THE PERCEPTION OF ADVANTAGES OF INTERCULTURALITY: A CASE OF LITHUANIAN 10TH-12TH FORMS PUPILS’ OPINION
Diversity is the basis of today's civilization, as society exists in the process intersection of technological advance, increasing integration of social network progress and states without borders. Taking into account the changing public expectations it is necessary to implement the educational changes towards the changes caused by globalization, economics, politics and technology, considering the socio-cultural factors. This encourages the orientation to education based on interdisciplinary, integrity, and values (Osuna, 2013, Seyfried, 2014). Students’ intercultural education is one of the approaches trying to understand the contemporary world’s cultural diversity, identity and change of values, to accept the changes in traditional culture, promoting the principles of equality, respect and accept the otherness and tolerance expression (Bilbokaitė-Skiauterienė, 2017).
The problem of this research is determined by the fact, that comparing with investigations, conducted by foreign scientists, the problem of advantages of interculturality is not widely developed. Thus, Lithuanian scientific practice lacks wider attitude towards this problem, but the importance of interculturality and intercultural education in the global world becomes a more relevant object for researchers in Lithuania.
The aim of this research is to reveal how pupils from senior forms perceive the advantages of interculturality.
The research was carried out in comprehensive education schools in Lithuania and was organized in 2015. On the grounds of their personal experience, participants of the research (pupils from 11th–12th forms) had written an essay on the topic “What does interculturality mean to me as a Lithuanian?”. In this essay, they revealed their point of view and rendered value attitudes in the context of the object under investigation. To carry out data analysis, the method of content analysis was employed. Essays revealed the experiences of research participants, their perception of advantages of interculturality. Methodological provisions of the survey are based by philosophy of social constructivism and critical theory.
The analysis of research results revealed, that, research participants highlighted the advantages of interculturality to culture and personality. The development of tolerance in order to lessen the emersion of discrimination is underlined mostly. The interculturality is fostering openness among separate cultures and groups of individuals, by creation the feeling of openness and alliance and helps to reduce fears and stereotypes. Improvement as an independent, cosmopolitan personality is very important, when the new knowledge about other languages, religions, traditions is acquired trough the recognition of new fields and persons, this fosters creativity and communicational skills. The person develops his identity, finds his real “Self”, and emphasizes such values as nationality and sociality. The growth of a personality is grounded on the perception of the world when the possibility to know other cultures, persons appears as well as to perceive the variety of the world. At the same time the native culture becomes meaningful in the context of other cultures, while in the context of permanent change by comparing differences and similarities the opportunity to recognize and evaluate native heritage appears.