THE ROLE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING IN ENHANCING STUDENTS’ INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE
This study emphasizes the critical role of foreign language teaching in enhancing students’ intercultural competence, as a means of expanding their future opportunities in an increasingly multicultural and diverse world. Foreign language classes may provide unique opportunities for delivering a plurilingual, multicultural setting utilizing the cultural elements in the course content and course materials as well as the personal experiences of the teacher in the classroom. To that end, more attention is needed to foreign language teacher preparation and training. As multiculturalism is a significant feature of European communities, this study sought to investigate and analyze the related policies, strategies and practices in Europe, since Paris declaration 2015, in order to determine actions have been taken to address those needs. This qualitative study is based on document analysis of the European Educational Policy documents released mainly by the European Commission and the Council of Europe. The results of the analysis showed that foreign language education has presented along with intercultural education in the vast majority of European educational policies as a dominant component within the context of integration and promote social cohesion, as well as increase competitiveness and employability. The study has implied a number of implications highlighted some potential gaps that may be diminish the effectiveness of these policies, pushing towards more empirical research on the influence of EU policies on national level actions.
Keywords: Foreign language Teaching, Intercultural competence, multilingual competence, plurilingual, multicultural setting, European documents, European Education Policy.
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