Glossary of key terminology
Acknowledgement of identities
Acknowledgement of identities is the ability to take full notice of other people’s identities and to recognise them for what they are.
Action orientation involves possessing the willingness to undertake some activity alone or with others as a consequence of reflection. Action orientation has the aim of making a contribution to the common good.
Attitudes are dispositions to act positively or negatively towards an idea, a person or situation; they involve feelings, consciously held opinions and inclinations to actions. Positive attitudes towards people of another culture are the basis of intercultural competence.
In interaction with others, behavioural flexibility is needed to adjust and adapt your behaviour to new situations and knowledge as they emerge.
Communicative awareness is the ability to recognise different linguistic conventions, different verbal and non-verbal communication conventions – especially in a foreign language – and their effects on discourse processes, and to negotiate rules appropriate for intercultural communication.
To consolidate learning is to identify the main learning points.
Critical cultural awareness
Critical cultural awareness is the ability to evaluate critically and on the basis of explicit criteria, perspectives, practices and products in one’s own and other cultures and countries.
The word ‘culture’ is associated with practices, beliefs, values, symbols and traditions, with particular ways of living and of understanding the world. One’s cultural identity incorporates both the inherited features of different national, ethnic and religious groups and new elements acquired through interaction with others of different backgrounds or in response to global influences and changing circumstances.
Discovery is the ability to acquire new knowledge of a culture and cultural practices.
Education for democratic citizenship
Education for democratic citizenship means equipping learners with knowledge, skills and understanding and moulding their attitudes and behaviour, to empower them to exercise and defend their democratic rights and responsibilities in society, to value diversity and to play an active part in democratic life, with a view to the promotion and protection of democracy and the rule of law.
Empathy is the ability to project oneself into another person’s perspective and their opinions, motives, ways of thinking and feelings. Empathetic persons are able to relate and respond in appropriate ways to the feelings, preferences and ways of thinking of others.
Ethnicity is membership of an ethnic group. Ethnic groups are communities of people sharing a number of characteristics such as a subjective sense of sharing a common ancestry, shared memories of a common historical (or mythical) past, common traditions, customs and practices (which may include a common religion or language) and as well as a shared sense of solidarity and consciousness.
To extend learning is to ask new questions and make new connections.
The term 'gender' is used for the state of being male or female, for the social roles associated with masculinity and femininity in different cultural contexts, and for a person’s private sense and subjective experience of being a man or a woman, a boy or a girl.
General knowledge is knowledge of social processes and their products.
Horizontal heritage refers to the cultural influences transmitted to us by our contemporaries and the age in which we live.
Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. It often implies a person’s lack of interest in acquiring the knowledge relevant to a situation, or a false belief that he or she already has the required knowledge and so does not need seek out clarification but rather relies on his or her ignorant position.
Interaction is the ability to operate knowledge, attitudes and skills under the restraints of real-time interaction.
Intercultural competences are the specific competences required to relate positively to people from other ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds, and to engage in subsequent actions which can help foster a deeper understanding of different cultural practices and world views.
Engaging in intercultural dialogue with people of different cultures entails exchanging views and being open to revising some of our own ideas in the light of the new meanings we learn from them.
An intercultural encounter is an interpersonal encounter where there is some significant difference in cultural identities, backgrounds, worldviews, and practices between the participants involved.
Interpreting and relating
Interpreting and relating involve the ability to interpret a document or event from another culture, to explain it and relate it to documents or events from one’s own culture.
The knowledge required for intercultural competence is not primarily knowledge about a specific culture, but rather knowledge of how social groups and social identities function, both one’s own and others. If it can be anticipated with whom one will interact, then knowledge of that person’s world is useful
A methodology is a system for solving a problem, with specific components such as tasks, methods, techniques and tools.
The term ‘multicultural society’ is used to denote a society which has become culturally diverse as a consequence of the immigration of people who have been born and raised in other cultures and who have therefore brought elements of their heritage culture to the new society in which they have settled.
Nationality or national identity is membership of a nation. Nations are named human communities, typically living in their own historic homelands, which share a common history, have a shared culture and have a politicised national self-awareness.
A person's perspective is their viewpoint or way of thinking about things. Being aware of other people’s perspectives means being alert to what they might be feeling or thinking, finding easy or difficult. Differences in people’s viewpoints or ways of thinking mean there will be multiple perspectives on any situation or event in which a plurality of people are involved.
Prejudice refers to making a decision or judgment before becoming aware of the relevant facts. The word has come to be used for preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race, ethnicity, language, nationality or other personal characteristics.
The term ‘race’ denotes a system of categories based on supposed biological differences between people, especially differences in skin pigmentation, hair texture and physiognomy. Although such racial categorisation lacks any meaningful biological foundations, the social reality of race impacts seriously on the everyday lives of many individuals through racist discrimination.
Reflection is an individual’s intellectual and affective exploration of his or her experiences in order to achieve greater understanding.
Religion is often understood in terms of the varied practices, structures and belief systems of people of faith. Definitions of religion as a belief system associate the term with a community of like-minded believers or with something individual, private and mutable. Where religion is understood in terms of identity (e.g. Muslim, Catholic, Jew) it is often associated with family, ethnicity and race and viewed as something one is born into.
Respect for otherness
Respect for otherness is belief about the naturalness of one's own culture and to believe in the naturaliness of other cultures.
One’s self identity is the image one has of oneself particularly in relation to other people. It may include national, ethnic, racial, religious and gender identifications, but the importance of any of these to one’s self understanding and the identity one projects will vary according to context – social groupings, attitudes, relationships, roles etc. Self-identity is thus multi-faceted and fluid.
Skills are the abilities acquired through deliberate, sustained effort to carry out the actions needed for intercultural competence.
Specific knowledge is knowledge of illustrations of those social processes and products that are part of general knowledge. It includes knowledge about how other people see themselves as well as some knowledge about other people.
Tolerance of ambiguity
Tolerance of ambiguity is the ability to accept ambiguity and lack of clarity and to be able to deal with this constructively.
Vertical heritage is heritage that is passed down to us from our ancestors, our religious community and popular traditions.