7. Committee of Ministers Recommendation No. R (84) 18 to Member States on the Training of Teachers in Education for Intercultural Understanding, Notably in a context of Migration (1984)
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers, 25 September 1984)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

1. Having regard to the European Cultural Convention;

2. Recalling:

— its Resolution (70) 35 on "School education for the children of migrant workers";
— its Declaration regarding "Intolerance–a threat to democracy" (14 May 1981);

3. Bearing in mind Resolution No. 1 (1983) of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education, on "Migrants' education";

4. Noting Recommendation 786 (1976) of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe on the education and cultural development of migrants;

5. Considering that the societies with multicultural features created in Europe by the  population  movements of  recent  decades  are  an  irreversible  and  generally  positive development, in that they may help to further closer links between the peoples of Europe as well as between Europe and other parts of the world;

6. Considering that flourishing relations in all fields require a fuller understanding of the cultures and ways of life of other peoples, as well as, in the event, of their common cultural heritage;

7. Considering that the presence in schools in Europe of millions of children from foreign cultural communities constitutes a source of enrichment and a major medium- and long-term asset, provided that education policies are geared to fostering open-mindedness and an understanding of cultural differences;

8. Considering the essential role of teachers in helping such pupils to integrate into school and society, as well as in developing mutual understanding;

9. Considering it is necessary to prepare teachers for this important task;

10. Considering that, in order to fulfil this task, the training given to teachers should equip them to adopt an intercultural approach and be based on an awareness of the enrichment constituted by intercultural understanding and of the value and originality of each culture;

11. Considering that this intercultural approach should be adopted by all teachers in host countries and countries of origin alike, because it concerns all children;

12. Considering, too, that teachers issuing from migrant populations are particularly suited to creating with their pupils an educational process which takes account of the interaction of the features of their cultures of origin and of their host milieu,

I. Recommends:

A. that the governments of Member States (within the context of their educational and legislative systems and their policies and available resources)

1. make the intercultural dimension and the understanding between different communities a feature of initial and in-service teacher-training, and in particular:

1.1. train teachers in such a way that they:

— become aware of the various forms of cultural expression present in their own national cultures, and in migrant communities;
— recognise that ethnocentric attitudes and stereotyping can damage individuals and, therefore, attempt to counteract their influence;
— realise that they too should become agents of a process of cultural exchange and develop and use strategies for approaching, understanding and giving due consideration to other cultures as well as educating their pupils to give due consideration to them;
— become aware of social exchanges existing between the country of origin and the host country not only in the cultural field but also in their historical dimension;
— become conscious of the economic, social, political and historical causes and effects of migration;
— become conscious too of the fact that the active participation of migrant children in two cultures and their access to intercultural understanding depend, to a great extent, on conditions of stay, work and education in the host country;

1.2. put at the disposal of student teachers and teachers all useful information on the cultures of countries of origin (for host countries) and of the host countries (for countries of origin);

1.3. make teachers and pupils more receptive to different cultures by, inter alia, incorporating into teacher-training the use of authentic materials [1] and artefacts in the classroom, thus enabling them to see their own culture in a new light;

1.4. help student teachers and teachers to understand and appreciate educational approaches other than those in their own countries;

1.5. make student teachers and teachers aware of the importance of direct contacts between school and parents (especially migrants) and train them to establish and maintain such contacts;

2. encourage the development and use of appropriate materials to support the intercultural approach in the training of teachers and in school in order to give a "truer" image of the different cultures of their pupils;

3. as far as possible, encourage the setting up of "intercultural resource centres" in which documents, information and various teaching aids relating to the different cultures concerned would be available, or encourage existing resource centres to act as such;

4. where appropriate, encourage the holding of national and international seminars and courses on the intercultural approach to education for teachers, teacher trainers, administrators and other persons involved in teacher-training, including welfare and labour Officers who have I close professional relations with migrant families;

5. encourage the setting up of common in-service teacher-training courses for both host country and country of origin teachers as well as the training of teachers from the migrant community itself;

6. where appropriate, foster exchanges of student teachers, teachers and teacher trainers in order to promote better knowledge and understanding of different cultures and education systems;

7. promote the circulation of the material on intercultural education and training developed under the auspices of the Council of Europe;

B. that the governments of countries of origin

1. provide teachers, before they leave to teach abroad, with sufficient knowledge of the language, culture and way of life of the host society;

2. prepare these teachers to take account of the fact that teaching their mother tongue to migrants' children in host countries requires an appropriate methodology and to act accordingly;

3. prepare these teachers to act also as intermediaries between school and parents in host countries;

4. pay attention, in teacher-training, to the educational problems, including linguistic ones, that can face migrant pupils should they return to the country of origin during their schooling;

C. that the governments of host countries

1. include, in teacher-training, appropriate preparation for teaching the host language in a more effective way to children of other linguistic backgrounds and for better understanding the behaviour of pupils from countries where the culture and way of life differ from the host society;

2. where appropriate, endeavour to promote suitable opportunities for student teachers and teachers to acquire a basic knowledge of one of the languages of the countries of origin and to reflect upon this learning process, in order to open their minds to another culture and give them a better understanding of the difficulties experienced by migrant children;

3. where appropriate, give attention to the status of teachers from countries of origin, in accordance with national legislation, and to their role in the school community;

4. offer country of origin teachers training opportunities that will enhance their knowledge and understanding of the language, culture, way of life and education system of the host country;

5. encourage, concurrently, the recruitment of teachers from the migrant community to develop, in school curricula, a pedagogy which integrates cultural and linguistic elements of the country of origin in relation to the history of immigration and the culture of the host society;

II. Instructs the Secretary General to transmit this recommendation to the governments of those States party to the European Cultural Convention which are not members of the Council of Europe.


[1]  Any objects or documents which are in common use.