Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BRAZIL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 1066-1073
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Nowadays television, computers, internet, mobile phones, films seem to have resized the world, making it a smaller place. The issue of the world being smaller does not imply, however, as a result, a more comfortable life and an easier interaction. Does a ‘smaller’ world have enough space for societies in which people do not feel segregated or excluded, but, on the contrary, feel assimilated? And does assimilation respect the different cultural identities? Everybody sees himself as rational and normal; will it mean that, consequently, people will see the others the same way? The world is referred to as a global community due to new economic, political and social interactions well focused on currency issues for their success. Communication, too, has its ‘currency’, in a certain sense. It is language. And language has a central role in Education. In a plural society, then, which or whose language will be privileged in the schools, which or whose values and beliefs will be exploited in the classroom environment? People who migrate from one culture to another do not abandon or delete the history they leave behind; they have to try and connect it to the beliefs and values of the new society in which they have settled. Language is strictly connected to the thinking processes which determine behaviours. Researchers prove us that language and culture are, unquestionably, related. Is Education, in different countries, especially where there are student exchanges, a well developed tourism or international business and trade, increasing its deep concern for interpersonal and intercultural communication? Studies in cross-cultural psychology help us focus on the issue ‘global’ vs ‘local’ to exploit the over abused concept of ‘globalization’, which, at times has been confused with a kind of ‘westernization’ of people from other countries. Berry & al. (2008) start defining the field of cross-cultural psychology ‘the scientific study of variations in human behavior, taking into account the ways in which behavior is influenced by cultural context’ and then, more specifically ‘Cross-cultural psychology is the study: of similarities and differences in individual psychological functioning of various cultural and ethnocultural groups; of the relationships between psychological variables and socio-cultural, ecological and biological variables; and of ongoing changes in these variables’. Educators in Europe, or USA and Canada need to exploit and be aware of their choices, whether conscious or unconscious, in dealing with these new issues which shape our contemporary times.
Education, globalization, identity, cross-cultural psychology.