Intercultural and Intracultural: New Challenges for School Leadership

Speaker: James MacDonald
Institution: NIST International School, Thailand

Modern international education started in the 1920's, with parents in different parts of the world creating 'international schools' to promote peace between nations. However, many see wars between nations as a less significant force in the world today, while at the same time we are seeing considerable conflicts between groups within countries (and within cultures). Given this, and knowing our schools are often producing 'global elites', we need to rethink some of the priorities of an international education. It is now longer enough to look with only an 'intercultural' lens as many of the tensions in the world today are between people with the same cultural backgrounds. What does this mean for school leaders?

International schools need programmes that not only ensure that students develop an understanding of inter-cultural differences, but also provide them with the chance to discover difference within their own society. This presentation argues that intercultural education is too narrow a goal, and school leaders need to consider 'intracultural and intercultural' education if they are to ensure their schools continue to prepare students for the world they will inherit.

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