Intercultural education Cultural diversity Secondary schools Assimilation
FAAS, D., From Foreigner Pedagogy to Intercultural Education: an analysis of the German responses to diversity and its impacts on schools and students, European Educational Research Journal, 7, 1, 2008, 108, 123
European Educational Research Journal 7 1
Germany has been reluctant to adapt its education systems to the growing number of
minority ethnic students, and politicians and policy makers have only recently officially acknowledged
that Germany is an immigration country despite decades of mass immigration. This article first
provides a socio-historical analysis of the German responses to migration-related cultural and religious
diversity by tracing the development of educational policies from assimilationist notions of ‘foreigner
pedagogy’ in the 1960s and 1970s to intercultural education, which slowly emerged in schools in the
1980s and 1990s. However, unlike European education, intercultural education still lacks official
support in some German federal states. Drawing upon qualitative data collected in two Stuttgart
secondary schools, the article then discusses the ways in which schools and students have mediated
such macro-level policies. Goethe Gymnasium (a university-track school) promoted European values
alongside multicultural values whereas Tannberg Hauptschule (a vocational-track school) was close to
being Eurocentric and positioned minority ethnic students as the ‘Other’. The findings suggest that
Germany still has some way to go to overcome cultural insensitivities, to increase minority ethnic
representation amongst teachers and to promote both diversity and civic cohesion.
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