Intercultural Competence in Elementary Educators in a Diverse School Setting



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Investigating the intercultural competence (IC) of educators has important implications for students, parents, teachers, administrators, schools, and school districts. Deardorff’s (2009) Intercultural Competence Model was used as a guide to investigate the research questions, and two additional components, context and experiences, were incorporated into the design of the qualitative study. Data sources included an adapted version of the Inventory of Cross-Cultural Sensitivity (Mahon & Cushner, 2014) sent to 74 participants to gauge the IC of the instructional staff. Criterion sampling was employed with 10 participants, and seven names of exemplars emerged. These seven teachers and administrators participated in semi-structured interviews, an observation, and artifact collection. Conducting research in an ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse school, the participants described the development of their IC, how personal and professional experiences impacted their IC, and their perceived influence of IC on students. With an increased understanding of teachers’ IC in a diverse elementary school, this study has the potential to impact professional development opportunities and experiences for pre-service and in-service teachers. Furthermore, implications include how process models of IC could be conceptualized with additional interactants specific to teaching and student outcomes.