The VIA Culture project is an interdisciplinary endeavour with the aim to address through heritage, issues of the modern, diverse and multicultural classroom. It utilises the wide context that Cultural Heritage in Education offers, to cultivate equality, inclusion, and acceptance through the mediums of Drama in Education, which enhances oracy through real life and imaginative tasks and Digital Learning. This, in-turn, promotes collaborative higher-order thinking. The VIA Culture case was created around the research question of ‘can educational practitioners co-record with pupils from multicultural classrooms, a place’s heritage assets, so as to co-interpret the heritage of hence place and mobilise it as teaching medium?’ In other words, since multicultural education promotes democratic citizenship, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue, can students be better off in the multicultural classroom if they can record the heritage of their hosting place and then use it to create educational resources?
To explore these questions VIA Culture has three aims a) to investigate what we can learn about the importance of the Cultural Heritage Assets of a place if the recording, instead of being a privilege of heritage experts, is undertaken by students that are educated in this place but are coming from different cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds; b) to understand the potential significance of heritage for education, and especially the education of a multicultural classroom, through a heritage recording methodology that will enable students from deferent backgrounds to be connected with the cultural heritage of their hosting place and c) to use the facilitator-student co-produced assets as backbone to lessons plans for second language acquisition.
In order to achieve these aims three objectives were outlined: a) to facilitate with students from multicultural classrooms cultural heritage recording in four different European cites in four different countries b) to assess the recording and student demographic data in order to investigate the significance of heritage for education and the heritage interpretation aspect of the multicultural recording and c) to build lessons plans for second language acquisition based on the heritage recording so as to mobilise the assets in the framework of the real-world teaching schedule, timetable and needs.
VIA Culture, focuses on the cultural heritage of four European cities, Padua in Italy, Cardiff in the UK, Belgrade in Serbia, and Thessaloniki in Greece. These four cities were selected for both their multicultural past and present and the diversity of their tangible and intangible heritage. Classrooms were selected to be multicultural but from different contexts, including refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and Italy, international secondary students in Serbia, and international university students in Greece. The project focuses on the acquisition of second language vocabulary, and different languages have been selected as target languages for the project, so as to showcase if the methodology can be applicable in a wider setting. Thus, English was the target language for the Serbian and UK students, Italian was for Italy and Greek for Greece.
VIA Culture aims to the creation of Cultural heritage based teaching
resources that can be used for the promotion of European values and for
second language acquisition.The project has two main objectives:
A) The creation of an online- open access georeferenced database with
Cultural Heritage Assets that can be used in educational context.
B) The creation of teaching materials (in the form of handbooks, lesson
plans, drama games etc) that can be adapted and used in real classrooms for
teaching a second language with the use of the online resource (objective