4 August 2008

All Different - All Equal

After developing an Action Plan towards a multicultural school, teachers, parents and students of the Elementary School Deryneia A' started putting their plans into practice.
Teachers gathered interactive and inter-cultural exercises and applied them in selected lessons. An international cooking day gave all the pupils the taste of cultural diversity. Parents spent their morning in the school's kitchen to prepare traditional recipes from their home country, while the pupils were learning how to pronounce the cakes and pies, and were looking up the countries on the globe before everyone could enjoy the delicious tastes.
A very clear statement to the entire school community was made through the painting of the schoolyard's wall: "All Different - All Equal", designed and painted by the pupils themselves.
Another highlight was the selection of games from various countries that the pupils began to practice during their sports lessons. Besides the rules of the games the pupils also practiced to say the name and certain phrases required in order to perform the game in the language of the country the game originates.
The school year ended with a multicultural school festival, passing on the message of "All Different - All Equal".

The ideal multicultural School - Students, parents and teachers at Highgate School design the ideal school

On 03, 04 and 14 April, 17 students, teachers and parents of the Highgate School in Nicosia took part in an interactive, structured dialogue workshop to envision the ideal multicultural school. Being already a very open and multicultural school, the Highgate participants could reflect on their own school, how they would like to see it in the future, and what obstacles are still faced on various levels. After three very interesting workshop sessions with extensive discussions, the participants concluded that open-minded teachers as well as a school environment that encourages cultural diversity are essential to create a multicultural school. While all participants agreed that teachers at Highgate are already very open-minded, they saw a major obstacle in the influence of the families and in parents that do not give the necessary support to a multicultural education of their children. In contrast to other schools that saw major obstacles in the educational system, the participants in this workshop agreed that the root cause obstacle in many cases is the fear of change and the stereotypes that are constructed and kept by the family and the society.
Discussions brought many ideas for action at the school to further promote cultural diversity and that would specifically involve the parents as well.

Interactive Workshop at Elementary School in Limassol

A two-day interactive workshop at the 22nd Elementary School in Limassol brought together 19 teachers, students and parents. Together they generated 74 vision ideas for an ideal school in a multicultural Cyprus and structured 21 of these statements in an influence map. During the second day, the participants jointly defined the main obstacles to the ideal school envisioned in the first phase of the workshop. The root cause obstacles that the participants identified were: 'Economic', 'Bad Programming from the Ministry', 'The politics of the government of how and what the citizens want to create' and 'Non consideration of opinion of educators'. Having concluded the influence map of the main obstacles, the participants started discussing how to proceed and what activities to implement so as to reach the vision.
It was decided to organise a follow-up workshop so that an action plan can be generated.