Competences for democratic culture: An empirical study of an intercultural citizenship project in language pedagogy

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This article reports on a pedagogical intervention in foreign language teaching in higher education. It analizes the competences developed by Argentinian and UK-based students as they used Skype to design a leaflet that addressed a real world issue: the Argentinian military dictatorship and its manipulation of the 1978 Football World Cup. The data consists of students’ discussions of this highly disturbing human rights issue. A first level of analysis focused on identifying evidence of competences using the Council of Europe’s conceptual model of ‘competences for democratic culture’ (2016). In a second level of analysis, the data was categorized within the framework of Article 2.2 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (2011). This research study provides an empirical test of these two frameworks in the field of language education, an aspect that has not been investigated before. It also contributes to our understanding of the potential of intercultural citizenship projects in achieving the goals of human rights education in foreign language teaching. Results indicate the development of substantial competences for democratic culture defined in the Council of Europe’s model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-516
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
Issue number5
Early online date28 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Argentina
  • citizenship
  • competences for democratic culture
  • Council of Europe
  • human rights education
  • intercultural language learning and teaching
  • UK
  • United Nations

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