York academic advocates for multicultural education

Photo credit: www.fairmontstate.edu.com
Photo credit: www.fairmontstate.edu.com

Dr Damien Spiteri, a Lecturer in Social Work at the University of York, has written an influential book demonstrating the benefits of a multicultural education and aiming to assuage some of the difficulties faced by international students in the UK. Dr Spiteri’s findings are heavily based on his experiences of teaching African asylum seekers in Malta, as well as his conversations with some York students.

Using case studies from all over the world, Dr Spiteri’s book, Multiculturalism, Higher Education and Intercultural Communication: Developing Strengths-Based Narratives for Teaching and Learning, offers practical recommendations for educators wishing to improve the experiences of international students at their institution.

Specific recommendations include “ensuring students are aware of global issues such as migration, human rights, the elimination of poverty, and solidarity,” “encouraging students to be more vocal in lessons by talking about their background and exchanging views,” “ensuring there are adequate language provisions for students who are not taught in their native language” and “discouraging images and words that can prevent students from reaching their life goals”.

Dr Spierti’s past achievements include a career of over twenty years spent working as a social worker, teacher, and college and university lecturer in multicultural settings and classrooms. He has also frequently appeared on television and radio programmes in his native Malta to discuss topics of societal interest.

Dr Spiteri commented:

“Throughout my career I have researched different aspects of the life-course transitions of young people, including minor asylum seekers and young people in care. An overarching theme in ensuring students have a positive, beneficial educational experience is predominantly about encouraging a collective, collegiate atmosphere for all students, from all backgrounds. It is vital that students have a solid grounding in an accepting, multicultural educational environment as we live in a multicultural world. With the rise of international students in higher education across the globe it is crucial that institutions promote multicultural education for their wider communities. This book adopts a strengths-based student-centered perspective and offers practical illustrations of how multicultural education can instigate students to understand each other and relate to each other meaningfully.”

Dr Spiteri’s book can be purchased at http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137513663#aboutBook.

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Eleanor Higginson

2016/7 News Editor. Third year English and Related Literature Student.