From Foreign Language Education to Education for Intercultural Citizenship: Essays and Reflections

Author: Michael Byram

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Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
210mm x 148mm

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This collection of essays and reflections starts from an analysis of the purposes of foreign language teaching and argues that this should include educational objectives which are ultimately similar to those of education for citizenship. It does so by a journey through reflections on what is possible and desirable in the classroom and how language teaching has a specific role in education systems which have long had, and often still have, the purpose of encouraging young people to identify with the nation-state. Foreign language education can break through this framework to introduce a critical internationalism. In a 'globalised' and 'internationalised' world, the importance of identification with people beyond the national borders is crucial. Combined with education for citizenship, foreign language education can offer an education for 'intercultural citizenship'.

I enjoyed reading this book. It promises to be a typically clear and compelling discussion of the institutional implications for adopting an intercultural approach to language teaching in European schools. It deserves to be read and debated widely.

It would be hard to deny the importance of Byram's excellent book. It is unique, because it views language teaching as a social and political activity and it gives new insights into the topic of foreign language education. The abundance of examples has a double merit in the book because, on the one hand, it helps in better understanding the topic and, on the other hand, it makes the book more interesting to read. Michael Byram's book is a worthwhile read and welcome addition to our body of knowledge on foreign language education. The book is of manageable size and scope and quite accessible to non-experts. At the same time, it is clearly worded, interesting, useful and opens new avenues for future research and study.

Linguist List 20.1850

Michael Byram is Professor of Education at Durham University, England. He studied French, German and Danish at King's College Cambridge, and wrote a PhD on Danish literature. He then taught French and German at secondary school level and in adult education in an English comprehensive school. Since being appointed to a post in teacher education at Durham in 1980, he has carried out research into the education of linguistic minorities, foreign language education and student residence abroad. His books include Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence (1997) and he is the editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning.  He is also an Adviser to the Council of Europe Language Policy Division.





1 Foreign Language Education in Context

2 Purposes for Foreign Language Education


3 Is Language Learning Possible at School?

4 The Intercultural Speaker – Acting Interculturally or Being Bicultural

5 Intercultural Competence and Foreign Language Learning in the Primary School

6 Analysis and Advocacy: Researching the Cultural Dimensions of Foreign Language Education


7 Nationalism and Internationalism in Language Education

8 Language Learning in Europe

9 Foreign Language Teaching as Political Action


10 Language Education, Political Education and Intercultural Citizenship

11 Education for Intercultural Citizenship

12 Policies for Intercultural Citizenship Education

13 Curricula for Intercultural Citizenship Education

14 Assessment and/or Evaluation of Intercultural Competence and Intercultural Citizenship




Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate
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