Teaching and Learning for Intercultural Understanding : Engaging Young Hearts and Minds book cover
1st Edition

Teaching and Learning for Intercultural Understanding
Engaging Young Hearts and Minds

ISBN 9781138102729
Published April 20, 2018 by Routledge
230 Pages

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Book Description

Teaching and Learning for Intercultural Understanding is a comprehensive resource for educators in primary and early years classrooms. It provides teachers with a complete framework for developing intercultural understanding among pupils and includes practical and creative strategies and activities to stimulate discussion, awareness and comprehension of intercultural issues and ideas.

Drawing on the most current research and work in the field of intercultural competence and existing models of intercultural understanding, this book explores topics such as:

  • understanding culture and language
  • the importance of personal and cultural identity
  • engaging with difference
  • cultivating positive attitudes and beliefs
  • embedding awareness of local and global issues in students
  • designing a classroom with intercultural understanding in mind.

With detailed ready-to-use, enquiry-based lesson plans, which incorporate children's literature, talking points and media resources, this book encourages the practitioner to consider intercultural understanding as another lens through which to view the curriculum when creating and choosing learning materials and activities. Teaching and Learning for Intercultural Understanding sets out to help the reader engage young hearts and minds with global and local concepts in a way that is easily integrated into the life of all primary schools – from New York to New Delhi, from Birmingham to Bangkok.

Table of Contents


Using This Book

PART ONE – Compelling Pedagogy for Our Times

Chapter 1 What is Intercultural Understanding?

Chapter 2 Why is Teaching and Learning for Intercultural Understanding Imperative?

Chapter 3 Starting With Ourselves: Reflection and Self-knowledge

PART TWO – Teaching and Learning for Intercultural Understanding

Chapter 4 Exploring Culture and Language

Tokyo Friends/Tokyo no Tomodachi by Betty Reynolds

Sharing Cultural Artefacts: Create a Gallery Space

Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World by Roseanne Thong

Chapter 5 Understanding and Valuing Personal and Cultural Identity

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Personal and Cultural Identity Map Project: My Map Book by Sara Fanelli

Dancing Home by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M Zubizarreta

Chapter 6 Cultivating Transformative Beliefs, Values and Attitudes

The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper

What Does It Mean to be Global? by Rana DiOrio

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Chapter 7 Engaging With Difference

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

Chapter 8 Developing Essential Intercultural, Interpersonal and Life Skills

When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt by Molly Bang

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco

Marianthe’s Story: Painted Words and Spoken Memories by Aliki

Chapter 9 Embedding Local and Global Issues

For Every Child: The rights of the child in words and pictures UNICEF

text adapted by Caroline Castle

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss

Peace Begins With You by Katherine Scholes 

PART THREE – Putting it into Practice: Modeling, Living, and Learning Intentionally

Chapter 10 Designing Learning and Living Spaces with Intercultural Understanding in Mind

Chapter 11 Applying Our Knowledge, Using Our Skills and Living Our Values

Chapter 12 Helping to Create a Better World


Appendix A Children’s Literature for Developing Intercultural Understanding

Appendix B Multimedia Resources

Appendix C Web-based Resources

Appendix D Resources for Educators and Parents

Appendix E Partnering With Parents

Appendix F Connecting with the Community

Appendix G Organisations that Promote Intercultural Understanding

Appendix H Templates for Lesson Plans  

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Debra Rader is a former primary school headteacher with over 30 years’ experience teaching and working with children and families from multicultural and multilingual backgrounds. She is an international educational consultant and develops programmes and workshops linked to intercultural understanding.


"In Teaching and Learning for Intercultural Understanding, Debra Rader has produced a clearly-structured, carefully researched volume which informs and encourages its readers to integrate intercultural understanding into their teaching, and also challenges them to reflect on issues relating to their own cultures, beliefs, values and attitudes. This new title promises to be a must-read for anyone with a concern for supporting the young adults of tomorrow in developing the skills and attributes that will be essential if they are to live peacefully with others in our increasingly complex world." - Mary Hayden, Professor of International Education, University of Bath, UK

"This is a remarkable book, perhaps even a courageous one. Debra Rader’s appeal to teachers blends theory and practice into a narrative that is passionate and inspiring, urgent and compelling, with a mine of resources and ideas for lessons and activities. It will be a seminal text on how to address the most important educational challenge of our era." - Terry Haywood, Trustee, Alliance for International Education and International Schools Consultant

"Debra Rader’s book is a deep dive into what intercultural understanding is, why it is vital to our global wellbeing, and how to foster it in children. Approachable, insightful, practical, and hopeful, it is a must-have resource for educators committed to making the world a better place, one child at a time." - Rana DiOrio, author of the award-winning What Does It Mean To Be . . .?® children’s picture book series

"Digitalisation has connected people, countries and continents, bringing together a majority of the world’s population in ways that vastly increases our individual and collective potential. But the same forces have also made the world more volatile, more complex and more uncertain. More than ever, schools are called to help students see the world through different eyes, appreciate different cultures and divergent thinking, and to build a shared understanding among groups with diverse experiences and interests, thus increasing our radius of trust to strangers and institutions. This is easy to say, but really hard to accomplish in a classroom. This book provides a framework for how to do this, and not only that, it also illustrates in insightful and practical ways what it might look like when intercultural understanding is lived in our daily lives." - Andreas Schleicher, Director OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General

"This book is an excellent resource for the multicultural and multilingual children I teach. The literature recommendations are diverse, relevant to my students' lives, and consistently provide opportunities for meaningful conversations. The lesson plans have been transformative for all the students in my class, and have deepened their appreciation of and thirst to learn more about all cultures and languages. Through this learning, my entire class raised their awareness of how we can honor our differences, engage with one another respectfully, and each help make the world a better place." - Grace Friedman, White Center Heights Elementary School, Seattle, WA, USA

"Teaching and Learning for Intercultural Understanding is a critical exploration on how, as educators, we can intentionally build the values and skills children need to engage positively in an ever-increasing intercultural world. The rich array of quality children’s literature featured, and the thoughtful and well-developed lesson plans that Ms. Rader has created to support the development of these essential skills offer valuable practical application for the classroom. Teachers will love them!" - Julia Alden, International School Leader and Educator

"With this thoughtful book, Debra Rader has given primary schools the gift of the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of intercultural understanding. Whereas previous experiences in developing intercultural understanding at the primary level may have been limited to food, flags and festivals, Rader’s framework provides us with components of intercultural understanding and language with which to dialogue about it. This language is particularly helpful as we begin to think of ways to assess intercultural understanding. Based on current research, Rader also provides us with meaningful suggestions and activities that will allow all of us to integrate the development of intercultural understanding in our programs – rather than having it as an "add on" to our curriculum. This book serves as a very useful tool to extend the emotional intelligence of teachers." - Ochan Kusuma-Powell, co-author of Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Teacher

"This book could not have appeared at a better time. It does more than offer a clear and easy-to-read exploration of intercultural understanding, a topic that matters in our changing, challenging and uncertain world. The researched-based guidelines will support teachers as they guide young children and help them understand and learn from the diversity they see around them. The many examples, strategies and activities will help children develop accepting and positive attitudes towards the many ways people live, speak, dress, eat, worship and celebrate. Rader provides a Framework for Developing Intercultural Understanding and invites teachers to integrate it into their prescribed curricula, connect their teaching to children’s lives and transform their classrooms into exciting multicultural and multilingual places." - Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Associate Professor School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University, Canada

"Debra Rader has written an invaluable and comprehensive resource for educators to support the development of intercultural understanding in the children they teach. Both new and veteran teachers will find a rich treasure trove of activities and literature that can be easily woven into any existing curriculum. An impressive work!" - Mary Hannert, Early Childhood Educator

"Debra Rader makes a strong case for including teaching and learning for intercultural understanding into the school curriculum of young learners. Based on both thorough research and her own hands-on experiences, she clearly and passionately offers ideas as to how teachers can encourage and nurture intercultural understanding through rich discussions, meaningful activities, and detailed lesson plans based on quality children’s literature. In addition, readers have a chance to reflect on their own understanding of the topics as they "pause for reflection" at various points along their journey through this most important book. A must-read for all teachers as they strive to teach compassion, and appreciation and understanding of both their own cultures and traditions and those of others." - Sally Ott, Former Lower School Principal, The Latin School of Chicago

"Debra Rader takes us on a guided journey addressing a wide range of developmentally appropriate tasks aimed at helping young learners enhance their intercultural sensitivity, knowledge and skills. This book presents a comprehensive theoretical underpinning of the oftentimes-abstract concepts and critical issues related to intercultural development in concrete and tangible ways, laying a foundation for the wide range of practical strategies included in each chapter. This book is a welcomed and needed contribution for teachers concerned with enhancing the intercultural development of young children." - Kenneth Cushner, Emeritus Professor of International and Intercultural Education, Kent State University, USA

"In producing this title, Debra Rader has given educators a book well worth taking the time to read. She has an impressive CV in a number of areas in the field of education, which includes over 30 years of working in primary schools." - Gustavo M Lanata, International School Magazine