Parel Indicator

Criteria for Intercultural Learning Methods

                  ©Parel, Utrecht 2000

The Parel Indicator can be used to compile and assess teaching materials. It is 
based on the following assumption: Any good intercultural teaching material or 
textbook pays unequivocal and positive attention to the ethnic and cultural 
diversity in our society. The following twelve criteria have been derived from this 
basic assumption. These criteria are classified in the following categories: 
scale, contents, form and perspective.


Ethnic and cultural diversity is present everywhere: at schools, in society and all 
over the world. These three levels are reviewed in criteria 1, 2 and 3, in this order, 
ranging from small-scale to large-scale.

1 Attention is paid to the ethnic and cultural diversity at school.

The one school is much more diverse than the other school, as far as its ethnic 
and cultural aspect is concerned.  And the ethnic and cultural diversity at the 
one school is not the same as that at another school. The textbooks used in the 
schools throughout the Netherlands should contain material that is familiar to all 
the pupils at these schools. The contents of these textbooks should also suit the 
pupils' backgrounds and these textbooks should also contain enough topics that are of common interest to all. 

2 Attention is paid to the ethnic and cultural diversity in society.

All those people living in the Netherlands come into contact with each other, 
whether they live near each other or far away from each other. Textbooks should 
make this point clear.

3 Attention is paid to the ethnic and cultural diversity all over the world.

Migration is an important educational theme in our 'global village'. Textbooks 
should provide information about the global context of the ethnic and cultural 
diversity that is present in Dutch society.


4 There are interesting and relevant subjects for boys and girls with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Textbooks should reflect the diverse aspects of the society in which people from 
different backgrounds participate. Textbooks should take into account the fact 
that society is made up of people from different backgrounds. These textbooks 
should give a complete picture of the diverse nature of society.

5 The textbook is balanced and it is as objective as possible; there are no stereotypes or prejudices.

Textbooks should reflect the differences in background and culture in a natural 
way, clearly refuting prejudices and stereotypes.


6 The term, "race", when referring to people, is only used in conjunction with racism and discrimination.

The term "race" is scientifically untenable. Classifying people according to 'race' 
is only useful if you want to explain something about racial theories. Textbooks 
should make this point clear.

7 Racism is rejected and attention is paid to the dynamics of it and the resistance to it.

Textbooks should obviously be compiled or written from an anti-racist perspective.

8 Attention is paid to contributions to the subject in question from various cultures.

Instead of a eurocentric approach, textbooks should emphasise that achievements 
from all over the world have contributed to the present knowledge and insights.


9 Pupils whose mother tongue is not Dutch are also taken into consideration.

All pupils should be able to read the textbooks available in schools. Particular 
attention is paid to those pupils who have problems with the Dutch language.

10 Teachers and pupils are urged to practise intercultural communication.

Textbooks should offer pupils the opportunity to communicate critically and 
respectfully with each other and also with others.

11 People from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds are treated as individuals. In the texts, they themselves are the ones who are speaking and they are also the ones who are depicted in the illustrations.

Textbooks should not limit themselves to generalisations about minority groups 
and ethnic citizens. They should make it very clear that groups are made up of 
individuals with their own personal interests and motives.


12 Topics are viewed from various social, ethnic and cultural and also geographical perspectives.

"Us" and "them" are not used in opposition to each other.Events and situations 
often become surprisingly clear when they are viewed from a number of different 
angles. Textbooks should use the terms "we" and "our" to refer to all those people 
living in the Netherlands.

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