Recognising intercultural competence: What shows that I am interculturally competent?
We invite you to test a new, draft tool to support you on the way to a fuller understanding of yourself in the context of diversity.
Ms Ildikó Lázár, coordinator, Hungary
Being interculturally competent has widely been recognised for decades as essential for peaceful coexistence in a diverse world. Numerous recent policy papers and recommendations of international organisations, such as The White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue (Council of Europe, 2008) have also expressed this need very clearly. Intercultural competence is a key competence that every individual should work on for the development and maintenance of sustainable democratic societies.
A group of 30 teachers, school heads and experts from all over Europe met in a three-day Think Tank, drawing on the shared expertise of the participants and on the recent results of research and project work within the Council of Europe and other international organisations. The tool was then tested by teachers and school heads in a large number of countries and it was then finalized taking into account the rich feedback received during the testing period.
The main components which make up intercultural competence - attitudes, skills and knowledge - are described in the form of I-statements describing observable behaviour that can be associated with specific aspects of the components. Naturally, the components are interconnected since the knowledge we have about the world and about human interaction as well as our attitudes towards these can only be made visible and observable through our behaviour. Moreover, skills development and knowledge acquisition can only increase intercultural competence if we have the right attitudes and use the knowledge and skills we have acquired accordingly. It is precisely for this reason, because of the importance of attitudes, that these sub-components outnumber those of the skills and the knowledge described in our list of indicators.
What shows that you are interculturally competent? The tool is intended to help you look at yourself, at your intercultural competence, and recognise your strong points as well as areas which need further development.
And finally, if your time allows, we invite you to share with us what you think about the usefulness of the tool itself by filling in an online questionnaire http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/iccopen. We will review the tool after that and elaborate a final version.
Recognising Intercultural competence – the tool (pdf)