World Language Teachers' Understandings and Integration of Intercultural Competence: "More Than..." Language and Beyond



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The rising emphasis for students to develop global and intercultural competence leads the purpose of this qualitative study to explore United States (U.S.)-based world language (WL) teachers’ understandings and integration of intercultural competence (IC) in their language classrooms. The importance of this study was to add to the extant literature and fill a gap regarding a better understanding of U.S.-based WL teachers’ perceptions of IC and how and why it applies to their instructional context and practices. This qualitative study employs an interpretive and inductive thematic approach for qualitative analysis designed to capture the voices from a diverse range of WL teachers across languages, teaching experience, instructional and academic levels, and regions in the U.S. The data sources include online questionnaires and in-depth interviews allowing the voices of the participants to emerge. Emic and etic themes inform the findings, which address the complexity of IC and firmly include language as a key component of IC development. Participant data also emphasizes the integration of IC into instruction through purposeful, pedagogical, and programmatic application. The findings of this study highlight the richness of these WL teachers’ understandings and intentional integration of IC in their instructional practices. Findings serve to inform policy, pedagogy and practice, and future research initiatives regarding the importance of language within IC models and an interdisciplinary approach to IC integration.



Intercultural communicative competence, Intercultural competence, PK-16 world language teachers, World language education