Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

The Effects of the Living Together through Art (LTTA) Model on Promoting the Consciousness of Living Together between Thai and Migrant Students

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

The Effects of the Living Together through Art (LTTA) Model on Promoting the Consciousness of Living Together between Thai and Migrant Students

Article excerpt

Introduction

Population mobility, including international labor migration, has been on the increase in recent decades. This phenomenon leads to cultural diversity which presents challenges for any educational system. Schools must uphold the right to equal education for every learner and support their needs, but also promote an understanding of cultural diversity among students so they can live with each other in harmony, especially, in the context of migrant inclusion that could cause tensions between majority and minority groups.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) attempts to foster the understanding, tolerance and friendship between youth of all nations, as well as racial or religious groups which is necessary for the maintenance of peace. In 1996, the concept of "Learning to Live Together" (LTLT) was originally set out in a report for UNESCO by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century chaired by Jacques Delors as one of the 'Four Pillars of Education'. The report emphasized that the survival of humanity is highly dependent on learning how to live together, beginning by understanding and accepting other people and their history, cultures, traditions and values. (Delors et al., 1996).

Delors (1996) stated that LTLT results from two complementary processes: the "discovery of others" and the "experience of shared purposes". "Discovery of others" means learning about self, others and society. Students have to realize that human beings are the same because we are all human, but different because we are culturally diverse but, we are all dependent on each other. This process will help children learn to respect, have empathy and accept others. 'Experience of shared purposes', by playing or working together towards a common goal, could change the potential tension between diverse group into friendship. If one has the opportunity to communicate with others, they will be able to understand and appreciate different points of views that may lead to prejudice reduction.

There is a relationship between LTLT process and the approaches of prejudice reduction from two social psychology theories: Tajfel and Turner's social identity theory (1979) and Allport's contact hypothesis (1954). Tajfel and Turner believed that prejudice is a result of group membership. People maintain their self-esteem in part by identifying with groups and believing that the groups they belong to are better than other groups. In order to decrease prejudice, the differences within groups and the similarity between groups should be exaggerated, which relates to the "Discovery of others". Meanwhile, Allport suggested that interpersonal contact is one of the most effective ways to reduce prejudice between majority and minority group members. However, the positive effects of intergroup contact occur in contact situations characterized by four key conditions: equal status, intergroup cooperation, common goals, and support by social and institutional authorities. This concept is related to "Experience of shared purposes". These connections could explain the potential of LTLT to establish understanding and relationships among people from different cultures.

There have been and continue to be many educational initiatives designed to teach the concept of LTLT, such as peace education, multicultural education, human rights education. Regardless of name, all initiatives aim to change participants' internalizing skills, values and behavior. As Delors said about "creating a new spirit" (p. 22) which leads to new perception and action, students should be cultivated in the level of consciousness to make the change from inside to outside. Sinclair (2004) claimed that LTLT pedagogy should be active and constructive where students could explore and construct their own understanding as needed. Both cognitive and affective domains should be involved. Furthermore, interactive and collaborative activities should be included so students can learn from each other. …

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