On 3-5 November, the 8th Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange was hosted by Fondazione Intercultura in Colle di Val d’Elsa, Italy, in cooperation with EFIL and Fondazione Intercultura.

The Forum explored the topic ‘The intercultural training of teachers: from theory to practice’ by gathering about 50 experts from the field of research and practice. An important novelty of this Forum has been the drafting of a final statement gathering the recommendations that stem from reflecting on the input of the presenters.  We encourage everyone to disseminate this paper and use it as an advocacy tool to inform policy related to teacher education: it is a precious tool which is based on findings from research and the experience of the practice.

Mitelene Flatcher set the tone of the Forum with an inspiring keynote speech on Thursday evening, explaining her experience in training teachers at Harvard.

On the first day, we tried to get the overall picture of the state of the art of the topic. We received input on the latest developments in the field by international institutions (Hanna Siarova from PPMI and Petra Goran from the European Commission DG Education&Culture- School Unit, Martyn Barrett for the Council of Europe, Mario Piacentini for OECD) and from the experience and studies of two university professors, William Gaudelli, Columbia University (USA) and Ildikò Làzar, Eotvos Lorand University (Hungary).

Martyn Barrett_Council of Europe
Petra Goran_European Commission
Mario Piacentina_OECD

On the second day, we explored different examples of training teachers on intercultural learning: the British Council, , the Alpen Adria Universitaet Klagenfurt (Austria), the Bath Spa University (UK), the Italian association of principal together with Fondazione Intercultura, the Erasmus+ project ‘Intercultural learning for pupils and teachers’ led by EFIL.

As by now it is tradition, Darla Deardorff summed up the findings of the Forum which are collected in the final statement, and Roberto Ruffino concluded the event by announcing that next year’s Forum will take place in Brussels, Belgium. In fact, the Forum will coincide with the final conference of the Erasmus+ project ‘Intercultural learning for pupils and teachers’ which has developed alongside the Forum. The tentative dates are 24-26 October and the focus will be promoting intercultural learning through a whole school approach: we will look at the recommendations from the Erasmus+ project and other projects related to intercultural learning and the whole school approach. We will also take the chance to discuss the first outcomes of the PISA assessment on global competence, and the implementation of the competences for democratic culture of the Council of Europe.

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