An analysis of factors affecting teachers’ beliefs about interculturalism

International Journal of Applied Linguistics

Cultural diversity in the classrooms is a relatively recent phenomenon in Spain, but teachers and students alike have had to go through an adaptation to the new sociological situation brought about by the immigration wave ofthe last ten years. Schools, especially public ones, have incorporated a great number of students who were born and have spent most of their lives abroad, and who therefore bring a set of values, cultures and languages that may differ from the dominant ones in the local communities. This paperreports on the results obtained through a questionnaire focused on language learning and interculturalism issues and which was addressed to both in-service and pre-service secondary education teachers and implemented in two Spanish bilingual towns: Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Basque Country and Lleida in Catalonia. Although the participants agreed on the importance of intercultural education, differences were observed between in-service and pre-service teachers on a practical-idealistic dimension, and language teachers displayed more positive views towards interculturalism thanteachers of other subjects.