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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Other dimensions of internationalisation in higher education

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

13.Mobility and internationalisation

13.5Other dimensions of internationalisation in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

European, global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development

A course for teachers is ensured only for preschool and primary school levels in the German-speaking Community of Belgium. Accordingly, the following information concerns only the teachers' course for these two levels. As far as the European and the international dimension in the training of secondary school teachers is concerned (which is not conducted in the GC, but rather in the pedagogic colleges and universities in the French Community), the corresponding information is detailed in the description of the education system of this Community.

During preliminary discussions, which took place with regards to the planned consolidation of both small pedagogic colleges in the GC in 2003, it was also discussed as to whether it was necessary to grant a special place to the interdisciplinary aspect of the intercultural education in the curriculum in future. During primary school teacher training, students are encouraged in German and Didactic courses, and especially in literature, to think outside of the box for the selection of text (fairy tales, novels, stories and poems) and to incorporate text from other cultures. During the Christmas period they also deal with course units such as: How is Santa Claus or Christmas celebrated in other countries and cultural groups (France, England, the Netherlands and Turkey)?

In spelling and grammar didactic courses, the students learn to be open to the specific hardships of children speaking a different language and to encourage these children (possibly) by offering differentiated individual lessons.

As for Art lessons, it is regrettable that, on account of a lack of visual, graphical and artistic educational background, the majority of the Belgian high-school graduates can only be provided with the basics and that there is barely any time remaining for debating and discussing aspects of the European and international dimension in art. Nonetheless, in Didactics, with practical exercises and during the internship, attention is drawn regularly to the cultural mobility of the conventional selection of topics in the course on art education in the preschools and primary schools; the students are encouraged to keep highlighting the European and universal dimension of art with the selection of topics.

Even musical education is particularly suitable to lend an international dimension to the course work. In the course of its history, music has constantly undergone change as a result of multifarious influence of different cultural groups. Children are increasingly confronted with multi-cultural influences, which they have to tackle directly. The media contributes to this development, but so do interactions with individuals from different cultural groups with whom the children, perhaps share a desk. The students learn how important it is that the children are in a position to process this flood of impressions. Music education in preschool and especially in primary school should be aimed at bringing the children closer to the legacy of other cultures in addition to that of their own. An increasing number of didactic materials on multi-cultural education have been hitting the markets in the last few years. All aspects of musical education are addressed: The prospective teachers learn to play a Japanese pentatonic melody on percussion instruments in quarts; they dance a sirtaki to a Greek melody; they play a Peruvian Christmas song on the recorder; they provide accompaniment on percussion instruments to a Congolese welcome song; they sing songs from all over the world, if possible, in the original language or in the German translation; they also listen to music that they can neither play nor sing, since the scales with quarter tones from the Middle East cannot be implemented on our instruments. These examples from a host of possibilities illustrate the range of feasible options and demonstrate the evidence of the intercultural aspect in musical education.

Apart from the cultural and international dimension, there is also an important social dimension in musical education; opening up to other cultures teaches you greater tolerance: being different is experienced as an enrichment and not as a threat.

Partnerships and networks

See previous section.