The increasing cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe poses new challenges for teachers and other professionals working with young children and their families. Learning to engage and work in diverse societies is no longer a luxury but a necessity, according to the EU (OECD, 2018). Preschools and primary schools play a crucial role in this: They should help children to develop competences to participate in a superdiverse world. This implies that also the teachers and other professionals should feel prepared to deal with the diversity, while recognizing, valuing and respecting the different cultures they encounter. This means that teachers and other professionals should call on their intercultural competences, for themselves and to help the children. These competences are a combination of values, attitudes, knowledge, skills, and actions.

Intercultural competences imply that you (1) understand and respect people who have a different cultural background, (2) respond appropriately and respectfully when communicating with people who have a different background, (3) build positive relationships with people who have a different background and (4) that you are aware of your own values and attitudes towards diversity and how you react to cultural differences.

These intercultural competences of teachers in ECEC and school settings can be fostered through professional development. When providing development opportunities and activities, teachers can advance their knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, skills and behaviour, that will ultimately improve children’s developmental or educational outcomes. There are multiple strategies of professional development, such as training, courses and reflection. In this section, several strategies are explained and examples are given that can help teachers to improve their intercultural competences.

Themes: Professional Development Activities

Resource type: Did you know?

Tags: reflection; professionals; knowledge; attitudes; beliefs; skills; behaviour; interculturalism; intercultural competencies

Age range:

Available in: English and Italian