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The importance of intercultural competence in language education

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1 The importance of intercultural competence in language education
Paul Catteeuw Iasį (EuroEd), 25 June 2009


3 Why? In society Within the university Changing society
Integration Knowledge Competence (thinking) (doing) Flemish government Here and there Critical factor for success Within the university Renewal curriculum Competence based Necessity of the subject: Society Business Education accreditation of the training Social constructivism Critical factor for success

4 Changing world Evolution Labour migration > asylum migration
unicultural homogeneous society (20th c.) > diverse & multicultural society (21st c.) Changing/changed demographic scene Prognosis 2050: From 10-15% to 30% people with different cultural background

5 Migrants in Belgium Italy 286.000 (2,7%) Morocco 265.000 (2,5%)
France (1,5%) Turkey (1,5%) Netherlands (1,2%) Total (15%) Belgium



8 Intercultural contacts
Here There

9 Necessity labour market
Contact with different cultures Own (social) environment (HERE) Own working climate (HERE) Colleagues, employer, subordinates Manuals, working methods Contacts with other companies (THERE) Domestic (corporate culture) Abroad (trade contacts) Holidays (THERE): travel guides

10 What? Contents Training intercultural competence
Theoretical basis Practical learning and reflection Interaction culture - communication Basic competence Business: from contact to contract



13 Competence Definition competence A competence is the integrated use of
KNOWLEDGE SKILLS ATTITUDES PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS to carry out correctly a certain task or to solve problems in a specific professional situation


15 Basic Intercultural Competence
‘I am a critical and conscious citizen (1) and I can function flexibly (3) and interculturally (3) in an open and respectful manner (2) in the multicultural and diverse society (6) in which I live (4) and work (5)’ The right to differ


17 Levels in acquiring competence Miller’s Triangle
Karel de Grote-Hogeschool Antwerpen Levels in acquiring competence Miller’s Triangle Proficiency: applying competence Advanced: understanding through exercise Basic: knowing + knowing how

18 Language The main form of communication in all its forms
Spoken language ... Non-verbal communication Which language? Romanian? Dutch? English? Which English? Which register

19 Ikea Niet zo gek, die Zweden! Ils sont fous, ces Suédois (Moldova)

20 Mental programming (Hofstede)
Personality: inbred and taught Communication: differences between people Culture: what we do with human nature is taught = nurture problematic layer Human nature: everything which is inbred = nature no problems

21 Different cultures Possibilities of classification
National/regional cultures From national and linguistic frontiers to cultural frontiers Social cultures Gender, social classes, birth, sexual inclination, … Group cultures Family, company, school, … Claes en Gerritsen, Culturele waarden en communicatie in internationaal perspectief, 2002

22 Icebergmodel Noticeable : WORDS Symbols, heroes, rituals
Not noticeable: MEANING OF WORDS Values and norms

23 Lingua franca Objective point of view
“Landeskunde” from different point of view Critical awareness Respect Intercultural competence > intercultural communication Language of understanding

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