Intercultural competences in Multilingual Education: based on the example of the European School of Varese
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The current world is more interconnected than ever before and multiple cultures are in contact with each other on a regular basis. Thus, intercultural competences are a key qualification particularly, especially in the international labour market. Research has shown that intercultural competences bring both individual as well as societal benefits. There is an assumption that students from international school have a higher intercultural sensitivity due to increased mobility and contact with other cultures. Research has also mainly focused on foreign language acquisition when it comes to intercultural competences. This master thesis aims to investigate how much intercultural competences are integrated in the foreign language teaching and ultimately to what extent a multicultural and multilingual environment plays a role in the development of such competences. The research was done by using two models; the INCA framework, a European Union project to complement the already existing CEFR, and Deardorff’s circular model of IC development. The study was done via quantitative research, namely two surveys with students and former students of the European School of Varese, and qualitative research, namely interviews with current foreign language teachers of said school. The findings showed that by attending an international school, students do in fact acquire intercultural competences not only through the foreign language classroom but also by simply attending such a school. It furthermore resulted that intercultural competences are as a matter of fact incorporated into foreign language teaching, although not necessarily concretely. Therefore, it results that a solid reference system for the assessment and development of intercultural competences in schools is still missing.