Developing the Intercultural Dimension in Language Teaching: A Practical Introduction for Teachers

Developing Intercultural Dimension in Language TeachingIn this 42-page guide, available free from the Council of Europe authors Michael Byram, Bella Gribkova and Hugh Starkey offer practical insights for classroom language teachers. The topics covered in this resource include answers to questions such as:

  • What is the intercultural dimension of language teaching?
  • What knowledge, skills, attitudes and values are involved in intercultural competence?
  • Do I need to be a native speaker?
  • How can I promote the intercultural dimension if I have to follow a set curriculum and teach grammar?
  • How do I deal with learners’ stereotypes and prejudices?
  • How do I overcome my own stereotypes and misconceptions?
  • How do I assess intercultural competence?

This is a brilliant piece of work that includes extracts from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and an extensive bibliography.

Get yours here:


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

5 Responses to Developing the Intercultural Dimension in Language Teaching: A Practical Introduction for Teachers

  1. Gareth Evans says:

    The interconnect here is media. Wittgenstein started his Investigation with a quote to nail down the topic he would deal with(a particular view of language, a language in which nouns predominate, as does Basic English). Some people might see this as content.
    As my teacher taught me “A sentence expresses a complete thought” and language is that which communicates a thought in one mind to another mind. Science and philosophy can not even agree on whether there are minds or an Other so I do not know if my view would ever prevail(that there are other minds or that it is possible to communicate, but I live on in that hope).
    This morning on Q there was a conversation that confirms my view. An American went to India to work in a call centre. The “intercultural education” consisted in part of showing videos of Seinfeld. The workers were given a static stereotype that was subject to the reality of person-to-person conversation and their view of the reality of the other changed with their experience.
    McLuhan gave us the Laws of Media. Ogden gave us a language,a summary of which can be placed on a single page. Neither of these two technologies has garnered any academic acceptance.
    So to answer,, artifacts are subject to scientific study and the use of tools can be an art. I tend to use both and it will depend on others to see if one coin has two or more sides or whether language continues to be studied in two or less dimensions.
    For now I am grateful to you and LARC for giving tools to carry on the conversation.

  2. Gareth Evans says:

    From the point of view of Basic English, grammar is one of the language arts, a creative process for which rules can not tell the complete story. A science is empirical, that is procedures can be specified so that each person who follows the rules will get to the same point.
    In my opinion too many think of language as a science, but this denies the unique expression of particulars and poetry.

  3. Gareth Evans says:

    Does “grammar” (need to teach it) mean prescriptive grammar or does “grammar” mean grammar in the liberal arts tradition of the trivium and the sense in which McLuhan used it in his thesis?

    • Good question, Gareth. I checked the original report and my conclusion is that the authors are talking about prescriptive grammar. That piece of the resource is designed to address the issue of how language teachers who have to work within a very rigid, traditional and prescriptive curriculum (that includes teaching prescriptive grammar) can “make space” for intercultural competence in their lessons.

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