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Children within an Internationalizing Environment

If compared even to a couple decades ago, our children are getting exposed to an ever-increasing international and multicultural environment.

The reasons for this are manifold:
* Increase of mobility of working force (triggering the move of whole families from one culture to another)
* Internationalization of educational sites and programmes
* Overall increase of migration and immigration
Due to changing immigration patterns families and hence children nowadays might find themselves in an international environment even in their home culture.


Children's behavior in a culturally new environment is greatly influenced by the change of
* language
* communication rules (when to speak, when to listen, whom to ask, how to ask, etc.)
* social behavior patterns
These changes are complied with by adults and children in a different way and in a different pace. Whereas for adults the acquirement of the new language means the greatest challenge, for children the greatest challenge is the need to adjust to the change of values. Values and behavior patterns acquired in the home culture must be changed, sometimes overwritten or even forgotten, and instead children have to attune themselves to new values, new rules and new behavior patterns. This process is in most cases a painful and shocking one. Conflicting values often put children into confusion: when where to which set of values to adapt to.

The consequences of an increasingly multicultural environment have their impact on the
* group dynamics of children within their community
* teacher-child relationship
* teacher-parent relationship

As for handling intercultural conflicts, teachers (and possibly parents too) are to be made aware of the
* differences in values in diverse cultures
* possible conflict sources due to different cultural values
* effective management of cultural conflicts

Conflicting cultural values - if handled and utilized successfully - might also serve as a source of broadening knowledge, as a source of introducing diverse views on the world.

Japan is to face a new phase of internationalization: not only families including children moving or living abroad are going to be exposed to international experiences, but also children within Japan will be having encounters with peers with a cultural background different from their own. Teachers and educators in Japan have to be prepared to these new challenges of multiculturalism
* in order to lessen misunderstanding and conflict
* in order to utilize it as a source of knowledge and innovation

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