What is Intercultural Teaching Competence (ITC)?
Intercultural teaching competence is an instructor’s ability to interact with students in a way that supports the learning of students who are linguistically, culturally, socially or in other ways different from the instructor or from each other, across a very wide definition of perceived difference and group identity” (Dimitrov et. al., 2014, p. 89). Intercultural teaching competence enables instructors to bridge cultural, linguistic or other differences in the classroom, communicate successfully across disciplinary cultures (Dimitrov, 2012), and establish meaningful relationships with and among students in order to facilitate learning and promote student engagement. In addition, intercultural teaching competence also includes the ability to model intercultural competence for students in the classroom and to facilitate dialogue about global issues using respectful, inclusive, and culturally relevant teaching strategies. Interculturally competent instructors are open to diverse ways of knowing (Archibald, 2008; Haig-Brown, 2008), are reflective in their approaches to assessment and curriculum design (Paige, 1996; Hermida, 2010) and promote multiple perspectives when they select content, readings, and learning activities (Deardorff, 2011).
Components of Intercultural Teaching Competence
The ITC framework (Dimitrov & Haque, 2016) includes 3 subsets of intercultural competencies: foundational competencies encompass an instructor’s knowledge of their own positionality and ability to respond to difference; facilitation competencies focus on the instructor’s ability to create a safe, inclusive learning environment and promote dialogue in the classroom; and curriculum design competencies include an ability to enrich the curriculum with diverse perspectives through the selection of content, learning activities, assessments, and modelling. Central to the ITC model is the instructor’s awareness of their own place in the cultural landscape of the classroom and their ability to encourage reflection among students about their place and impact in the world.