Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
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Towards the Recognition of

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Teachers in a Multicultural Environment

Homepage > Guideline > Teachers in a Multicultural Environment

Improving teachers’ skills in dealing with multicultural environments.

Responsibilities of Teachers in a Multicultural Environment

Table of Content

Chapter 1 – Intercultural Competences
1.1 Definitions of Cultural Competence
A global culture of human rights requires competence in holding intercultural dialogues. In addition, it is through intercultural dialogue that members of different groups learn about one another. Human rights serve as an obvious topic for those holding intercultural dialogues, and so form part of a program designed to lead to a culture of peace, since “the culture of peace is above all a culture of peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution, education for non-violence, tolerance, acceptance, mutual respect, dialogue and reconciliation” (UNESCO, 2011a).

Schools are a central place to nurture such skills and abilities, as was underlined by UNESCO in Guidelines on Intercultural Education (UNESCO, 2006b). Nevertheless, given their relevance for social and political life, the scope of intercultural competences is much wider than formal education. Intercultural competence includes a set of variety skills that demonstrate someone is capable of effective communication and relationship building within another culture.

Intercultural competences are abilities to adeptly navigate complex environments marked by a growing diversity of peoples, cultures and lifestyles, in other terms, abilities to perform “effectively and appropriately when interacting with others who are linguistically and culturally different from oneself” (Fantini & Tirmizi, 2006).

Competence includes cognitive (knowledge), functional (application of knowledge), personal (behavior) and ethical (principles guiding behavior) components, thus the capacity to know must be matched to the capacity to speak and act appropriately in context; ethics and consideration of human rights influence both speech and actions.

Intercultural describes what occurs when members of two or more different cultural groups (of whatever size, at whatever level) interact or influence one another in some fashion, whether in person or through various mediated forms.
Online Resources
  • What is Intercultural competence?This article presents the definition of intercultural competence and describes its elements included.
  • Intercultural competence: how is it defined?This article identifies the components of intercultural competence resulted in a diagram that was a composite of the consensus reached by a panel of experienced interculturalists that included trainers, researchers, and international educational program administrators within the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
  • Theory Reflections: Intercultural Competence Framework/ModelIn this article, author D. K. Deardorff analyses the meaning of successfully interaction within those from different cultures, and discloses the concept of intercultural competence grounded on her research, which led to the development of an intercultural competence framework/ model.
  • Building intercultural competence in the language classroomThe article reviews and summarizes the literature on intercultural competence and intercultural communicative competence, in order to better, understand various models of intercultural communicative competence, examples of cultural tasks that promote intercultural communicative competence and represent best practices in language teaching.
  • A 21st Century Imperative: Integrating Intercultural Competence in TuningWith the growing diversity in the world today, beyond national diversity, intercultural competence cuts across disciplines, subjects, and contexts. This paper highlights the first research-based definition and framework of intercultural competence, which can be translated into any subject and context and makes the case for why intercultural competence must be embedded into Tuning Frameworks around the world.

Table of Content

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.