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Durham University

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Publication details

Barili, A. & Byram, M. (2021). Teaching Intercultural Citizenship through Intercultural Service Learning in World Language Education. Foreign Language Annals 54(3): 776-799.

Author(s) from Durham


Globalization and internationalization have created a need for dialogue among people of different persuasions in our own societies and beyond. Language teachers can meet this challenge through the concepts of intercultural citizenship and intercultural service learning, renewing emphasis on educational and humanistic aims as well as instrumental. Students in an advanced Spanish course volunteered in a school and a legal center, interacting one-on-one with unaccompanied minors and immigrants fleeing Central America. The evaluation focused on the impact on learners’ understanding of the society in which they live, and perceptions of their own language learning during their work as active citizens. Data from students’ academic blogs and diaries were analyzed thematically. They show a heightened awareness of language competence, as students use their knowledge of Spanish in their voluntary work, and increased intercultural competence in students’ reports on their critical evaluation of perspectives and practices in their own culture and those of others.