Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Intercultural Education 33:1 (2022), pp. 48–66 doi:10.1080/14675986.2021.2016214


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There is an ever-present need to foster and maintain intercultural competence in today’s teaching force. Although much research details how to do this, few studies document how to utilize arts and community-based (ACB) approaches to align with the goals of intercultural education. This qualitative study examines reflections from 61 teacher learners who participated in an ACB intervention with community partners while enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate course focused on serving students with immigrant/refugee backgrounds. The aim of this study was to find out what the characteristics of good intercultural education are, as well as how ACB approaches can provide students with authentic experiences working across difference. Using thematic analysis to examine written reflections on the interventions, the authors found that in various ways and to various degrees, the ACB approach allowed students to find a common language as they grew in their content knowledge, created a sense of vulnerability that led to increased empathy for their students and families, and compelled the students to begin to challenge oppression and work towards social change.