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5. Ecological pedagogy

We all received a very good interpretation and description of interculturality in society from the point of view of ecological pedagogy. It is considered a common terrain, even be-cause it is a very pedagogical approach to interculturalism (learning from each other).
To understand the ecosystem of a person in the environment, the ecological model of Bronfenbrenner can help us. It shows us 5 levels of system surrounding a person:

As one can see the part of culture is founded in the macro system. It is influenced by the chrono system and influences all the other systems. The chrono system is the same for all people, but the systems below can differ. So a person’s culture has a big influence on one’s personality. Therefore as two persons meet, their cultures interact. This interaction can be successful, but it can also lead to conflict.
To understand this interaction, the Johari-window can be helpful. In the theory of the Johari-window it’s important to get as much free space as possible. When people from differ-ent cultures meet often the hidden area is big. The values underneath the messages are not clear. Often partners in conversation don’t know the backgrounds of their values. Those val-ues often originate in the system of the culture. As people are not always aware of their cul-ture (blind spot) it’s even more difficult to understand each other’s values.

Taking both models into consideration we can create a new model. This model can be used to look at the cultural issues in a country.


We distinguish three different levels in cultural interaction:

1. Different people from cultures live next to each other in the same area and don’t in-teract at all (e.g. different cultural/religious schools).


Living apart together or segregation



Process of marginalizing the other cultures.




2. Different cultures live together in the same area and they try to influence and also marginalize the other cultures.
a. The sub culture disappears in the mainstream (assimilation).
b. The subculture is accepted within the limits of the mainstream (integration)









3. Different cultures live together live in the same area and try to learn from other cul-tures (inclusiveness)

Lemniscate System: Communication between four different cultures and within the cultures itself.

Looking at the chrono system of our world one can see all those different levels. However it is also possible that there are situations in between the 3 levels. It is possible that a culture wants to be left alone, but the surrounding cultures try to influence or learn from this culture. Another option is that a culture wants to influence the other cultures while the other cultures want to learn from the former. In cases of cultures wanting to influence other cultures it is very much possible that cultures will conflict. There are only 2 situations in which cultures don’t try to influence one another, on level 1 and 3. Level 1 is almost impossible in modern situation, therefore we conclude that level 3 is our option
To get to level three one needs the willingness to learn from other cultures. The diffi-culty is that you might have the intention to learn from the other culture, but the other culture might not be as open. Education has to develop an open attitude for intercultural education.