Intercultural competence of teachers: the case of teaching Roma students Dr. Romana Bešter and dr. Mojca Medvešek
Summary: The authors first present the concepts of intercultural learning and intercultural competence. Following this, a theoretical model of intercultural competence development, as formulated by Deardorff (2006, 2009), is employed to explore the intercultural competence of teachers who teach Roma pupils in Slovene schools. Drawing on an analysis of reflective diaries written by 21 teachers, the authors conclude that the majority of the participating teachers demonstrate a lack of knowledge and understanding of cultural differences and often do not go beyond the ethno-centric perspective. In the absence of critical reflection on their values, expectations, thoughts and behaviour, the teachers often implicitly (and unconsciously) contribute to the preservation of the existing unequal social relations between majority and minority groups. However, to raise awareness of such behaviour and to overcome the status quo, broader systemic changes aimed at supporting the development of teachers’ intercultural competence and the implementation of the principle of interculturalism in education will be needed.