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OM FLEXid

 

WHY FLEXID?


Migration, culture shifts and bilingual upbringing is the reality for a large part of people in the world. Globalization makes multicultural communities the norm in most countries around the world. Still, media and literature reflects the challenges following this melting pot of ethnisity, religion, culture and tradition. Regardless of the reason for a familys moving, children face the same reality of having to relate to a multifaceted cultural influence when growing up outside of their parents homeculture. This reality raises issues such as belonging and identity.


In the 90s, David Pollock, an American sociologist
and Ruth van Reken, gave part
icular attention to such a group: Third Culture Kids. This term defined the reality of children of missionaries and other westerners working abroad for companies, the military, relief work, government etc. Re-entry into their parents home-culture was revealed as especially challenging for this group of kids, for a number of reasons.

The authors described how the kids had absorbed the cultures that their parents had adjusted to for a few years. Absorbing a culture makes it a part of ones identity at a much deeper level than adjusting to foreign traditions and values does. When leaving the country they had grown up in, and entering their parents culture, many have felt the awkwardness of not fitting in
not having absorbed their parents culture over time. Leaving out the part of their identity that belonged to their growing up years, these kids also left behind important knowledge and skills that could benefit their education process.

FLEXid

Reif, stby and Selle transformed this knowledge of TCKs to benefit the reality of multicultural kids growing up in Norway, with one or both parents originating from another country. Discovering the issues of special interest and relevance to this group, resultet in the concept FLEXid: an awareness course focusing on the benefits of growing up with migration, multicultural transitions, challenges of change and adjustment.
FLEXid points to two words: flexible identity.

The most important reason for any multicultural kid to go through the program FLEXid offers, is to boost their sense of who they are, become more confident in how to use their special knowledge, skills and experiences, and feel encouraged to reflect all the diversity of their identity instead of choosing one part over another.

FLEXid celebrates each kids personal preference for describing who they are, and how they wish to negotiate their identity issue. The course simply offers means to reflect on topics related to this self-discovery process while stressing that the answer to the question where do I come from? basically is a question of personal feelings. Identity is flexible, and we believe, often reflects to what extent our personal experiences have been acknowledged and accepted by those important to us.

Added to the personal process, FLEXid also offers an education of cross-cultural skills, communication and integration that we hope will lead to better co-existence between diverse groups in schools and communities. It is our aim to prevent potential conflict between generations, and help kids and parents resolve often painful differences and challenges that follow culture-shifts and clash between values, beliefs and traditions.









 
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