Teachers’ Intercultural Competencies and Foreign Language Learning and Teaching in Slovene Schools: Findings from the European Survey on Language Competences Study Maja Dolinar and Ana Mlekuž
Summary: Using the data from the European Survey on Language Competences (ESLC), this paper aims to examine the intercultural competencies of Slovenian foreign language primary school teachers and how they translate these competencies into classrooms’ foreign language learning success. Data shows that the biggest emphasis in the classroom is placed on spoken communication and vocabulary acquisition, followed by written communication, grammar and pronunciation, whereas the least emphasis is placed on learning about the culture and literature. Data also shows that only a small proportion of foreign language teachers participate in intercultural exchanges and training abroad, resulting in a limited approach that may not give language learners the necessary intercultural proficiency to communicate with others. Providing a more pragmatic instruction that is focused on an interdisciplinary approach to foreign language teaching and learning could enable students to gain cross-cultural awareness and pragmatic competence. This competence would prepare them to carry out conversations successfully and avoid cultural misunderstandings that might lead to communication breakdown and a possible loss of motivation to keep learning the language in the latter stages of their education. The importance of such an approach becomes evident as we are faced with an increasingly multicultural society and environment.