M2_1 Intercultural teaching and learning

•    Learning atmosphere conducive to intercultural learning
•    Intercultural teaching techniques

Short description of activity

This section is based on Byram’s interculturality model presented and discussed in Module 1.
Several activities and handouts are arranged around a ppt presentation (M2_1_1_Designing and implementing learning experiences).

Learning atmosphere conducive to intercultural learning
The first part is introduced by an activity called “opinion line”.
It is followed by a presentation pointing out what makes learning environment and atmosphere conducive to intercultural learning and it gives an overview of teaching techniques. A typical (diverse) adolescent class of today is presented. Then teachers’ skills, attitudes, and role for a positive learning atmosphere are pointed out, and an overview of teaching techniques is given. In particular, the simulation technique of critical incidents is highlighted. Then a possible observation task for the group to do is proposed.

Intercultural teaching techniques
The presentation and the activities around teaching techniques and atmosphere conducive to intercultural learning are now followed by a presentation on task-based learning.
The presentation gives a definition of ‘tasks’, defines relevant task features and provides an overview on the framework for Task Based Learning, which provides a useful methodology to develop tasks.
A best practice example is explained, and participants have time to reflect on and discuss its features in groups.

Main learning outcomes

•    Are able to create a learning atmosphere that encourages learners to critically examine their own values and attitudes, thinking and feeling – to look below the surface.
•    Have knowledge about how to deal with critical incidents due to intercultural and/ or language issues.
•    Have knowledge about task based teaching techniques leading into intercultural learning.
•    Are able to create a learning atmosphere that motivates intercultural learning experiences for students that build on students’ enthusiasm and creativity


M2_1_1_Designing and implementing learning experiences (slides 1-21)
Yes-No-sign post and line/rope allowing enough space for the cohort  to line up
M2_1_2_Opinion line
M2_1_3_Diversity in groups(alternative to M2_1_2)
M2_1_4_Observation tasks
M2_1_5_Critical Incident Technique
M2_1_6_Task based learning


About 15 minutes for starter activity inclusive reflection.
About 30 minutes for input learning atmosphere, teaching techniques overview inclusive explaining the optional ” Observation tasks ”
About 30 minutes for simulation of critical incident (additional)
About 20 minutes for input slides on task based learning and  task cycle
About 15 minutes for analysing best practice “Roots reflected”


The starter activity “opinion line” is an activity preferably done outside-especially after lunch. Facilitators should beware not to incite a discussion of stereotypes and it has to be followed by a reflection. You will find suitable yes-no-statements in the “M_1_2_3_ Intercultural activities document “on page 8 which you can change and adapt, of course (see handout “M2_1_2_Opinion line “).

As an alternative option for a start the activity “Diversity in groups: The four-colour-game” can be done. It is great fun for a new group gradually getting to know each other, finding similarities, discussing diversity and enjoying the rich variety of interests, talents and biographies. It also offers the possibility to move around, so it could as well be done after the lunch break. The facilitator needs a four colour slide, preferably presented through an overhead presenter. All the participants need a set of coloured paper strips to show after each announcement which colour they chose. People then get together in mixed colours groups and discuss. The facilitator ends each round with an acoustic sound.

The critical incident scenario should be used with sensitivity especially if there are members of the group who are themselves struggling with intercultural misunderstandings and /or language problems and/or have personally been involved in conflicts due to intercultural misunderstandings or a lack of intercultural (communicative) competence. It is an additional activity as it may turn out to be very time-consuming, and similar intercultural scenarios take place in the other modules. It is a good idea to use the autobiographical data of the participants for a critical incident simulation in order to generate interesting discussions by following the analytic and reflective questions.

Related to the hand-out “observation tasks” the group may be expected to do an observation task as described or any other task during an educational visit to a school in another country. It is up to the facilitator to do some brainstorming before the visit and collect  participants’ ideas for observation tasks(e.g.: take photos of intercultural interest and present them in the evening which could even lead to a discussion of individual perception due to values and attitudes.)

Presentation on Task based learning and task cycle: Leave out slides, depending on interest and/or prior knowledge of participants or time management.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

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