In the light of the changes taking place in our country, many questions are raised with the introduction of the state program of multilingualism. In the era of globalization and intensifying cooperation and contacts in the economic, political and other spheres of human activity, the role of English as the international communication language has “burst out” in recent decades and is still increasing. English is the language in which computer programs, economic and legal documents are developed. We cannot imagine a society which is monolingual and homogeneous in its ethnic structure. Many countries are multiethnic and multilingual or at least bilingual.
So taking into consideration that the representatives of more than 100 nationalities and ethnic groups live in Kazakhstan, it must be admitted that multilingualism is a necessity and an objective reality. Language is a means of communication, information sharing.
Aim of the research is to study the ways to cultivate multiculturalism of higher education institution students.
Materials and methods of the research
The research was based on the study of the theoretical sources and experiment results conducted in Zhezkazgan Baikonurov University and Arkalyk State Pedagogical Institute. Methods of the research are related to the investigation (observing, interviewing, questionnaire, implementing new course in multiculturalism, etc.).
Results of the research and their discussion
As it is pointed out by the researchers, the relation between language and culture and the history of nations are multidimensional and diverse. Thus, the German scholar Wilhelm von Humboldt considered language as the combined spiritual energy of the people speaking it, as a kind of concentration of thoughts and feelings of each ethnic group , A.A. Potebnya saw the language as a way of spiritual consolidation of an ethnic group which is the characteristic of the nation [2; 172]. In the opinion of some researchers, bilingualism and multilingualism are the determining factor in the socio-political development of society in various countries of the world, which consist in the mass use of two or more languages in the process of communication, when a person, depending on the purpose, place, and recipient of communication switches one language to another .
As we have said, language and society, language and culture are inextricably linked and act as two interrelated sides of the same phenomenon. What is meant by the term “culture” in the definitions of scientists?
In philosophical and culturological studies, we can note the following main trends in the search for the leading principle in the definitions of this concept:
– definition of culture through the results of human activity;
– the definition of culture based on the process of this activity;
– definitions that consider culture as a communication system;
– systemic definitions. (A. Bystrov) [4; 33]
So, if you rely on the definition given in the “Philosophical Dictionary”, “the concept of culture includes both the general difference of human life activity from biological life forms, and the qualitative originality of historically specific forms of this life activity at various stages of social development, within certain eras, socio-economic formations, ethnic and national communities ...” [5; 292]
To reveal the phenomenon of heterogeneity, diversity of cultures in society, the terms “multiculturalism”, “multiculturalism”, “multiculturalism” (less often) are used.
Three interrelated, but nonetheless distinctive, referent of multiculturalism and its associated adjective can be distinguished in public debates and discussions.
Firstly, the term “multiculturalism” is used to denote the existence of ethnically or racially heterogeneous segments in a population of a society or state. According to this notion such differences have some social significance – primarily because of perceived cultural differences, although they are often associated with forms of structural differentiation. The exact ethnic groups that exist in the state, the significance of ethnicity for social participation in public institutions and the processes by which ethnic differentiation is built and maintained can vary considerably between individual states and over time.
Secondly, “multiculturalism” refers to specific types of programs and political initiatives designed to respond to and manage ethnic diversity. It is in this use that “multiculturalism” first received its evaluation and recognition after it was recommended in the report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism for 1965. This report recommended to replace by cultural policies based on British and French charter groups, around which the policy of ethnic diversity in Canadian society has been organized for over a century. Since then, its use has quickly spread to demographic-descriptive and ideologically-normative uses.
Thirdly, multiculturalism is the one that generates the highest level of debate, because it represents the slogan and model of political action based on sociological theorizing and ethical-philosophical consideration of the place of those who have culturally distinct identities in modern society.
Multiculturalism stresses that recognition of ethnic diversity and ensuring the rights of individuals to preserve their culture should be combined with ensuring full access to constitutional principles and values common in society, their participation and adherence to these principles. Recognizing the rights of individuals and groups and ensuring their equitable access to society, supporters of multiculturalism also argue that such policies benefit both individuals and the wider society by reducing the pressure on social conflicts based on adverse conditions and inequality. They also argue that multiculturalism is enrichment for society as a whole. The close parallels between this ideologically-normative use of multiculturalism and the United Nations views on cultural diversity are clear.
The goals and objectives of multicultural education, as a rule, differ between educational philosophers and liberal political theorists. Educational philosophers argue about preserving the culture of minorities, encouraging the development of autonomy in children and introducing them to new and different ideas. This form of exposure would help children think more critically and also encourage them to more open thinking. On the other hand, a political theorist may advocate a model of multicultural education that justifies social actions. Thus, students are equipped with the knowledge, values and skills necessary to induce and participate in social change, which leads to justice, that is, fair treatment of other affected and excluded from the process or ethnic groups restricted in their rights, involving them in educational process. With such a model, teachers will act as agents of such changes, promoting appropriate democratic values and enabling them to act. Multicultural education has many other achievements and goals that must be accomplished:
– Promoting the development of civil society
– Creating the correct historical evaluation
– Increase the self-esteem of students not related to the main trend / ethnic group
– Increase student contact diversity
– Minority culture preservation
– Development of autonomy of the individual
– Promoting social justice and equality
– Providing students with the opportunity to economically succeed in an integrated, multicultural world.
A multicultural personality is a person who is the subject of a polylogue of cultures, has an active life position, and has a developed sense of empathy and tolerance, emotional stability, the ability to live in peace and harmony with people as representatives of different cultural groups, capable of successful self-determination and productive professional activity in cultural diversity of society .
Multicultural education is a collection of educational strategies and materials that have been developed to assist teachers in many issues related to the rapidly changing demographics of their students. It provides students with knowledge of the history, culture, and contributions of various groups; suggests that the future society is pluralistic. It is based on knowledge from various fields, including ethnic and female studies, but also reconsiders the content of the relevant academic disciplines.
Multicultural education, also seen as a way of learning that promotes principles such as inclusion, diversity, democracy, skill acquisition, research, critical thinking, the value of perspectives, and self-reflection. It encourages students to incorporate aspects of their culture into the pedagogical process and thus allow teachers to support the student’s intellectual and social / emotional growth.
It was found that multicultural education effectively contributes to the achievement of educational success among immigrant students – this is especially important in the era of internationalization of education. Thus, this is also explained by the reform movement to transform education. Transformation in this context requires a change in all variables in the university, including politics, teacher attitudes, teaching materials, assessment methods, counseling, and learning styles. Multicultural education is also associated with students’ contributions to effective social action.
To study the state of the problem under discussion, we conducted a diagnostic experiment. A research was conducted on the basis of the university in order to determine the formation of multicultural personality level, in which 171 students of the specialty “Foreign Language: Two Foreign Languages” took part. Why did we choose students of language specialties? Language and culture are inextricably linked. It is impossible to study the language, focusing only on the linguistic aspects, system, structure of the language, without studying the culture, literature and traditions of the country, which language they learn, in the cognitive process. When learning languages, there is an exchange and dialogue of cultures. And the deeper students get into this process, the more effective the result will be. Knowing the language and culture of another country and its multinational country at the same time, becoming familiar with the culture and traditions of other nations, the person enriches inner world, broadens horizons, raises awareness levels, a feeling of empathy, tolerance, empathy, emotional perception of the world around.
We conducted a survey of students of language educational programmes from the first to fourth courses of the university. The results of the questionnaire in order to determine the level of students’ awareness regarding the phenomenon of culture, features of the development of the global world, the principle of multiculturalism (cognitive level) indicate that only 26 % of respondents have high level of awareness, 31 % have average level and 43 % have low level.
A clear idea of the general level of multicultural orientation gives a set of criteria, among which the level of tolerance and empathic abilities of the individual. To diagnose empathic abilities, we used a test to diagnose social empathy .
Based on the data we obtained, it can be noted that 55 % of students of the specialty “Foreign Language: Two Foreign Languages” have low level of empathy, 31 % have average level and only 24 % of students have high level of empathy. The results indicate the inability of most respondents to show sympathy, empathy with the communicant and others. In most cases, they are not characterized by responsiveness and attention to other people’s problems. As noted above, empathy underlies the affective component in the structure of a multicultural personality and thereby characterizes the general level of this quality development.
Fig. 1. Multicultural personality levels
Fig. 2. Empathy levels
So, based on these characteristics, we diagnosed the formation of communicative tolerance. The analysis of the data we received allowed us to conclude that the vast majority of students are not able to hide or smooth out unpleasant feelings that arise when communicating with non-communicative partners, are not ready to accept and understand the personality of the companion, most respondents are not able to forgive mistakes, awkwardness, unintentionally caused troubles .
Diagnostics of data shows low indicators. For the formation of a multicultural personality with a high level of communicative competencies development, cognitive, motivational-affective and behavioral components, it is necessary to create appropriate pedagogical conditions, which can be:
1) the proper selection of topics and structuring the content of educational material in a foreign language based on a sociocultural approach and the principle of professional orientation;
2) the use of interactive forms and methods in the process of teaching a foreign language (discussions, role-playing games, dramatization, presentations, Internet communication, design technologies);
3) humanization of the interaction of subjects of the educational process: the interaction of the teacher and students on a dialogical basis, in the framework of cooperation and co-creation.
Thus, multicultural education is most successfully implemented as part of the university approach with the restructuring of not only the curriculum, but also organizational and institutional policies.
Unfortunately, most educational institutions are not ready for multicultural education within their walls. Multicultural education requires employees who are not only diverse in terms of age (the older wise generation and the young energetic generation of the teaching staff), academic degrees (from masters to doctors of sciences), but also culturally competent. Educators need to know, respond, and embrace a variety of beliefs, attitudes, and experiences. They should also be prepared to solve disputes. These issues include, but are not limited to, such as racism, sexism, religious intolerance, classicism, ageism, etc., that is, everything that may interest the young generation, cause their questions, disputes or interest.
For the successful solution of many problems and the formation of a multicultural personality, it is necessary to approach the pedagogical process in a diverse and creative way, covering such aspects as:
– Integration of a diverse list of literature, which demonstrates universal human experience in different cultures, the world’s classic treasury of achievements;
– Encouragement of student participation in community life and social activity of an individual;
– Going beyond the scope of the textbook and sometimes the training material, supplementing the curriculum with current events and news outside the textbook, so you can draw parallels between the distant past experience and the world today.
– Creation of multicultural projects that require students to choose a background outside their own knowledge and skills, developing new abilities;
– Offer your university to undergo vocational training in the field of multicultural education in the classroom, or dual education that is very relevant in our time, involving students in the field of future activities.
We continue to work on the research and development of pedagogical conditions for the formation of a multicultural personality of language specialties students at universities.