Intercultural Competence in Modern Society and Education – Empirical Study in Compulsory Education

Ana Šenjug Krleža


The importance of intercultural competence has been
recognized in educational systems of most countries in
Europe as well as in Croatia. The development of this
competence has been integrated into Croatian curricula in
compulsory education for more than a decade. Although the
development of intercultural competence has been primarily
the task of foreign languages teaching, it is now becoming
the goal of an increasing number of teaching subjects. This
fact is particularly apparent in the current curricular reform.
However, both social reality and previous research in this
area indicate deficits when it comes to achieving goals set by
educational documents. Therefore, an empirical study on a
sample of 366 students was conducted with the aim of
examining the development of intercultural competence
within compulsory education. The method of vignettes was
used to examine intercultural skills of elementary school
students (grades 4–8). Among other things, poor integration
of this competence in foreign language teaching was
identified. Furthermore, there is no significant improvement
in its development compared to previous research in this


compulsory education; intercultural competence; foreign language teaching; vignettes

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