Frameworks for Intercultural Learning


Key idea

Development involves more than economic growth.

What’s the point?

There is no single model or template for development.

Until quite recently the idea of development held in the West was largely interpreted in economic terms. According to a Western model of development, some parts of the world were considered to be more developed than others because they were more industrialised and more advanced technologically. Conversely, traditional societies were perceived to be ‘backward’ and in need of developing to ‘catch up’ with the Western model.

It is now increasingly recognised that development is much more complicated than this. Modern definitions include environmental and ecological factors, personal well-being, social welfare and psychological health.


At an even more fundamental level, there are also questions about whether the types of development which are dominant in the West are
(a) suitable for countries in different cultural and historical contexts, and
(b) really as desirable as they once seemed.


A more complex understanding of development is slowly emerging which recognises there is no single model that all countries have to follow and that many so called ‘less developed’ countries were the first great centres of civilisation and have rich artistic, musical and cultural traditions.


Research vignettes

(a) What model of development is represented in this voice?

(b) What does the term ’emerging nations’ suggest to you here?


(a) Gambian voice
"Another surprise was the way I found people living in the UK. I was never expecting that I would see such a thing as homelessness in this place. This was definitely a surprise because the UK is already a developed country. I mean everybody who lives in the UK being our colonial masters, up there, they had everything."


(b) UK voice
"The developed world needs to stop holding itself out as a model for emerging nations to emulate…There are different solutions to the same problem and nations need to take different approaches if the crisis of climate change is to be met."

Going further

Graves, J. (2002) ‘Developing a Global Dimension in the Curriculum’ in The Curriculum Journal, 13,3 303-11
Sachs,W. (2013) 'Liberating the World from Development' in New Internationalist 460 22-27
Scoffham, S. and Potter, C. (2007) ‘Please Miss, Why are they so Poor?’ in Primary Geographer 62 5-7