The Intercultural Capability in the Language Classroom: a Phenomenological Investigation of Migrant Preservice teachers’ Lived Experiences

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Ciabatti, Nataša (2022) The Intercultural Capability in the Language Classroom: a Phenomenological Investigation of Migrant Preservice teachers’ Lived Experiences. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This study explores how a group of preservice teachers experienced the phenomenon of intercultural education in the Learning Area of Languages. Seven preservice teachers of migrant background shared their lived experiences of engaging with the Intercultural Capability as articulated in the Victorian Curriculum. The participants were completing a graduate Initial Teacher Education program while undertaking the practicum component of this course in Victorian secondary schools. This study employs a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to explore the participating preservice teachers’ lived experiences of adopting an intercultural perspective in their classroom of Languages. Data gathered through individual in-depth interviews were analysed using Thematic Analysis and presented in a narrative form to describe participants’ personal and professional experiences. The findings in this study indicate that the Intercultural Capability is seen as a welcome and necessary inclusion to the Victorian Curriculum. However, its formulation in such a document does not appear to exert significant influence in the ways preservice teachers conceptualise the intercultural dimension. Instead, the most decisive factor contributing to their attention to the intercultural dimension of teaching is derived from their past personal experiences of learning and studying languages and living in different countries. This study also found that university learning facilitated the intercultural dimension, while teacher practicum learning impeded it. Finally, a significant finding is that incongruences exist between participants’ theoretical interpretation and practical application of Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning. This study suggests a new definition for the Intercultural Capability that emphasises the importance of not only learning about cultural diversity but also learning from and through it. It also recommends assigning the Intercultural Capability a more prominent role in the Curriculum to promote social cohesion and social justice rather than treating it as an addition. The study also recognises the need for critical and reflective discussions in teacher education to support teachers in becoming agents of change.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy
Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3903 Education systems
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords Critical Intercultural Communication Pedagogy; Hermeneutic Phenomenology; Foreign/Second Language Pedagogy; Intercultural capability; Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning; Migrant preservice teachers; Preservice teachers; Social Justice; Teacher Cognition; Teacher Education; Victorian Curriculum; Qualitative methods
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