Signs of a good partnership

  • Mutual exchange;
  • Active participation and decision making by students;
  • An openness to learning from, as well as about, life in a distant place;
  • A commitment to exploring both similarities and differences in the lives of people in different communities around the world;
  • An examination of one’s own assumptions, attitudes, and values – and a safe space which this can happen;
  • An exploration of different forms of wealth;
  • A commitment to learning about the wider global issues that impact different communities across the globe;
  • A willingness to think critically about one’s own culture;
  • A readiness to explore sensitive and controversial issues in the classroom, in a safe, respectful environment.

Signs of problems ahead

  • A focus on the symptoms of poverty with no exploration of its causes;
  • A focus on financial aid instead of rights and justice;
  • A failure to engage with issues of power and (in)equality;
  • An assumption that simply exposing children and young people to different cultures and ways of life will challenge stereotypes and prejudice;
  • An emphasis on showing students ‘how lucky they are’;
  • A focus on differences without acknowledging important similarities, leading to ‘us and them’ thinking;
  • A belief that respect for other cultures means learning about them uncritically;
  • A belief that a northern partner has more to give to a partnership than to receive from it, in terms of either resources or learning;
  • A reluctance to explore sensitive and controversial issues in the classroom.
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