Intercultural Competence in World Language Education


Intercultural Learning in World Language Education Webinar Series 2020

This autumn 2020 webinar series presents three virtual webinars centering around the topics of Intercultural Learning in World Language Education. Presented by The Ohio State University and Purdue University.

October 15: New messaging and a new spokesperson for world languages and their place in higher education

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Presenters: Professor of Italian Janice M. Aski and Assistant Director of the Italian Language Program April D. Weintritt (Ohio State University) 

As enrollments fall and world language departments around the country are forced to close, it is essential that we re-examine the messages that we give students, parents and administrators regarding the importance of learning a world language. In this webinar, we will explore why insisting that ‘speaking a world language will get you a job’ is inadequate and why stating that ‘those who learn languages participate more effectively and responsibly in our interconnected world’ is inappropriate if the pedagogy to achieve those goals is not incorporated into language programs. We introduce new messaging regarding the value and significance of world language learning based on the incorporation of intercultural learning in the language classroom. We also present a prominent spokesperson for world languages and an invaluable video series that guides students through the relationship between language learning and intercultural competence. Finally, participants will receive links to a training module for instructors on ICC and how it can be incorporated into the language classroom.

November 4: Incorporating intercultural training into elementary language courses

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Presenters: Join Professor of Italian Janice M. Aski and Assistant Director of the Italian Language Program April D. Weintritt (Ohio State University) 

In this webinar, participants will learn one method for building activities in order to develop intercultural competence. In addition, we will give concrete examples of activities that have proved successful in the elementary language classroom. We will also discuss techniques for responding to students’ comments and reactions to this new type of work. It is sometimes the case that learners, when confronted with activities related to perspective taking, stereotyping, and cultural decentering, make comments that reveal a monocultural point of view and challenge the ICC message. We will give tips for preparing for such responses and developing the resources to deal with them effectively.

November 18: Integrating intercultural perspective into all levels of language courses

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Presenters: Join Tatjana Babic Williams and Annalisa Mosca (Purdue University)

In this webinar, the participants will learn the basics of how to implement a systematic ICC perspective at all levels of language instruction by using the principles of backward design to select the level-specific learning outcomes, forms of assessment, and experiential activities. We will engage the audience in an ICC activity (or IC Lab) targeting openness, used at the novice level. We will also provide concrete examples for integration of ICC activities into intermediate and advanced language curricula. The participants will be introduced to the HubICL, a science gateway for interculturalists, where they can find and share resources.

March 23: Assessing and Developing Intercultural Competence Webinar

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Presenters: Dr. Cindy Jiang (OIA), Dr. Janice M. Aski (French and Italian), Dr. April Weintritt (French and Italian), Ohio State University

In this webinar, we will report on a longitudinal study on the development of Intercultural Competence (ICC) in students enrolled in the elementary Italian language sequence (IT1101-1103). We will begin by describing how the training interventions were incorporated into each course, what the interventions, the in-class debriefing discussions, and the post-intervention reflections looked like, as well as how students were tested on this work. This will be followed by a presentation on how instructors responded to the reflections and the exam responses and a brief discussion on how instructor training on inclusive teaching will help instructors manage these delicate interactions. Finally, we will report on how data for the longitudinal study was collected and assessed and the results of this study in terms of the impact of the ICC interventions on students’ ICC development.

Jhumpa Lampiri Video Series

Jhumpa Lahiri Video Series


Professor of Italian Janice Aski worked closely with McGraw Hill and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Jhumpa Lahiri, to create a video series about how learning a new language helps us to develop the skills we need to thrive in our interconnected world.

View the full video series here

Spring 2020 Article on Intercultural Competence in Italica

Janice Aski and April Weintritt: "New Messaging and Intercultural Competence Training in Response to Falling Enrollments in World Languages"

Abstract: The trend in declining enrollments in world language courses demands investigation into likely causes and thoughtful solutions to resolve the crisis. We explore common negative attitudes form the general public toward world language study, and conclude that frustration stems from speaking proficiency as the perceived sole measure of success – a skill that takes time to achieve and may be lost without consistent practice.We propose new messaging that highlights the development of intercultural competency that evolves by interacting in full-immersion language courses and through explicit instruction in the attitudes and qualities of the interculturally competent global citizen. Suggestions for implementation at the course, program, university and community levels are provided.

From Language and Culture to Intercultural Learning

Janice Aski (FRIT) and Cindy Jian (Office of International Affairs) present their ongoing research on modifying the curriculum of the Italian 1101-1103 sequence by adding explicit instruction on intercultural competence.