Managerial Actions In Education Education Essay



Educational management is a field of study and practice which has derived from industrial and commercial management principles. It has progressed to become a new field which is independent of industrial models, with its own theorists and practitioners who have begun to develop alternative models based on their observation and experience (Bush 2006: 2). However, the concept of educational management demonstrates the multidimensional nature of theory in education: "Students of educational management who turn to organisational theory for guidance in their attempt to understand and manage educational institutions will not find a single, universally applicable theory but a multiplicity of theoretical approaches each jealously guarded by a particular epistemic community" (Ribbins 1985: 223).

Management is the activity of controlling and organising the work that a company or organisation does, but also how people control and organise different situations that happen in their lives or their work (Fox 2003: 999). Education is the process of teaching and learning at educational institutions, such as schools, colleges or universities (ibid.: 501). According to the above-named definitions of management and education, educational management can be defined as controlling and organising the work that an educational institution does, such as school, but also how people control and organize situations that happen in education. Müller (2006: 12) characterises educational management as organising, leading and developing of social systems in education, in which didactical actions are implicated. By didactical actions Müller (2006: 13) means the action of teaching, but also setting and stipulating requirements for educational process as well as creating an educational framework of an educational institution.

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For Schuster-Lang et al. (2008: 7) educational management is the leadership, organisation and administration of an educational institution. Similar to Müller (2006: 14), the authors distinguish between management of educational institutions and management of educational processes within managerial actions in education. Management of educational institutions concerns itself with institutional principles and aims as well as methods of reaching those aims (Schuster-Lang et al. 2008: 7-9). Müller (2006: 15-16), furthermore, classifies the managerial processes under leading, core and support processes which comprise leadership and administration of an institution with regard to general organising, planning and program generation as well as setting the concept or mission of the institution and staffing.

Setting the concept or mission within the management of educational institution is, according to Müller (2006), the key aspect of management of educational process. Demand analysis defines the school curriculum as well as educational aims which are reached with planned syllabus, activities and examinations. According to Müller's (2006) outline, the implementation of didactical and methodical actions and all other processes which ensure the perpetuation of imparted knowledge are preceded by evaluations and curriculum revisions (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Management of educational process

Source: Müller 2006: 20 (own translation)

Referring to Grüner (2000), Schuster-Lang et al. (2008) name the components of management of educational process. Similar to Müller (2006) demand analysis is the foundation for educational planning which defines the educational content (curriculum and syllabus [1] ) and methods of implementation. Furthermore, the didactical actions and methods of content implementation are to be evaluated (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Components of management of educational process

Source: Schuster-Lang at al. 2008: 9 and Grüner 2000: 83 (own translation)

Grüner (2000), Schuster-Lang at al. (2008) as well as Müller (2006) point out the importance of evaluation which is related to demand analysis and reaching aims. Evaluation and content revision can influence the didactical and methodical strategies, deciding on reaching educational aims defined by the concept or mission which are created within the process of management of an educational institution.

Franz Decker (1995: 33) describes educational management as the activity of organising and controlling of personal, operational, social, cultural and organisational processes with regard to learning, qualifying and developing. Decker (1995: 17) states that the organising and controlling of educational situations and processes is the first scope of managerial actions in educational management, which consists of teaching and learning situations in which the manager or teacher respectively has to decide the teaching content and the methods of implementation (ibid.: 33-34). The second scope of managerial actions is planning, organising and controlling, with regard to administration of an educational institution (ibid.: 35). Pedagogical leadership is the third scope of managerial actions in educational management. This scope involves instructing as well as organising and controlling of teaching and communication processes in an educational institution (ibid.: 223), and refers to educational leadership regarding students, employees and educational institution itself (ibid.: 225).

Significance of communication in educational management

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In "Theories of Educational Management" Tony Bush (2006: 2) claims: "The concept of management overlaps with two similar terms, leadership and administration" [2] . Bush (2006: 1) argues, however, that "educational management has to be centrally concerned with the purpose or aims of education". He distinguishes between leadership and management, but he clearly states that "both need to be given equal prominence if educational institutions are to operate effectively and achieve their objectives" (ibid.: 2). Another distinction is presented by Dimmock (1999: 442). He differentiates between educational management which is routine maintenance of present operations, between leadership in education (higher order tasks) designed to improve staff, student and school performance, as well as between administration of an educational institution (lower order duties). Defining management and leadership Cuban (1998: xx) states: "By leadership, I mean influencing others actions in achieving desirable ends. Managing is maintaining efficiently and effectively current organisational arrangements. I prize both managing and leading and attach no special value to either since different settings and times call for varied responses".

Even though the above-presented theories differ from each other in terms of perception of educational management with regard to management, leadership and administration and also with regard to management of educational institution and educational process, their theorists point out the importance of interaction, communication and cooperation within those fields (Bush 2006: 2). According to Decker (1995: 306) communication is present in all scopes of managerial actions within educational management and contributes to successful management and leadership. Furthermore, Müller (2006) argues that management of educational institutions defines the management of educational process and points to the presence and importance of communication within educational management. Therefore, communication within different managerial actions in education can be seen as the fusion factor within educational management which assures a successful functioning of an educational institution with regard to both, management of educational process as well as management of educational institution.

Importance of intercultural communication in education

Significance of intercultural skills and competences

The idea of intercultural communication consists of two different concepts: communication and culture. Lustig and Koestner (1996: 29) define communication as "a symbolic process in which people create shared meanings". Words, actions or objects are symbols which represent ways of perception, thoughts or feelings, which are meanings. Meanings are created, experienced and communicated by individuals and need to be interpreted as messages. Messages which consist of symbols are used to create shared meanings (ibid.). The aim of communication is, according to Hoopes and Pusch (1979: 4), to transfer the message with as little loss of meaning as possible. Hall (1959: 186) argues, furthermore, that culture is communication, and that communication is culture.

The noun "culture" has its origins in Latin and it had been already used by Roman stoic philosophers with regard to cultivation of mind, manners and taste (ÄŒerný 2004). Culture, according to Hoopes and Pusch (1979: 3), is the sum total of "ways of living" which a group of people has developed to assure its survival in a particular physical and human environment. With "ways of living" they mean values, beliefs, patterns of thinking and behavioural norms as well as linguistic expressions and styles of communication. The above-named definitions of communication and culture define intercultural communication as a communication process between people of different cultural backgrounds including non-verbal as well as verbal communication among individuals or between social, political or economic entities in different cultures, including educational institutions (ibid.: 1979: 6).

It cannot be denied that we live in a multicultural world which deals with its own irreversible diversity and pluralism. Globalisation and migration as well as political and cultural cooperation and integration are giving rise to a fast growing need for people who are able to cope with a culturally diverse world and with cultural diverse nation (Hoopes & Pusch, 1979: vii). Multicultural reality requires sensitivity and knowledge of how other people may think and act, but also in-depth understanding of cultural issues, such as awareness of cultural diversity and communication across cultures. Furthermore, the migration of individuals and groups within different cultural environments has increased the importance of acquisition of intercultural skills and competences which are a necessity for everyone's maximum effective functioning (Wasielewski & Seelye 1979: 63).

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In order to accommodate diversity, Jacob (2003: 19) argues that effective intercultural competence should be acquired. With effective intercultural competence she means relevant skills such as cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity. Those skills prevent miscommunication and misunderstandings as well as help to avoid mistakes in ethnically and nationally varied environments. Lack of knowledge of another culture can lead to misunderstandings in communication, which may confuse or even offend the people we wish to communicate with. Furthermore, Kotthoff and Spencer-Oatey (2007: 3-4) argue, that intercultural communication addresses a wider range of problems occurring in the modern world. They name not only misunderstandings and conflicts, which come into existence because of miscommunication, but also discrimination and identity perception. The objective of intercultural communication is to find solutions to those problems.

Role of educational institutions in passing on intercultural skills

Ever since the modern world has become a "global village" intercultural communication started to play a significant role within many different sectors of life, also in education. Individuals who participate in communication across cultures have been educated in schools which have inculcated them with the common language as well as knowledge, behaviour patterns and norms but also with understanding of culture which is indispensable for life in the society. Scherr (2007: 303) states that educational institutions can use intercultural research and pedagogical theory to face the task of developing sensibility to forms of discrimination and overcome both, racism and discrimination which occur in the multilingual and multicultural local and global environments, also in schools. In order to know how to cope and deal with stereotypes and prejudice, an appropriate form of education should involve not only recognizing of cultural differences (ibid.: 317), but emphasize intercultural skills and competences (ibid.: 313). Scherr (2007: 303) claims: "Schooling thus is based, for one, on assumptions about the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands of industry and political life".

The acquisition of intercultural skills is necessary for everyone's maximum effective functioning in the globalized world (Wasielewski and Seelye 1979: 63). Schools in particular can teach how to accommodate diversity because they are social and educational institutions with the objective to prepare individuals for successful interaction, communication and cooperation with representatives of diverse cultural backgrounds in local and global environments. In order to meet the demands of industry and political life, schools can hand over the understanding of diverse "ways of living" with the objective to prepare students for successful confrontation with multicultural and multilingual reality. Intercultural communication can be integrated into school curriculum and teaching methodology as well as school functioning and administration (Friesen 1972: 177). Generally speaking, the aspects of intercultural communication as well as intercultural skills and competences are important and can and should be implemented and integrated in education and its management.

Intercultural education

Aims and purposes of an intercultural curriculum

Curriculum in intercultural education

In order to hand over intercultural skills and competences a new activity in education has come into existence: intercultural education. This educational activity fosters the understanding of the nature and culture, and aims for students to view the world from other perspectives than one's own (Hoopes & Pusch 1979: 6). Its objective is to equip students with better understanding of culture and its effects on individuals and groups (ibid.: vii) as well as to make them aware that cultural plurality influences a positive co-existing of different cultures and helps to find solutions to cultural conflicts and misunderstandings (Niedersächsisches Kultusministerium 2000: 27). The Irish National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA 2006: 14) argues that if "the primary aim of education is the preparation of young people for the challenges of living in the world today then intercultural education is an essential part of that process. Intercultural education is not another subject to be added to the curriculum, nor does it involve extra material to be covered in particular subjects".

Educational objectives inform the curriculum. On the other hand, the curriculum defines which skills are to be handed over to students in schools. Wasielewski and Seelye (1979: 64) claim that the school curriculum already holds the greatest and most easily implementable possibilities for infusion of intercultural aspects in the management of educational process. Furthermore, NCCA (2006: 50) states that the content of intercultural curriculum is compatible with the aims and purposes of school curriculum. As such, intercultural curriculum is relevant to all teaching areas in which the integration of intercultural content across the school curriculum provides the student with a more consistent and richer learning experience (ibid.).

Objectives of an intercultural curriculum

One of the objectives of an intercultural curriculum is, according to Patricia Daniel (2002), to equip students with better understanding of languages and cultures as well as history of their closest environment and of the world. In order to acknowledge diversity and value difference, Daniel (2002) claims that students should be encouraged to learn and use foreign languages. This important intercultural approach teaches students how to live with harmony and respect within a multiethnic, multinational and multilingual society and reflects the aims and purposes of an intercultural curriculum. Promotion of equal opportunities and expectations between men and women as well as understanding of gender relations and other aspects of power are further skills and competences which, according to Daniel (2002), are to be included to the intercultural school curriculum.

In order to support implementation and integration of intercultural teaching, NCCA (2006) created a guide. It outlines five themes or aspects respectively in context of which the objectives of school curriculum are presented in the spirit of intercultural education (ibid.: 50). "Identity and belonging" is the first theme according to which students develop a positive sense of self as an individual, as a member of a cultural or ethnic group, and as a member of an intercultural society (ibid.: 53). Second theme, "Similarity and difference", has the objective to develop the ability to compare and contrast different opinions and perspectives as well as to critically analyse stereotypical representations of different social and cultural groups (ibid.: 55). "Human rights and responsibilities" is the next theme named by NCCA (2006: 57) in which students learn how to apply human rights concepts and standards to local and global situations which occur in everyday life. Whereas intercultural skills promote equality, the task of the theme "Discrimination and equality", is to hand over the values of empathy with those who are discriminated as well as the ability to make informed and balanced judgements and also to challenge discrimination (ibid.: 59). The last theme is "Conflict and conflict resolution". Its aim is to equip students with the ability to listen with empathy and engage with people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, but also to promote open-mindedness as well as commitment to learning from the positions of others (ibid. 61).

However, NCCA (2006: 50) argues that above-presented themes "are overlapping and interlocking but they are not separate bodies of knowledge". Intercultural education "is an approach to education that can be integrated across all subject areas" (ibid.: 14). Intercultural skills and competences defined within the totality of content and aims to be reached within an intercultural educational process are important for effective functioning of individuals in our reality and educational environment in general. Intercultural curriculum can be applied to all lessons and subjects. According to Hilliard (1975) "Every school subject, if taught truthfully and realistically, requires a plural cultural perspective. Science, literature, the behavioural sciences, all must be freed from the monocultural ethnocentric focus that characterizes most standard course work" (quoted in Wasilewski and Seelye 1979: 64).

Content of an intercultural syllabus

An intercultural syllabus

Syllabus refers to the content or subject matter of an individual subject (White 1988: 4). In intercultural context, it identifies a range of intercultural aspects within subject areas which deal with identity and belonging, similarity and difference, human rights and responsibilities, discrimination and equality, as well as conflict and conflict resolution. In other words, the syllabus is included in the curriculum and outlines the subjects in which the curriculum is presented and represents the content of an individual course and specifies how this content is graded and sequenced. Therefore, the objective of the school syllabus is to use diverse subjects to pass on to students the skills and competences defined in the school curriculum, or in this case in the intercultural curriculum. NCCA (2006: 62) clearly states that "all subject areas contain opportunities for engaging in intercultural education". The content of intercultural syllabus subsumes diverse subjects across the school curriculum informed by the objectives of intercultural education.

Intercultural competences in various subjects

Wasilewski and Seelye (1979: 67) claim that language can serve as the core syllabus of an intercultural school: "Language is, of course the major transmitter of culture. Learning the culture of a language is essential for fluency". Language acquisition is fundamental for the development of cognitive abilities, and of emotional and imaginative capacities. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO 2006: 13) linguistic competences are fundamental for the empowerment of the individual in plural societies. Promoting other cultures and encouraging openness to diversity can be reached, for instance, with interpreting of culturally different texts, films etc., within a language class in which students are enabled to empathise with the experience and point of view of others. Furthermore, the students are provided with opportunities to express and respond to differing opinions, interpretations and ideas, thereby broadening their social and cultural experiences while developing skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. With respect to all language use, students are helped to recognise prejudice and stereotyping, and thereby develop a critical consciousness (NCCA 2005: 65).

Foreign languages syllabus contains specific references to the importance of culture and all cultural aspects. The aim of modern language classes is to gain the ability to communicate intercultural and therefore to give students an awareness of another culture and a more objective perspective on aspects of their own culture (Niedersächsisches Kultusministerium 2000: 84). Another aim of a modern language class is to equip students with a broad acquaintance with the cultural, social and political intricacy of the countries in which the target language is a normal medium of communication and, furthermore, to help raise their awareness of cultural, social and political diversity in general (NCCA 2006: 70). Learning of a modern language and its literature sensitises students to cultural diversity with the country or countries of the target language, and also allows them to explore values and attitudes of a diverse cultures. Language is not approached simply as the study of language as a tool of communication or even as the study of a body of literature: it is rather seen as an exploration of a whole world and its cultural diversity (ibid.).

Kazimiera Myczko (2005: 29-30) states that the main aim of intercultural syllabus with regard to modern language and literature classes is to enable students to communicate across different cultures and develop interpersonal skills which help to maintain relations with representatives of different cultures. Furthermore, she argues that students should be given information (e.g. literature, images, etc.) with regard to different aspects of reality, society as well as history of the country or culture of the target language. Those didactical actions give the opportunity to develop a certain grade of tolerance, empathy and the ability to observe, compare, draw conclusions from own point of view. However, at the same time it develops open-mindedness to representatives of different cultures as well as understanding of their mindset and mode of dealing. The above-named intercultural skills and competences, which are handed over within the modern language and literature classes are, according to Myczko (2005: 31), indispensible in order to survive in the complex reality of the modern, multicultural and multilingual world.

Intercultural syllabus can be also imparted within the subject of mathematics. Mathematics is considered to be the only world language (Wasilewski and Seelye 1979: 65) and can be presented with choices and opportunities for promoting of an intercultural perspective. Mathematics can be an important tool in intercultural education because of the skills it develops, e.g.: problem-solving skills as well as the ability to analyse and draw reasoned conclusions (NCCA 2006: 69). Furthermore, the concepts of equality and inequality, central to education in intercultural context, are also highly important to mathematics. Through the appropriate use of examples and images, such as shape and space, or measures and numbers, the normality of diversity in the world in geometric representations, in forms of measurement and in number systems can be highlighted and valued. This provides an intercultural context for the recognition and celebration of a diversity of cultural traditions and their contribution to the international society (ibid. 2005: 81).

History as well as political, social and religious education, similar to mathematics, is a subject area which can be used in intercultural education in order to hand over intercultural skills and competences. History provides opportunities for the development of empathy with other people and a better understanding of past and current social and political interactions and events. The recognition that the subject of history is concerned with different ways in which past events can be understood provides a possibility for students to explore various perspectives of political, social and religious attitudes (ibid.: 82). Furthermore, similar to political, social and religious education, history provides students with opportunities to reflect on historical, political and social evidence, as well as recognise and challenge stereotypes (ibid. 2006: 68). The ability to empathise with a different perspective enhances the understanding of history, political and social sciences as well as theology in general.

The idea of diversity, which is central to intercultural communication, is also central to the study of geography. By exploring and studying diverse environments, as well as lives of people who represent those environments, students can get to know the richness of various cultural, ethnic, social and religious backgrounds and therefore value multinational and multilingual contribution to local and global environments. The opportunities for the development of skills of exploration, central to communication across cultures and also to geography, develop empathy with representatives of diverse environments as well as understanding and appreciation of the variety of environmental conditions worldwide. This key aim of Geography and intercultural communication gives the opportunity to explore the normality of diversity throughout the world. All these concepts are relevant to intercultural education and provide enough opportunities for investigating issues of equity, justice and interdependence (NCCA 2005: 83, 2006: 66-67).

The development of student's capacity to express ideas, feelings and experiences as an individual and in collaboration with others can be reached within the subject areas of Arts and Crafts, Music and Drama. In intercultural context, the aim of above-named subjects is to promote empathy with ideas, attitudes and feelings of others but also to encourage and value self-esteem and self-confidence through self-expression and participation in various artistic performances (ibid. 2005: 83-85). The combination of production and reflection, which are fundamental components of Arts and Crafts, Music and Drama, make an essential contribution to the development of an intercultural attitude and understanding of diversity (Niedersächsisches Kultusministerium 2000: 131). Acquaintance with diverse sorts of art also contributes to understanding of various cultural phenomena and diversity of cultural perspectives in the world.

All above-presented subject areas create numerous options which can be used in order to hand over intercultural competences. Even though different subjects deal with diverse topics they are all interlocking with each other (NCCA 2006: 60). Historical issues, for instance, are present in most of the subjects and can impart the knowledge of history of local and global languages, literature, culture, mathematics, politics, religion as well as arts and music. In order to hand over intercultural skills and competences no extra material has to be involved. The subject areas can use their own content, emphasizing the context of intercultural communication as well as its importance within particular subject. Daniel (2000) and Lawton (1975: 48) argue, however, that the important intercultural education takes place not only by means of lessons and subjects. Intercultural education involves all school environments.

Creating intercultural learning spaces

An intercultural classroom

The key principles of intercultural education are neither restricted by the curriculum nor confined to a single syllabus area. Intercultural education is embedded in the practices and dispositions that inform both, the school curriculum and the syllabus, but also the classroom environment (NCCA 2006: 38). An intercultural classroom is characterised by a learning space that reflects and shows pride in the cultural and language diversity (ibid.). An intercultural learning space should provide a support for a positive self-image of all students as well as reinforcing the normality of diversity for all, students and teachers alike. The key issues involved in planning of the classroom in the spirit of intercultural communication should concentrate on representing diversity in a positive way, but also on representing diversity as a normal part of human existence in everyday life in a local and global context (ibid.).

In order to accommodate diversity in the classroom, classroom displays can be seen as an important tool of intercultural education. On one hand, an intercultural display can be drawn from a range of cultural traditions and show, for instance, cultural influenced artwork, including the students' own work. On the other hand, an intercultural class display could show images of representatives of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, but also of people of different age, gender, and social class who have contributed to different teaching areas (ibid.). An intercultural classroom display can help to build an awareness of one's own cultural heritage, but also to build understanding that no culture is intrinsically superior to another, whereas all have contributed to education as well as social, political, cultural and scientific development in global context at all points. Furthermore, intercultural classroom can play a significant role in fostering understanding and acceptance of many different cultures as well as one's own, but also encouraging seeing different cultures as a source of learning. An intercultural classroom ought to become a "hidden tool" for passing on intercultural skills and competences; for accepting and normalising cultural diversity in everyday life.

NCCA (2006: 108) claims that teachers are not only teachers of one or two subjects in particular, but they all are language teachers and their classrooms are language classrooms. Whereas language is the major transmitter of culture (Wasilewski and Seelye 1979: 67) and is one of the most universal and diverse forms of expression of issues of identity, memory and transmission of knowledge (UNESCO 2006: 13), presence of multilingualism in the classroom is an important aspect in creating intercultural learning spaces and handing over intercultural skills and competences. Therefore, the most important thing that teachers can do for students is to demonstrate a positive attitude towards language and culture as well as demonstrate linguistic and cultural diversity in a positive way (NCCA 2005: 44). This can occur with regard to both, languages which are planned in the school syllabus, as well as languages represented by ethnical majorities and minorities which participate in everyday school life.

Presence of multilingualism in the classroom environment as well as in the school environment in general encourages students to accept various languages and cultures and to respect diversity in a local, national as well as international context. Furthermore, students who learn in multilingual environments are enabled to take the fullest advantage of their own educational opportunity. On one hand, they learn to value their own language and culture, and on the other hand, they become thoroughly proficient and skilled in another language and know how to deal with representatives of other cultures and how to respect various attitudes which differ from their own. A multilingual, intercultural classroom, which makes a full use of intercultural education and multilingualism, can be seen as a methodological approach which ensures the perpetuation of imparted skills and competences within an intercultural educational content. Student's identity and cultural sensitivity, which are central skills acquired in an intercultural educational process, can be developed in an indirect way using the classroom as a "hidden tool" of intercultural communication and education respectively.

Co-curricular activities in an intercultural context

"Intercultural education extends beyond a narrow focus on the content of classroom teaching" (NCCA 2006: 22). Co-curricular activities, especially school trips, excursions and exchange programs, play a significant role in handing over intercultural skills and competences. Contacts with representatives of diverse countries, cultures and languages as well as international exchange have increased during recent years in life and also in education. Whereas intercultural education requires a real world focus (NCCA 2005: 20), cooperation with foreign educational institutions, especially with schools from abroad, is crucial in order to hand over intercultural skills for both, students and teachers alike. Such cooperation creates an authentic intercultural learning space with the objective to acquire relevant intercultural skills such as cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity. An authentic intercultural environment makes all learners aware that their own knowledge and experience is the first step for acquiring new or different understanding: "Intrapersonal (self-understanding) and interpersonal (understanding of relationships with others) skills are essential for personal, social and educational fulfilment" (NCCA 2006: 16). Furthermore, international co-curricular activities give the opportunity to participate in various projects as well as interact, communicate and cooperate with representatives of diverse cultures and possible to understand the perspective of the partner.

International cooperation creates vivid learning spaces for acquiring of intercultural skills (Niedersächsisches Kultusministerium 2000: 168). Pleasure in interaction with others, empathy with representatives of diverse cultures, linguistic proficiency in foreign languages, ability to deal with cultural conflicts and misunderstandings, self-assurance and own cultural consciousness - all above-named intercultural skills can be trained during stays abroad or visits from abroad, provided within international school trips, excursions and exchange programmes. Both, host and visiting students and teachers alike, benefit from contacts with representatives of different cultures. Apart from learning the language of the host or visiting country, they experience a different culture and environment; they develop an awareness and understanding of people from different cultural backgrounds and can contribute to a general cultural understanding, with regard to accommodating diversity as well as overcoming stereotypes, prejudice, racism and discrimination. Skills acquired with regard to international school cooperation contribute to successful communication across cultures and teach how to prevent misunderstandings as well as help to avoid mistakes in cultural varied environments. Co-curricular activities such as school trips, excursions and exchange programs should be seen as authentic, classroom-independent methodological approach which ensures the perpetuation and development of imparted intercultural skills and competences in authentic multilingual and multicultural environments in which all participants communicate across cultures.

Intercultural framework

Creating an intercultural mission

An intercultural school mission

Aspects of intercultural communication can be implemented and integrated not only in management of educational process, but also in further scopes of educational management. Management of educational process is defined within management of educational institution. Intercultural school mission which is the key aspect of management of intercultural educational process (Müller 2006: 20) is fundamental for the intercultural school framework. All schools have a defined concept and a sense of mission. The mission statement reflects the aims of an educational institution as school community and encapsulates its aspirations and expectations. Aspects of intercultural communication which can be implemented and integrated in educational management extend far beyond the content of school curriculum and syllabus, but also far beyond the content of intercultural learning spaces in general. While formulating an intercultural mission of an educational institution, aspects of intercultural communication as well as principles of intercultural education should be seen as fundamental guidelines (NCCA 2006: 26). The intercultural mission of an educational institution should be incorporated into the school environment in general, with regard to the educational content as well as social, personal and structural aspects of an intercultural educational institution.

Principles of an intercultural school

Aspects of intercultural communication and education respectively should be integrated within the general life of school, with regard to school educational plan as well as school functioning. Intercultural principles should address all members of the school community (NCCA 2005: 20) and refer to all, students and teachers alike, irrespective of skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion and language, respecting the cultural identity of all (UNESCO 2006: 32). Both, students and teachers should be seen as part and parcel of an intercultural school environment; as learners who acquire intercultural skills and competences (Niedersächsisches Kultusministerium 2000:26) in the classroom, within co-curricular activities, but also in everyday school life. Cultural awareness and sensitivity as well as curiosity about cultural and social difference should be encouraged in all scopes of school environment. In order to develop sensitivity to diversity, difference should be presented as a normal part of every day school life. Development of critical thinking by enabling people to gain perspective on and question their own culture should be central to the educational institution and its community (NCCA 2006: 15). A school framework that accommodates principles of intercultural communication, principles of equality, diversity and promotion of a positive self-concept and personal wellbeing for each individual can successfully ensure that a supportive environment is created in which the particular personal, social and educational needs of all, students and teachers alike, irrespective of their social, cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds are met.

Ensuring an intercultural working environment

Significance of the school community

One of the underlying principles of successful school development planning is, according to NCCA (2006: 22) "good communication between all members of the school community". It is important that all members of the school community, students, parents, teachers and administrators alike, are involved in the collective responsibility of developing and maintaining an intercultural school environment. It is important that everyone who participates in the general school life has the opportunity to express their opinions, share their views as well as feel a sense of involvement in the processes which occur in their educational environment. In order to create an educational institution which follows the principles of intercultural communication and education UNESCO (2006: 33) suggests that learners, parents and other community members, teachers and administrators from different cultural backgrounds should be involved in school management, supervision and control, decision-making, planning and the implementation of educational programmes. An intercultural school can make a full use of its environment and community through use of the school as a centre for social and cultural activities, for both educational purposes and for the school community in general through participation of traditional artists, performers and instructors from their local community (ibid.: 34). An intercultural school environment should ensure that all who are involved in the school community, irrespective of their skin colour, religion, ethnic group, or ability can feel at home.

Intercultural teaching skills

Push et al. (1979: 86) clearly state that no educational concept is worth much more than teachers who preside over it. The concept of an intercultural school should, according to UNESCO (2006: 37), "provide all learners with cultural knowledge, attitudes and skills that enable them to contribute to respect, understanding and solidarity among individuals, ethnic, social, cultural and religious groups and nations". In order to reach the aims and principles of every intercultural educational institution, educational environments need intercultural competent teachers who are able to provide their learners with cultural skills and competences that enable them to accommodate their cultural heritage, but above all to accommodate cultural diversity in a local and global context. Therefore, teachers who follow an intercultural curriculum need to acquire intercultural skills and competences in order to pass them on to their students. Furthermore, teachers should be given an appropriate and adequate teacher training which incorporates principles of intercultural communication, management and education respectively (ibid.).

According to UNESCO (2006: 38) teacher's initial education and permanent professional development should aim at creating awareness of the positive value of cultural diversity and of the right of the person to be different. Furthermore, knowledge of the local and global history as well as of cultural heritage should be seen as central skills and competences of teachers, who educate intercultural skills. Such knowledge facilitates better understanding and the ability to convey the idea of the plural, dynamic, relative and complementary nature of cultures (ibid.). Additionally, teachers should be aware of the role of education in the struggle against racism and discrimination. Therefore, the importance of open-mindedness to diversity as well as knowledge of more than one working language is crucial for education realised in the spirit of intercultural communication (ibid.). An appropriate teacher training should aim at the application of diversity as a tool in the classroom in order to benefit the learner of both, majority and minority groups represented in the school environment (ibid.: 36).

It is important to remind ourselves that both, students and teachers alike are participants in intercultural communication processes and both are learners within intercultural education. Intercultural skills defined in an educational content can be acquired by the teachers, administrators and other educators in a multilingual and multicultural classroom environment, but also in other intercultural environments which ensure the perpetuation of imparted intercultural skills and competences. Therefore, cooperation with diverse educational institutions from abroad, direct contacts and regular exchanges between teachers as well as administrators and other educators with different countries or diverse cultural environments are highly important for authentic interaction, communication and cooperation beyond cultural barriers. Teacher's intercultural skills, which have been developed in an authentic intercultural environment, make the teacher a more authentic educator, who knows which aspects of intercultural communication are to be implemented and integrated in particular subjects, topics or environments. This professional competence and cultural experience should be seen as foundation for successful and effective functioning of an intercultural school with regard to both, management of educational process as well as management of educational institution.


Diverse managerial actions in education are dependent from and influence each other. Communication has to be seen, therefore, as the fusion factor which comprises all managerial actions with regard to management of educational process as well as management of an educational institution. If educational institutions are to operate successfully and effectively in the complex societies of the 21st century it cannot be denied that educational management has to implement and integrate some aspects of intercultural communication. Furthermore, the reality of the modern world, influenced by multiculturalism and multilingualism requires that all groups and individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds acquire intercultural skills and competences, which enable them to accommodate diversity and communicate successfully across cultures; communicate intercultural. Therefore an educational institution, which main aim is to prepare individuals for successful functioning in globalized local and global environments should make a full use of intercultural communication with regard to educational management.

In order to prepare individuals for demands of the globalized world, aspects of intercultural communication should be integrated in the general educational process and have to be seen as an essential part of that process. Intercultural education, which aim is to pass on intercultural skills by equipping students with better understanding of their own culture but above all of other cultures as well as by encouraging students to interact, communicate and cooperate with representative of diverse cultural backgrounds, can be easily incorporated into school curriculum and can be represented in the school syllabus through language and literature, mathematics, history, politics, religion, geography and arts classes. However, intercultural education should extend far beyond the classroom teaching. Education in an intercultural context should make a full use of multiculturalism and multilingualism in local and global environments. Arrangement of authentic and vivid learning spaces which enable students and teachers alike to meet representatives of diverse cultural backgrounds and to understand their attitudes creates the possibility to communicate across diverse cultures and practice intercultural communication.

Aspects of intercultural communication in educational management should extend also far beyond the management of educational process. The principles of intercultural communication can be used as fundamental guidelines in creating an intercultural school framework; in management of educational institution. An intercultural school mission should define general cultural, social as well as educational aims of an educational institution and of the school as a community. All involved in the school environment should be encouraged to participate in the general school life and in setting and maintaining the intercultural framework of the educational institution. School environment should be seen as an educational and social environment which follows the principles of intercultural communication, enables students to interact with representatives of diverse cultures and presents cultural diversity as a normal part of everyday life. Students, but above all educators who prised over an intercultural educational concept, should acquire relevant intercultural skills and competences in authentic multicultural and multilingual local and global environments. Intercultural teacher training aims to provide more authentic educators who are able to communicate across cultures and pass on relevant intercultural skills and create an intercultural educational environment.

In my opinion aspects of intercultural communication are important for education and have to be implemented and integrated in educational management. Management of educational institution influenced with intercultural aspects will create a foundation for cultural, social and educational objectives of an intercultural educational institution which accepts and presents diversity as a normal part of everyday life by acquiring intercultural skills and competences. As I have already stated it cannot be denied that aspects of intercultural communication are of great interest for education. Intercultural aspects are, furthermore, highly important for effective functioning of educational institutions in the 21st century as well as for maximum effective functioning of school leavers, individuals. Educational institutions, such as schools, have to implement and integrate aspects of intercultural communication in order to equip their students in skills and competences necessary to meet social demands of multilingual and multicultural national and international environments of the modern, globalized world.