Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


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Increased globalization of the world economy, growth in human migration, and rapid developments in science and technology have required people to develop intercultural communication skills. Teachers play a crucial role in developing intercultural competence among students in our globalized, multilingual classrooms. The need for fostering discourse and building intercultural competence among students is a common blind spot in teacher praxis. This can inhibit efforts to cultivate safe and supportive learning environments for all students and can ultimately threaten multilingual student success. As part of a larger study, this narrative inquiry explores the phenomenon of intercultural competence development through the lived experiences of a Midwestern secondary science teacher. Time-series data were collected from the participant (11 semi-structured, in-depth, online interviews over eight months). Field notes and artifacts served as secondary data. Informed by Michael Byram’s Multidimensional Model of Intercultural Competence, interviews were designed, conducted, transcribed, and member-checked. Then, transcripts, field notes, and artifacts were coded and analyzed using Jean Clandinin and Michael Connelly’s three-dimensional narrative inquiry framework to arrive at synthesized stories of experience around coalescing themes. The findings revealed the participant utilized several strategies aimed at developing intercultural communicative competence, particularly in support of multilingual students. This paper focuses on the four themes that relate most directly to intercultural communicative competence development. The findings and implications are discussed within the context of Byram’s model and conclusions are drawn to inform current and future work in this area.