation as it is a mechanism for allocation and stratification (Lindeman, 1945; Löw, 2006; Berger & Kahlert, 2008). Although education was not and has never been a panacea for all social illnesses, its humanistic ideals of supporting learners to become self-reflective and critical thinkers have the potential of redressing the neglect of social problems, particularly the core and consequences of racial inequalities. As practitioners in the field of international education, the authors see the potential of intercultural education in inducing transformative social actions, an aspect that has been recognised, but remains largely neglected by the scientific community (Spitzberg and Changnon, 2009). In fact, majority of the didactic approaches used in teaching intercultural competency focuses on individualistic approaches, overlooking the social implications of oppression and discrimination, or power relations embedded in the society (Ruiz and Sánchez, 2011; Butterwick and Egan, 2010). The authors therefore argue that in the context of postcolonial studies in education, a paradigm shift in conceptualising intercultural education, particularly intercultural competency, is necessary. This paper will therefore suggest how to design and deliver an educative intervention within the framework of intercultural competence development to support students in developing their abilities in critical thinking and reflection, and in learning how to ethically engage with cultural diversity. It will outline the theoretical background which underpins the design, the practical implications for delivery, and potential applications in other areas. The intervention builds up from the models developed in the European-funded project “Sustainable Know-How in Intercultural Learning in Student Placements and the Knowledge Transfer to Enterprises” (SKILL2E) and from the lessons learned by the authors through the project.