One major challenge for education systems is to give learners, during their school education, language and intercultural competences which will enable them to operate effectively as citizens, acquire knowledge and develop open attitudes to otherness: this vision of the teaching of languages and cultures is referred to as plurilingual and intercultural education.
Plurilingual and intercultural education is defined in the Council of Europe’s papers as “a global language education, across all languages of the school and in all disciplinary domains, which provides a basis for an identity open to linguistic and cultural plurality and diversity, insofar as languages are the expression of different cultures and of differences within the same culture. All disciplines contribute to this language education through the contents which they carry and the ways in which they are taught. This global language education aims to develop plurilingual and intercultural competence.”
“Plurilingual and intercultural education has two aims. First, it facilitates the acquisition of linguistic and intercultural abilities: this involves adding to the linguistic and cultural resources which make up individual repertoires, using the available means efficiently. Aims differ with learners’ needs, languages and contexts.
Secondly, it promotes personal development, so that individuals can realise their full potential: this involves encouraging them to respect and accept diversity of languages and cultures in a multilingual and multicultural society, and helping to make them aware of the extent of their own competences and development potential.
[...] Effective learning of one or more languages, awareness of the value of diversity and otherness, and recognition of the utility of any (even partial) competence are necessary for anyone who, as an active member of the community, has to exercise his/her democratic citizenship in a multilingual and multicultural society.” (Guide for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education, p. 15-16)
Beacco Jean-Claude, Byram Michael, Cavalli Marisa, Coste Daniel, Egli Cuenat Mirjam, Goullier Francis, Panthier Johanna (2016), Guide for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education
, Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, p. 15-16, available at www.coe.int/en/web/language-policy/guide-for-the-development-and-implementation-of-curricula-for-plurilingual-and-intercultural-education
Cavalli Marisa, Coste Daniel, Crişan Alexandru and van de Ven Piet-Hein (2009), Plurilingual and intercultural education as a project, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, p. 8, available at https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=09000016805a219f
Council of Europe, Platform of resources and references for plurilingual and intercultural education, available at www.coe.int/en/web/platform-plurilingual-intercultural-language-education/home