Intercultural sensitivity

Intercultural sensitivity

By Dorota Jaworska-Matys

It is a peculiar competence of taking up dialogue with others and drawing values for one’s own development from this contact. (M. Bennett 1991)
The key to defining intercultural sensitivity level is, according to Bennett, the cultural difference category - as seen by an individual. Bennett suggests that intercultural learning is a process which is distinguished by continuous progress and the fact that an individual’s intercultural sensitivity development stage may be diagnosed. 

Developmental model of intercultural sensitivity by M. Bennett (1993):

Ethnocentric stages

1. Negation 

2. Defence 

3. Minimisation 
    Physical universalism 
    Transcendent universalism

Ethno relativistic stages

4. Acceptance 
    Respecting differences in behaviour 
    Respecting differences in values

5. Adaptation 

6. Integration 
    Contextual assessment 
    Constructive marginality
Pedagogic methods
Bennett’s model ensures frames for active process planning. It describes a number of educational activities particularly effective in creating intercultural sensitivity on its particular development stages.
Ref. 1.
Educational objectives are realised at this stage concern lowering uneasiness connected with the existence of cultural differences. Didactic methods include open presentation of cultural differences by showing films, slides, music, dance, and painting of various cultures.
Ref. 2.
Educational objectives focused on defining cultural differences and their positive assessment. Methods which show group members that complement each other their multilateral variety and a possibility of mutual development. Experiments and debates on differences eg. „Their methods of bringing up children are different from ours, their relationship with children is different however, they love their children as much as we love ours”.

Ref . 3.
Educational methods concern developing the skills of seeing and understanding differences. Educational activities realised through organising active structural exercises which make it possible to actively penetrate values, standards and contexts of functioning of particular cultures.
Ref. 4.
Aims: deep exploration of cultural differences, intercultural empathy training.
Methods: experimenting, learning, simulations, roleplays.
Ref. 5.
Aims: Development of skills and intercultural reasoning.
Methods: structuring and sorting out reflections concerning self development and benefits derived from contacts with diverse cognitive system.
Ref . 6.
Aims: multicultural identity development.
Methods: performance analyzes of a multicultural person, supplying theoretical basis for forming multicultural identity.
Bennett’s model describes how people recognise and understand cultural differences and provides pedagogical strategies for intercultural dialogue development

Senest opdateret den

18. februar 2015


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