Promoting Intercultural Understanding among School Students through an English Language Based Reading Programme

Manjet Kaur Mehar Singh, Fatin Najwa Amelia binti Marsani, Paramaswari Jaganathan, Ahmad Sofwan Nathan Abdullah, Premalatha Karupiah

Abstract


Malaysian intercultural society is typified by three major ethnic groups mainly Malays, Chinese and Indians.  Although education system is the best tool for these three major ethnic groups to work together, contemporary research reveals that there is still lack of intercultural embedding education context and national schools are seen as breeding grounds of racial polarisation.  In Malaysian context, there is a gap in research that focuses on the design of a proper intercultural reading framework for national integration and such initiatives are viable through schools.  The main objective of this conceptual paper is to introduce the English Language Intercultural Reading Programme (ELIRP) in secondary schools to promote intercultural understanding among secondary school students.  The proposed framework will facilitate the acquisition of intercultural inputs without being constrained by ideological, political, or psychological demands.  This article will focus on elucidating how ELIRP could affect cognitive (knowledge) and behavioural transformations to intercultural perceptions harboured by selected Form 4 students of 20 national schools in Malaysia.

Keywords: behavior, knowledge, intercultural reading framework, intercultural understanding, English Language Intercultural Reading Programme, secondary school students


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