Exploring intercultural competence


"Schools as intercultural communities" - Towards indicators of intercultural competence

4th European Seminar of the Pestalozzi Programme and the European Wergeland Centre, 4 -7 October 2011, Oslo, Norway.


We are all convinced that the development of intercultural competence - i.e. Intercultural education - is important. We all agree that we need to be competent in understanding each other across all types of borders. But what exactly is it and what do schools and teachers need to do in order to develop it in and with future generations?


One of the obstacles for a concerted effort to move intercultural competence to centre stage in mainstream schooling is the absence of clear and observable indicators for this competence which then can be developed in teaching and learning.


The Think Tank organised by the Intercultural Cities Programme, the European Wergeland Centre and the Council of Europe Pestalozzi Programme in October 2011, identified and described the components - attitudes, skills and knowledge - which an interculturally competent person possesses.


The participating teachers and school heads from the network of intercultural cities were guided through a process of collaborative work by a team of facilitators from the Pestalozzi Programme in order to identify indicators for intercultural competence described in concrete observable behaviour of the individual.


The concrete outcome of the seminar is a draft list components which make up intercultural competence, organised in categories of attitudes, skills and knowledge and described as observable behaviour which shows that the component has been developed. These indicators are now being tested in a coordinated process (coordinated by the European Wergeland Centre) of peer review and feedback between October and December 2011. The collected feedback will feed into the revision and finalisation of the list of indicators between January and March 2012.


The finalised list of indicators will be used by the ICEE project Intercultural education and exchanges (ICEE) in the development of a framework document on intercultural education and the Pestalozzi Programme will also use it as a basis for the trainings offered in the field of diversity and mutual understanding. The list will be used and disseminated in the framework of the European Wergeland Centre and it can also offer the basis of further work on intercultural education within the Intercultural Cities Programme such as a baseline study and/or as a (self-) evaluation tool.


Josef Huber



Key relevant documents of the Council of Europe and the joint CoE/EC Intercultural Cities Programme:

White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue (Council of Europe)

Dimensions of Intercultural Education and Draft indicators for intercultural education (Intercultural education and exchanges (ICEE))

City action for intercultural education good practice examples (Intercultural Cities Programme)

The Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters (Language Policy Division)