Every language conveys and is a vehicle for culture. Taking into account the cultural dimension of the languages present and taught in schools is a fundamental – and particularly delicate – aspect of plurilingual and intercultural education.
Today’s children are exposed to cultural diversity at an early stage, both in a social context and when starting school. The intercultural aspect of school education constitutes a space where children can come together, make contact and interact with difference and otherness. It also contributes to their preparation for community life, their development as democratic citizens and their ability to engage.
Specifying languages’ contribution to intercultural education. Lessons learned from the CEFR (2013)
Download the French version of the text "Specifying languages’ contribution to intercultural education. Lessons learned from the CEFR" (Spécifier la contribution des langues à l’éducation interculturelle. Les enseignements du CECR)
The humanist perspective of language teaching, the continuation of a long-standing cultural tradition in Europe, has now led to a didactic approach we have come to call intercultural education, designed to allow learners to react thoughtfully when they come into contact with the various forms that otherness can take. The aim of this text is twofold: to put the concept of intercultural education in practical terms and to posit the necessary conditions for specifying those terms, in other words, the criteria that any corresponding benchmark instruments should meet. The CEFR is used as a reference instrument. That does not mean “singling out” parts of the CEFR that may be useful elsewhere, but rather drawing support from its approach and structure.
Multicultural Societies, Pluricultural People and the Project of Intercultural Education (2009)
Download the French version of the text "Multicultural Societies, Pluricultural People and the Project of Intercultural Education" (Sociétés multiculturelles et individus pluriculturels : le projet de l'éducation interculturelle)
Contemporary societies are multicultural and Europe as a whole is multicultural. It was ever thus but the complexity is increasing as a consequence of mobility and migration. It is important to clarify the impact of this societal phenomenon on individuals who are potentially or actually pluricultural as a consequence of experiencing multicultural social life. The threats to social cohesion which increased multiculturalism brings, have to be counter-acted by education for intercultural dialogue which depends on intercultural competence. Compulsory education is thus required to respond to this situation by developing learners' intercultural competence. It can do so through language education which introduces learners to other cultures external or internal to their own society. Educational systems can also give learners access to other cultures and their discourses within the curriculum, i.e. the cultures of the different subjects and the identification with the specific modes of being and perceiving which inhere in each subject and group of subjects, for example in history as a subject and in the social sciences as a whole. The school thus introduces learners to different kinds of culture, a concept that hence needs careful definition.
- 1. Complex phenomena, concepts and terminology
- 2. European societies are multicultural societies
- 3. European societies are plural societies
- 4. Pluricultural people with intercultural competence
- 5. Intercultural dialogue and social cohesion
- 6. Intercultural education and multicultural societies
Plurilingual and pluricultural competence (rev. 2009)
Daniel Coste, Daniele Moore, Geneviève Zarate
Download the French version of the text "Plurilingual and pluricultural competence" (Compétence plurilingue et pluriculturelle [rév. 2009])
Autobiogaphy of Intercultural Encouters (2009)
Michael Byram, Martyn Barrett, Julia Ipgrave, Robert Jackson, María del Carmen Méndez García with contributions of Eithne Buchanan-Barrow, Leah Davcheva, Peter Krapf, Jean-Michel Leclercq
Download the French version of "The Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters" (Autobiographie des rencontres interculturelles)
Download the Italian version of "The Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters" (Autobiografia degli Incontri Interculturali)
Download the Polish version of "The Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters" (Autobiografia spotkań międzykulturowych)
Download the Russian version of "The Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters" (Дневник межкультурного общения)
The Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters has been developed to promote intercultural dialogue. It is a personal tool that encourages users to think about and learn from intercultural encounters that have made a strong impression on them. It is suitable for cross-curricular and general use in formal and non-formal educational contexts.
An intercultural encounter can be an experience between people from different countries, but it can also be an experience with individuals from other cultural backgrounds within the same country for example from other regional, linguistic, ethnic or religious backgrounds. Therefore, the Autobiography aims to promote respect for diversity both nationally and across borders.
The website of the "Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters" is available in 5 further languages: French, Italian, Spanish, Polish and Russian.
Languages and identities (2006)
Intercultural Competence (2003)
Gerhard Neuner, Lynne Parmenter, Hugh Starkey, Geneviève Zarate (Michael Byram, Ed.)
Developing the Intercultural Dimension in Language Teaching – A practical introduction for teachers (2002)
Michael Byram (ed.), Bella Gribkova, Hugh Starkey
Download the French version of the text "Developing the Intercultural Dimension in Language Teaching – A practical introduction for teachers" (Développer la dimension interculturelle dans l’enseignement des langues – une introduction pratique à l’usage des enseignants)
Sociocultural competence in language learning and teaching (1997)
Michael Byram, Gerhard Neuner, Geneviève Zarate
Download the French version of the text "Sociocultural competence in language learning and teaching" (La compétence socioculturelle dans l'apprentissage et l'enseignement des langues vivantes)
Young people facing difference (1995)
Michael Byram, Geneviève Zarate
Download the French version of the text "Young people facing difference" (Les jeunes confrontés à la différence)
European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML)
Plurilingual and intercultural learning through mobility. Practical resources for teachers and teacher trainers (2015)
Lukas Bleichenbacher , Kristin Brogan, Josephine Cole, Anna Czura, Mirjam Egli Cuenat, Katharina Höchle Meier, Chantal Muller, Anna Szczepanska, Barbara Wolfer
Mercè Bernaus, Áine Furlong, Sofie Jonckheere, Martine Kervran
Social identity and the European dimension: Intercultural competence through foreign language learning (2000)
Michael Byram, Manuel Tost Planet
Council of Europe / European Centre for Modern Languages and Modern Languages Division, 2000, ISBN 978-92-871-4420-1