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Education Research International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 434079, 7 pages
Review Article

Intercultural Education and Migration: Educational Proposals

Faculty of Education (Pedagogy), University of Murcia, 30003 Murcia, Spain

Received 15 September 2010; Accepted 28 November 2010

Academic Editor: Jan Elen

Copyright © 2011 Pedro Ortega Ruiz and Eduardo Romero Sánchez. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper tackles the difficult problem that immigration poses for developed Western European societies and the need of a new model of intercultural education which puts the emphasis of educational activity not so much on “intellectual understanding” as on the acceptance and welcoming of the person who is different, on account of his/her culture or ethnic group. Educational proposals are put forward that are materialized in a change of the intercultural education model, the involvement of the family and of society in changing attitudes towards immigrants, the need not to attribute a metahistorical or essentialist meaning to cultural identity, and the restoring of an ethical and political dimension of educational activity.

1. Introduction

Globalization and migration are two phenomena that are having fundamental effects on both the developed and lesser developed societies, and also on individuals from all walks of life. This occurs at all levels, be they political, economical, social, or cultural [1]. The picture of a compact society structured around a coherent system of values and shared social behavioural patterns has fallen apart, even in those populations which are far removed from the big cities. Today’s hypercommunicated society has pulled down the barriers and has opened up spaces of communication where before there was only isolation and monologue. Nothing will be the same in the future: customs and traditions, language and religion, and values and behaviours, in short, culture will be contrasted with other ways of life and other cultures which will claim their own spaces and areas of manifestation. Uniformity and homogeneity have given way to complexity, variety, and mixed race [2].

Clearly, these changes and contradictions which are occurring within the very bosom of society will have consequences in education. The task of learning to live not with differences but with different people cannot be put off, and established patterns rendered archaic by real events must be left behind. This means that pedagogy must seek a new discourse, a new language which is closer to today’s reality; a new educational praxis in which technical training or career preparation are not the major issues. In the pages that follow, we will defend the need not only for a new language but for membership of a new intercultural model of education which responds to the original root of all education: the ethical relationship between the teacher and the learner.

2. Integration in What Society?

“Terminologies are anything but innocent; they suggest a specific view” [3]. The term integration is being used indiscriminately. At times it is identified with assimilation, in the hope that immigrants will adopt customs, values, ways of life, language, and so forth, and that they will adapt to the norms of coexistence within the host society. The aim is that they cease to be different and become “one of ours”; that they acquire the appropriate knowledge of  “our” culture, “our” history, and thus understand our society and prosper within it.

The discourse on full integration fills pages, it is omnipresent in all media forms. But, what integration? Whose? That of the “others” into “our” society? Not everybody understands integration in the same way. We uphold that the integration of the “others” should not be into “our” society. It should occur within a distinct society, in another one which is still to be constructed, and one which will be enriched by the contributions of other cultures, thus preventing the stagnation and downfall of the dominant culture of the host society; were this not the case, we would not be talking of integration but of a latent assimilation of all the cultural forms within the dominant culture of the host society. Integration should not be conceived to occur within a definitively constructed society with its own unalterable distinguishing marks and with predetermined responses to the numerous changing situations; this society is not a page that has already been written, in which laws, values, and cultural traditions are preestablished so that there is no alternative but to adapt to them. Neither is it a “blank” page where all and everything can be written. Instead, it is a page that is being written, a page on which everybody, immigrants and natives alike, can leave their mark. Maalouf [4] expresses it as: “In that spirit I would say to you, first to the “ones”, the more you fill yourselves with the culture of the host country, the more you will be able to enrich it with your own, and then to the “others”, the more respect an immigrant perceives in you towards his culture, the more he will open up to the culture of the host country.” Maalouf asks the question: what is the minimum heritage of the host country that all should assume, and what can be legitimately open to discussion or even to rejection? And the same is equally applicable to the immigrants’ culture: which cultural components deserve to be passed on to the country of adoption as being of value, and which should be left “in the wardrobe”? Habermas [3] argues that the immigrants should take on board the common political culture (the minimum cultural common denominator) for their integration but without giving up their particular cultural ways of life. He sustains that the ethical integration of groups and subcultures, with their own collective identities, should dissociate itself from political integration with its abstract character which treats all citizens in the same way. This implies acceptance of the constitutional principles as they are interpreted through the ethicopolitical understanding of themselves by the citizens and by the political culture of the host country, but not necessarily the internalization of lifestyles, practices, and customs of the host country. This would lead to an assimilation that goes beyond the level of ethicopolitical integration and would, therefore, affect the collective identity of the immigrant’s original culture in a deeper way.

The intercultural discourse starts from a static concept of cultural identity as something autonomous, something constructed. Furthermore, it is forgotten that a cultural identity is contingent, fluctuating, the fruit of a historical construction, the product of certain power relations, which is not a fixed indicator, nor an essential support that certain people share by the virtue of their origin, ethnic group, religion, or language [5]. Identity is rather something multiple, unselftiable, changing, subject to permanent modifications: one can be Arab and Jew, Arab and Christian, Arab and Moslem without any contradiction; one can be Arab and Jew, Lebanese and French, Spanish and Moslem, without any contradiction. In times of fast social change, the “consecrated” identities dissolve and the self has to be redefined through multiple migrations. There is no place for pure or uncontaminated identities. Identity within the complex, hypercommunicated society is built from materials which are many and mixed. “None of the multiple identities which human beings assume under different circumstances is permanent. And neither is cultural identity” [6]. In their most radical sense, cultures have built up like a geological stratum, in which the different layers and the porosity between them can be simultaneously seen. Each migratory episode has thrown into confusion the very “statute” of the culture, while at the same time it has made its own contribution. “Respect for other cultures cannot lie in setting them in stone in hypostasizing them. Indeed, the attempts to keep them untainted, free of western influence, have on occasions served to reinforce their internal inequalities and oppression, or to drag them backwards or to tread undesirable paths” [7]. A culture is never a static reality, a finished work, a permanent feature, and this especially true of today’s society. It is a deeply historical reality which is changing, malleable, and subject to influences of other cultures with which, inevitably, it becomes associated. There is, therefore, no need to fear cultural globalization and its apparent capacity to swallow up cultural differences.

The right to be different, which is invoked and recognized within a democratic society, needs to be redressed through the imperative of equality if one does not wish to arrive at a “Balkanized” society. Multicultural policy in a democratic society needs to be based on a universalistic conception of human rights and game rules or democratic proceedings, which are the fruits of long, hard years of fighting despotism and intolerance of all leanings. These do not merely constitute an unwaivable heritage and the fundamental legacy of the west to humanity, they are also a basic patrimony on which to build the common identity of a complex citizenship, and any cultural feature that goes against this is delegitimized [8]. The construction of a fundamental common identity, while retaining the legitimate diversity of historical ways of life (which are therefore changing and subject to influence) of individuals and groups is an inescapable condition for an integrated society in which all the members enjoy the same rights, independently of place of birth, ethnic group, culture, or religion [9]. And the fact that we can neither defend a common cultural framework, as a synthesis of all cultures, nor tolerate the imposition of one culture on the others “does not mean that a “certain common framework” is not necessary or convenient nor that it is unattainable” [10].

3. Another Type of Education?

Serious reflection needs to be given to the anthropological and ethical model behind educational practice. We are set in a model that has understood education from a conceptual framework which has reduced it to the realm of technological planning where the priority has been on academic results and career success. To date, the priorities of our educational centres have been centred on acquisition of knowledge and skills. But education does not end with academic learning processes or professional competence; quite the opposite, it transforms and influences all dimensions of the person. It is the whole being which is involved in a process of positive transformation which leads to a “rebirth”, to the dawning of “something new”, in the words of Arendt [11].

Pedagogy has yet to develop deep thought not just on life in the classrooms but also on events occurring in the social and historical context, “what is going on”, where actions and the pedagogical discourse necessarily come in if the reality of life is to enter the classrooms. What is required today is a pedagogy based more on the importance of the other, one which begins in the other, in the other’s historical existence, and which is concerned with the other. We cannot go on educating as if nothing was changing or had recently changed outside the classroom, that is, using paradigms based on technological rationality that are clearly insufficient today, and ignoring the social conditions affecting our learners. To turn our backs on this reality would be to give up educating and to place ourselves in an unreal world which interests nobody and where inertia leads professionals to churn out the same old discourse, which already shows symptoms of ailing. But who would we seek to educate? And for what purpose? Current circumstances demand not only a new language, they also need the real world of the learner to be present as part of the content of education in the school. The learners need to be freed from the psychological reductionism that has accompanied them to date.

Cognitive pedagogy is not the right tool or instrument for coexistence within the classroom. The inevitable conflicts in a society with plural systems of values and life styles are not merely the outcome of clashes of ideas or of intellectual confrontation. Within the conflict, along with cognitive discrepancy (of ideas, beliefs, opinions, etc.) there is often an attitude of indifference or even rejection, a latent hostility towards the person with whom one differs intellectually. Personal stances, while vital, do not rest ultimately on intellectual reasoning but on beliefs anchored in values which guide and give meaning to our very existence. Thus, dialogue can be more than communication with another, it is the passing on of “my” truth as a life experience. It is a meeting with the other with whom we seek to share not only ideas, but slices of life [12]. We call for a pedagogy of alterity which puts the recognition and acceptance, or rather the welcoming of the other at the very centre of educational activity, considering it as indispensable for educating to take place. Of course, we are not defending any sentimental irrationalism, nor are we formulating any threat to human rationality. What we are calling for is the consideration of that “other part” of the human being that is so often forgotten in educational discourse and practice—the affective aspect. In other words, we are considering the real, historical human being who weaves his life amidst uncertainty and insecurity, through the precariousness of “his” truth so that the warp of that interweaving of feelings which makes up the classroom life is included in the educational concern of the teacher and is reflected in the educational content. We are convinced that dialogue with the other, the search for coexistence and tolerance which are vital to the plural society are not possible unless the effort is made to welcome the other within “his” reality, and this does not mean that we necessarily share his beliefs or his way of life. Cognitive pedagogy perforce supposes a reductionist conception of the human being as “a learning, knowing, and thinking animal,” and it leads to a technified planned educational practice in which uncertainty of results is a variable which needs to be controlled throughout the process. Nothing should occur which cannot be properly justified or explained. Controlling, explaining, and justifying are aims that cannot be waived in this pedagogy. We deem necessary “another way” of looking at the student, a different way of “being and of standing” before the student. Who is the student for me, the teacher? The answer to this question will condition all our teaching and educating. And it is a question which does not ordinarily form part of the teachers’ concerns.

The question was posed earlier: another education? We have advocated a pedagogy of alterity, one of deference, which allows the discovery of the student as an individual, of each situation and of individual lives; an education that searches the acceptance and reception (hospitality) of the other culturally different, and not only the “cognitive, intellectual” comprehension of the cultural differences. The education of reception (hospitality) finds out its foundation on Levinas’s ethics. Others ethics (Kant, Habermas) are based on others supposed: the autonomy of the ego (moi). The ethics of care [13, 14] and the tact of teaching [15, 16] can favour the acceptance of the other, but cannot explain, from its ethical sources, the “radical moral responsibility” toward the person culturally different. No two children are alike, nor do they experience situations in the same way, and so care and tact and individual attention are indispensable in education. It is a way of knowing and seeing which springs as much from the heart as from the head. If we are to “see” each student in such a light, we need more than our eyes. We need to love. Thus, educating becomes an act of love towards all that the student is. Without love, we fall inevitably into imposition and dominance, into repetition, in short we clone a model. The student thus becomes an anonymous being, faceless, indifferent, and a far cry from that ideal which for Steiner [17] should mark the teacher-student relation. “In its best expression, the teacher-student relation is an act of unselfish love.” If educating is an act of love, then to be real it involves commitment to the other, to be responsible for the other. So the most radical and original relation between a teacher and a student is an ethical one, which becomes an attitude of welcoming and a duty towards the student to commit for him [18]. At the heart of the educating act, therefore, is not the technical, teacher expert in education aspect, but the ethical relationship which defines it as an educational act. Educating goes beyond the application of strategies or the carrying out of learning processes. When one educates, the student is not seen as a mere object of knowledge, nor as a subject whose personal and social variables I should be aware of to guarantee successful teaching, nor as an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge, nor as a prolongation of myself “There can be no power between the teacher and the student. Power converts asymmetry into possession and oppression, the teacher becomes the master and the student the slave” [19]. In the words of Lévinas [20], educating means doing away with reducing the other to the same, the multiple to the totality. The relation between the teacher and the student is not a conventional one in which all the problems are wrapped up in a language which converts them into technical problems that can be solved, controlled, and dominated. Education is in itself an ethical occurrence, a singular ethical experience, not an experiment in which the reference to this comes from “outside”. Education is a unique meeting in itself with the other and the other’s unrepeatable singularity and originality. Who is being educated? The answer is a not “a quid”, an undetermined student, but an aliquis, a somebody who has a name, a history, an individual experience, somebody who has hopes, expectations, and who is part of a possible project of personal fulfilment over the course of time [21].

In education, the first thing is the welcoming, the acceptance of the other and their own reality, tradition, and culture, not of an abstract individual. It is the recognition of the other as someone, with their inalienable dignity as a person, and not merely a learner of knowledge and skills. It is this ethical relationship which has to be safeguarded if we are to educate and not do “something else”. This issue is central to any education [22]. Rarely do educators and teachers really realize what it means to see a student as someone who demands to be seen as such. Educating means, first of all, stepping outside oneself, “looking at things from the other side, crossing the border” [23]; it is experiencing the world from the other’s viewpoint. Any idea of power must be refuted, because the other (the student) is not there to be dominated, possessed, or intellectually conquered. Secondly, it means being responsible, to commit to the other, that is, an ethical response to the presence of the other. In short, educating is about having responsibility towards the other, assuming the responsibility of helping out in the birth of a “new reality” through which the world renews itself again and again [11]. In any ethical relation, and education is one, “the self in question is dragged out of its isolation and enjoyment and forced to answer.” Responsibility is not, therefore, an affirmation of the self but a response along the lines of Abraham’s “here I am” [24]. If welcoming and recognition are indispensable for the newborn to acquire a truly human physiognomy [25], then acceptance and commitment to the other is equally indispensable if we are to talk about education. That is why we spoke earlier of educating being an act of love. And that is the raison d’être of education, its radical and original meaning. It is not possible to educate without recognition of the other (the student), without the willingness to welcome. Neither is it possible to educate (to shed light on something new) if the student does not perceive in the teacher that they are being recognized as being somebody with whom an ethical, singular, and affective relation is sought, as a person who is welcomed, loved for what they are and for all that they are, and not just for what they do or what they produce [18].

We, therefore, propose a new language and a new praxis in education, language and discourse which are centred on the ethical, respectful character of education, translated into an attitude and response of welcoming and respect to the person of the student, and one not based on the idealist moral of discursive ethics which contemplates abstract, timeless individuals, the ethics of possessive individualism, but on the ethics of otherness and hospitality, “the ethics of the human face, of the orphan, of the widow,” as Lévinas expresses it; the ethics of com-passion (cum-pati), that is, the ethics of the commitment to the other [26]. It is founded on the conception of a subject that is not understood as self-caring (autonomy), but as other-caring, or freely stepping outside oneself and responsibility. We consider it necessary to undo the modern subject and verify how far it is possible to conceive another model of subjectivity which is not defined as a relation of the self with itself, as self-possession and indifference, but as a relationship with the other as a response to and for the other questioner, until arriving at a radical “decentring of the possessive point of view of “my” rights or “our” rights and its substitution by the perspective of the rights of the “the others” [27]”. This different way of understanding and doing education on the part of the teacher of necessity creates a moral climate within the classroom that not only makes intellectual understanding of ideas and beliefs of the others possible, but also facilitates the acceptance and welcoming of that person. It is not just discussion and confrontation of the different ideas and ways of life that make us more tolerant, in terms of educational strategy, but also the attitude or willingness to show respect and to make the effort to welcome the others just as they are. The student will learn better to welcome if he has previously felt welcomed.

4. Educational Proposals

It is a task to be shared by society as a whole. All we can do here is outline some proposals.

(1) Integration of everybody in the classrooms and in society demands, above all, a change in attitudes. Attitudes, which are often at the root of rejection of different ethnic groups and cultures, are formed by messages and behaviours which are transmitted daily by the various media of communication, which are broadcast inside and outside the centres of education, and which filter through to every level and pervade every conversation. It is not just the images and the messages that are received through the media that make up the way young people think and act, there are also the role models of behaviour perceived in those most significant to them (parents and teachers). The life models that are inevitably offered by the family and in the centres of learning can never be a matter of indifference for children and students. Social behaviours exhibited in public always produce certain effects and foster the acquisition of attitudes and values. It is here where action must be taken, where the messages of exclusion can be countered by unmasking that false defence of the home culture which harbours such messages. To expect the media to change its messages or society as a whole to assume a protector role towards the younger generations is an idealistic concept of society which has nothing to do with reality. Programmed activity both in the schools and in society to neutralize racist messages which exclude other cultures is required if hostile attitudes are to be changed, albeit over the long term. The change in attitudes of pupils could be done in the following way: promoting a moral atmosphere (climate) in the classroom and in the school, an attitude of acceptance (putting yourself in the place of the other) in the teacher-pupil relationship, cooperation between pupils, development of solidarity projects in the school, and teachers training in the education of attitudes and values [28].

(2) First of all, we must understand that cultural differences are just that—differences. They are aspects that enrich personal life but they are no more than differences. To aggrandize the difference, to give it an absolute value is to convert the students, both inside and outside the school, into cultural puppets, supposed representatives of a culture with which they have to identify. The outcome would be the prescription of certain codes of behaviour based on the norms of each culture, and it would prevent individuals being the agents and creators of their own cultural identity. The students would have an unalterable, static cultural identity imposed upon them. Xenophobic and racist attitudes would arise which would see the other as an “invader”, as someone who is endangering the survival of our culture, of our own cultural identity, and the only solution to such a problem would be an ethnic and cultural cleansing. From the aggrandisement of the difference, a long progress of social distancing would be set off, which would lead to moral indifference and, in the worst instance, the extermination of what is different. “Only thus was it possible to perpetrate among the Germans the conviction that whatever the atrocities which befell the Jews, these had nothing to do with the rest of the population, and, hence, they were only a matter of concern to the Jews” [29]. This intercultural education could be done, that is: each immigrant pupil shows the style of living of his family; each immigrant pupil shows the difficulties that they find out integrating in the society of reception; each ethnic and cultural group points out in classroom the values of its culture: traditions, languages, customs, art, and so forth.

(3) The integration of everybody in an integrated society is closely linked to a change of model in intercultural education. All educational activity, both inside and outside the school, cannot rest on cultural variables because this would merely serve to perpetuate an aggrandised culture and would widen the gap between members of different cultures. Only when cultural differences are seen as “accidents” which accompany us will we able to create meeting spaces where we can recognize the “others” just as they are. The knowledge and appraisal of the culture of the others (traditions, customs, language, etc.) will favour, although not necessarily bring about, coexistence among individuals and the acceptance of the culturally different person [30]. The recent history of Europe bears witness to this: the enlightened society of the first half of the 20th century witnessed in silence the worst crimes of that century. The holocaust, the genocide among the Kurds, and the Balkans war are all events which occurred within a cultured society which forgot that “culture” is a poor barrier to save us from barbarity. Those who delighted in the literature, music, and art of Jewish authors found it easy to look the other way and to adopt a position of “objective sadness” or one of historical relativism [31]. Unfortunately, “cultured, civilized” Europe knew not how to oppose Nazi barbarity. So, we separate from others views in the intercultural education, that focus on “cultural differences”, as Banks [32], Grant and Sleeter [33], Zeichner [34], and others. The intercultural education is an education in values. It is a moral education. This intercultural education could be done, that is, telling in classroom the experience of strong nationalism: exclusion and persecution against the different people because of their language, race, religion, traditions, or culture. It is able to make use of text and pictures of the mass media; the teacher helps to find out the common elements that unite the group, independently of what will be the belonging culture.

(4) The integration of everyone in society has to be carried out both in the school and in the home. Solidarity, hospitality, and recognition of everyone’s dignity are experiences indispensable to coexistence, and the family is the privileged habitat of these. Learning values is not the same as acquiring knowledge. It requires immediate reference to a model, that is, a sufficiently structured, coherent, and continued experience which permits “exposure” to a behaviour model which is neither contradictory nor fragmented. And that is very difficult to find outside the family, despite the negative experiences (counter-values) the family often provides. A child does not learn values as if they were one of a number of worlds, but as the only world possible for the child, which is the one experienced within the immediate environment of the family. It is embedded in the child’s consciousness with far more strength than that of subsequent experiences in latter socializations [35]. The learning of values requires, moreover, an affectionate atmosphere, one of understanding and welcoming. A value is learned when it appears as closely linked to the experience of the model, and its acquisition depends on both the positive quality of the experience and the acceptance/rejection that the model person produces. Positive affective relations between the educator and the learner are vital to the learning of values [12]. There is always an element of love, of passion in value acquisition, which is why the family is the most privileged environment for learning values. Education in solidarity, hospitality, and welcoming is quite simply an impossible aim without the family environment. The family, in its diverse forms, is on account of the links between the members, a privileged environment and one that is fertile ground for relationships to flourish; it encourages contact, altruism and sows the seeds of giving in the children. Being helpful to others, reciprocity, trust, and responsibility are all learnt here. This integration could be done, that is, promoting the living together between families from different cultures, sharing houses in the weekends and in holidays, promoting the participation of the culturally different families in the cultural activities of the school.

(5) The integration of everybody in society requires education in responsibility, that is, a moral education. Unfortunately, moral education was not a frequent subject (in Spain) until quite recently. It had religious, moralizing, and indoctrinatory overtones. Here, we refer to “another moral”, that which makes us responsible for others and for those issues which concern us as members of a community, starting with our own. To internalize the relationship of responsibility towards the others, even towards those unknown, means discovering that living is not a private issue, but one which has inevitable repercussions as long as we continue to live in society. We have not chosen to live in a society whose members think and act like we do. On the contrary, we have arrived at a very heterogeneous society with a wide variety of ways of thinking and living. This means that we have to learn to live side by side with people of different ideologies, beliefs, and lifestyles. And living with generates responsibility. To put it another way, nobody is alien nor a stranger, I cannot be indifferent towards anybody, especially those who live by my side. The other is a part of me—a question and an answer. I have acquired a responsibility towards the other which I cannot shed, which I must take on board. The other, any other, is always there, a party that can be affected by my behaviour for no other reason than the “vulnerability of his or her face.” I cannot throw off my responsibility towards him or her. “The face of the other concerns me,” says Lévinas [36].

(6) The integration of everybody in society requires political and social education. The citizen cannot look the other way and exempt himself/herself of the evils which beset the society of which he/she is a part. But neither can we require the same citizen to participate in constructing a new project which is not “his/hers”, that is, in a society which excludes and marginalizes the others, merely on account of their belonging to another culture, religion, or ethnic group. Only in a society built on the basis of respect for human rights can the moral obligation to contribute to its construction, maintenance, and development be generated. And in the circumstances which it is our lot to live in, in the developed part of the world, a society is fair if it is built upon the will to integrate everybody, not into “our” society and in “our” culture, but in a different society which is still to be built.

An education aimed at integration must go beyond mere “intellectual understanding” of the cultural differences. It is fundamentally an education towards welcoming and recognizing the individual person in the other and his/her own specific circumstances [37]. The obvious question is then: why do they emigrate? Why do they leave their homeland, their families, their roots? If it does not answer these questions, then intercultural education is hypocrisy, mere intellectual entertainment. If it does not discover the history of the uprooting that lies behind each immigrant, then there is no integration or welcome of the other. The figure is wrapped in stereotypes that hide a reality which points the finger at a whole history of plundering on the part of the developed world. It is indispensable that the other is integrated, is welcomed, but in all of his/her reality, which includes the reasons which drove him/her from his/her land. Intercultural education often turns into an exercise in folklore, where we learn about people’s customs and traditions, instead of an educational task in which one “wonders about the others”, about those circumstances which prevent them from leading their life and developing in dignity. Intercultural education neither begins nor ends with “intellectual knowledge” on the immigrant’s culture. More than anything else it is a question of why? And if this is evaded, we will fill our heads with curiosities, while the other, the one from the different culture, will remain a strange adventurer or an annoying visitor whose personal history remains a mystery to us. Integration does not affect only culture; it is first and foremost integration of the person and all the history they bring with them.

We consider that the integration of everybody in this society demands that centres of education overcome the temptation of “didacticism” and commit themselves to a new way of understanding and doing education—one founded on the ethics of otherness, and one whose aim is the recognition and welcoming of the other. It requires, moreover, that society as a whole accepts that the “others”, the different ones, those from abroad, arrive with a cultural heritage that can enrich us. But above all, the recognition that behind each immigrant there is always a “somebody”, a person with a face who clamours to be recognized and accepted as they are. This new approach will give rise to an ethos in classrooms [38] and in social relations which will favour coexistence and respect for beliefs of plural ways of life within that complex society that is ours.


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