The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Enhancement of Intercultural Awareness through Project-Based Training

Sanita Grasmane, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (Latvia)

Daina Grasmane, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (Latvia)


When interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds, intercultural awareness matters a lot. Its importance is evident in education, training and international work environment. It is a component of intercultural competence, including knowledge, attitude and cross-cultural skills. Having analysed diverse theoretical approaches to the concept of intercultural awareness, the authors of this article conclude that intercultural awareness can be defined as understanding of one’s own and other cultures, and, in particular, differences and similarities between them. For enhancing intercultural awareness of learners, several educational projects were initiated by S. Grasmane. The themes and content proposed by her were based on learners’ needs identified in her survey (Grasmane S., Grasmane D., 2011). The main fields of interest were found to be: architecture, fashion, culinary, audio-visual arts and history of France. Training followed through annual voluntary educational projects, and, for example, such themes as “French cuisine as science and art”, “French fashion and society”, “Youth in Latvia and Francophone countries” were addressed. The pedagogical approaches used were: project-based learning, interdisciplinary and communicative approaches. Intercultural awareness was chosen as the main construct for training. Content of training was based on theoretical literature on diverse aspects of culture, history and education of Francophone countries, knowledge of experts from France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and Latvia. The French and Canadian Embassies also contributed by presentations on cultural expressions and values of their countries. Teachers from the participating schools made project teams willing to participate in the activities. The teamwork of schools was coordinated by D. Grasmane. The implementation of project activities resulted in annual thematic events dedicated to Francophone cultures. To identify gains obtained by participants, who had taken part in at least 2 projects, an empirical study was carried out in 2020. For that purpose, semi-structured telephone interviews were used. Opinions of project participants from LLU, 3 secondary schools from Jelgava, and 1 secondary school from Dobele were analysed. The main gains of learners were: developed understanding of and respect for Francophone cultures, possibilities to develop and demonstrate their cross- cultural, artistic, presentation, teamwork, foreign language, and self-management skills. The teaching staff had also several gains: networks among schools formed or strengthened, contacts with embassies established, and knowledge on francophone cultures deepened.

Keywords: intercultural awareness, project-based training, culture of francophone countries.


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  • Grasmane, S. and Grasmane, D. (2011). LLU Students` Interest in and Awareness of France: Analysis of Research Findings. LLU Sociālo zinātņu fakultātes raksti I, Jelgava: LLU, pp.71-77. ISBN: 978-9984-48-041-1; ISSN: 1691-9920.
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