Global teachers: A model for building teachers' intercultural competence online

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Comunicar, ISSN: 1988-3293, Vol: 19, Issue: 38, Page: 41-49

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Erin M. McCloskey
Grupo Comunicar
Social Sciences
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article description
Foreign language ability, global awareness, and intercultural communication skills are increasingly recognized as essential dimensions of productive participation in the emerging economic, civic, political and social arenas of the 21st century. Consequently, these skills are being promoted more intentionally than ever across the spectrum of K16 education. This newly articulated set of objectives for today's students implies a concomitant set of competencies in educators. These competencies have not traditionally been a focus of professional development efforts in the United States, and little is known about how best to cultivate these competencies in educators. These competencies can be understood in terms of Byram's (1997) model of intercultural communicative competence (ICC). The principles of ICC development point to online learning as a potentially powerful lever in cultivating teachers' own competencies in this arena. A review of studies of intercultural learning, technologically-mediated intercultural learning and online teacher professional development is offered to suggest how these three domains might overlap. A synthesis of the findings across these literatures suggests a set of principles and educational design features to promote the building of teachers' intercultural competencies. A key finding reveals the unique affordances of networked technologies in online learning opportunities to support the development of intercultural competencies in teachers across all subject areas.