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Oropi School principal, Andrew King, writes about how Oropi has developed an intercultural strategy that includes learning for global competence.

How we developed our intercultural strategy

We began by unpacking the purpose for our intercultural strategy with staff, parents and students. For Oropi, this meant exploring the concept of global competence, the role of language learning, the development of a locally grounded curriculum, and a lot of professional dialogue and reading. It was important to know what global competence is, as well as what it is not. 

Choosing a context for our intercultural learning came next. A key finding from research is that establishing and growing an intercultural strategy involves ensuring that we are not just learning about other cultures, but that curriculum delivery enables students to learn with, from, and about other cultures. Context is really important to enable this.  As a school, we had established links with people and schools in China and Korea. With New Zealand and Tauranga’s growing social and economic ties to Asia, it made sense for this to be our context for cross-cultural learning opportunities.

Find out more from principal Andrew King, about how Oropi School moves beyond superficiality when learning with, from, and about other cultures

@CAPEs

It was also important to identify ‘champions’ to lead Oropi’s intercultural learning strategy. Growing the intercultural dimension of a school curriculum cannot be done with a ‘top down’ approach. It has been valuable to gain support from community members who can intrinsically see the motivation, purpose, and mutual benefit for all involved.

"Leadership graphic from Andrew King’s presentation at the Growing global citizens in Aotearoa Teacher Forum 2021.
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Leadership graphic from Andrew King’s presentation at the Growing global citizens in Aotearoa Teacher Forum 2021.

@CAPEs

Integrating global competence into our intercultural strategy

As we moved to implement our redeveloped intercultural strategy, we established our own descriptors for global competence. These descriptors were mapped out over a strategic cycle and timeframe. What we came up with was a culmination of thoughts that were based on professional readings, the OECD Global Competence Framework, Intercultural Capabilities, and Cultural Diversity Curriculum Principles. These ideas included:

  • Being an active and engaged ‘change agent’ in global contexts

  • Making post-school learning and work choices in a global context

  • Examining local, global and intercultural issues

  • Understanding and appreciating the perspectives and world views of others

  • Engaging in open, appropriate and effective interactions across cultures

  • Taking action for collective well-being and sustainable development.

Other key topics that we used to bring global competence to the forefront of our intercultural strategy were:

  • Cultural bias and perceptions

  • Equity vs equality

  • Media portrayals of culture

  • Valuing diversity

  • Ethnocentricity.

Identifying desired outcomes

Developing our intercultural strategy has given us a clear idea of the learning outcomes we want to achieve for our students. This has meant that we can continue our existing intercultural learning activities with greater clarity of purpose. It has also given us a very clear idea about the type of collaboration we wanted to achieve in our work with teachers and students in the Hangzhou Sister School Partnership Project.

CAPEs Hangzhou Sister School Partnership Project

We recently took the opportunity to invest in the Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence (CAPEs) Hangzhou Sister School Partnership Project as a way to grow our intercultural strategy. We wanted to move beyond another sister school partnership where the formalities of gift exchanges, signed papers, good intent, did not eventuate into a collaborative project. We wanted to achieve a more genuine and meaningful partnership.

The Hangzhou Sister School Partnership team at Hangzhou Phoenix Primary School, Hangzhou

The Hangzhou Sister School Partnership team at Hangzhou Phoenix Primary School, Hangzhou .

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

As a school, we did quite a lot of thinking before we embarked on this new sister school project, which shifted our understanding and mindset. We were lucky that the Hangzhou initiative presented itself at a time where the Oropi School community was ready to ‘think outside the square’. This became the impetus for our intercultural strategy to include learning for global competence.

Provocations:

  • How could an intercultural strategy be of value for your learners and school community?

  • How could you involve your community in the development of your intercultural strategy?

Continue reading about Oropi School’s journey in the Sister school partnerships support learning at Oropi School learning story.

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