8 Entering the Intercultural Teaching Journey: From Theory to Practice

In the previous chapters, we have explored the theoretical foundations and initial foundational practices that support intercultural teaching. Our models of interculturality development, the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity and Cultural Humility, suggest that the journey is a process of growth towards internal and external change. This ongoing journey will be lived out through relational learning, acknowledging the realities of our own cultural identities and the power dimensions of the contexts in which we take part, while keeping in mind the desired trajectory of the work towards equity and justice. As Dervin (2016) emphasizes, embarking on the intercultural teaching journey requires acceptance that both successes and failures will occur on this lifelong exploration.

The foundational practices explored in this section provide a basis on which to explore inclusive pedagogies and interculturalizing the curriculum. A frequent temptation is to move quickly ahead to searching for classroom-based “solutions”; however, it is important to pause at this stage in the process to root these future actions in your intercultural teaching philosophy, growing self-understanding, and overall intercultural journey.

Consider the practices below as possible next steps in your professional development as an intercultural educator.

  • Take and participate in an individual debrief of theĀ Intercultural Development Inventory. This inventory provides insight into your current attitudes, desires, and behaviours in intercultural spaces, and can provide a framework for identifying the next steps in your learning.
  • Identify a colleague, or a small group of colleagues, with whom you can share your intercultural journey. If you are able to work with colleagues in your own department or discipline, you will be able to provide practical supports to one another in the next stage of your work when you more closely consider curriculum choices and classroom practices.
  • Begin an intercultural teaching journal and/or portfolio. As you have read in this section, the intercultural journey requires a solid foundation of self-understanding, as well as the ability to critically reflect on past experiences, present practices, and future pathways.
  • Consider how you can learn about your students’ cultural identities and experiences in a more relationally engaged manner. What questions might you want to ask? How will you create opportunities to learn from students (e.g. through activities early in the semester, by finding new ways to engage with students in office hours)?
  • Write your personal philosophy of intercultural teaching. How does intercultural teaching enable you to pursue your core values as an educator? What theories and practices are informing your desired intercultural teaching outcomes?

As you consider the next steps in the journey, remember that the aim is sustainable practice. While intercultural teaching can be a challenging path, its rewards include personal growth and shifts in practice that can enhance our own well-being while creating an environment that enables students to learn well while bringing their whole selves to the classroom.



Dervin, F. (2016). Interculturality in education: A theoretical and methodological toolbox. Palgrave Macmillan.


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Foundations of Intercultural Teaching Copyright © 2021 by Kwantlen Polytechnic University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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