Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Select language

This section of the Pathway through Religions portal provides administrative information for the project contractual partners and for the European Commission and it is password protected.

Managing Multi-Religious Classes

Homepage > Teachers’ Guide > Managing Multi-Religious Classes

Teaching Sources to help teachers dealing with multicultural and multi-religious classes

Managing Multicultural and Multi-Religious Classes

Table of Content

7. Teacher Training
The global interdependency of the contemporary world calls for a pluralistic education and openness to learning from various cultures. As diversity is becoming the norm in today's classrooms, teachers face increasing demands for understanding, respectful communication, and the inclusion of all pupils. All teachers need to bring both cultural sensitivity and self-awareness to their work.

Intercultural competence refers to behaving and communicating effectively and appropriately in cross-cultural situations. It encompasses teachers’ knowledge, skills and attitudes. Respect for different cultures and values, openness and curiosity lead to increased self-awareness, empathic understanding of other cultures, and the ability to act accordingly.

Therefore, teacher training should include analysis of teachers’ conceptions and attitudes and introduce an ethno-relative cultural perspective. Teacher training for multicultural education should be a blend of information and pedagogical methods. Educators need to recognize cultural differences, as well as obstacles and opportunities for integration.

Mono-cultural learning materials present only a dominant ethnic and cultural model. Such materials could deride pupils from minorities and reinforce discriminatory conceptions and attitudes. Multicultural education needs equitable learning materials that validate all ethnic and religious groups and do not judge them by the standards of a single culture. Teachers should be trained in the assessment and production of multicultural learning materials.

Intercultural Competence is the link between diversity and inclusion.
It is how we turn a diverse environment into an inclusive one.

Conflict resolution is another necessary component of teacher training. Teachers need to identify and handle conflicts in the classroom sensibly, fairly, and efficiently. They should also stimulate active participation by students in solving peacefully any quarrels between themselves or their families.

Teachers must be able to reflect on their own pedagogical practice in order to answer key questions about how to interpret the concept of culture, what topics should be undertaken within the framework of intercultural education, what goals would be achieved. Goals of the intercultural competence training for teachers should include:
  • Basic information about ethnic and religious groups, such as traditional knowledge, customs, taboos, social organization, communication precepts, temporal orientation, etc.;
  • Tools for raising self-awareness and sensitivity to variations in attitudes and values of different cultures;
  • Theoretical concepts regarding intercultural competence, cultural differences and commonalities and their effects on communication processes;
  • Methods and strategies for classroom management and conflict resolution;
  • Case studies and sharing of good practices;
  • Opportunities to engage in dialogues on issues of diversity, inclusiveness and multiculturalism.
Cultural differences do matter. However, specific differences between individuals of any given group should also be acknowledged. Such differences can be more significant than the differences between groups, especially in the case of diverse populations and value systems. Every person is a unique piece in the mosaic of humankind.
Online Resources
  • Cultural Dimensions of Learning: Addressing the Challenges of Multicultural InstructionThis article explores research into cultural differences to identify the dimensions of culture that are most likely to impact instructional situations. It describes a set of eight cultural parameters regarding social relationships, epistemological beliefs, and temporal perceptions, and illustrates their impact in instructional situations. The article also explores the literature on instructional design and culture for guidelines on addressing the cross-cultural challenges faced by teachers. It discusses a range of strategies and tactics that might be useful for a given set of learners.
  • Teacher LeadershipThis critical practices guide offers strategies for Increasing self-awareness and cultural competency among teachers. Other aspects of teacher leadership include active opposition to prejudice, bias and stereotyping. It identifies the skills needed to speak up against and respond to prejudice, bias and stereotypes, building allies and leading beyond the classroom.
  • Intercultural Teaching CompetenceThis webpage provides links to useful resources such as the Western Guide to Mentoring Graduate Students Across Cultures and the comprehensive overview Intercultural teaching competence: a multi-disciplinary model for instructor reflection.
Practical Activity
  • Exploring Cultural IdentityThis activity is a good starting point for an intercultural competence teacher training. It engages the participants in a process of identifying what they consider to be the most important dimensions of their own identity.

Table of Content

Follow us


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.