The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) is a Council of Europe institution to which thirty-three countries currently subscribe. The ECML assists its member states in addressing challenges within their national education systems by:
The work of the Centre focuses primarily on priority areas in member states such as migration and language education, plurilingual education, mobility and intercultural learning, new media in language education, evaluation and assessment, early language learning, content and language integrated learning, employment and languages. Teacher education is at the core of its work. ECML activities are complementary to those of the Council of Europe’s work related to the development of policies and planning tools in the field of language education and the Secretariat of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
Within the framework of its 4-year programmes, the Centre works together with ministries, language experts, national institutions and international language organisations. Through its programmes, the ECML provides a platform for gathering and disseminating information, stimulating discussion and training multipliers in matters related to language education. It also maintains Europe-wide networks for teacher trainers, researchers and educational administrators.
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Successful communication presupposes a good degree of social understanding and sharing of meaning and therefore participating in a community's life via another language necessitates not only an acceptable level of proficiency in that language but also an extended behavioural code. What kind of cultural set-backs do language learners face when visiting the target country, or even in interacting with native speakers of a language? What can we learn from the experience of such learners? The aim of this project was to tap into the experiences of seasoned foreign language learners and travellers for the collection of a database of anecdotes that symbolise the kind of intercultural failure faced by newcomers to a target culture. The database was launched on the ECML website in 2001 and a number of ECML workshop participants were invited to contribute anecdotes. In this publication the data collected is described and is used as an illustration for possible classroom activities.
Target group(s): teachers
Publication year: 2000
Antoinette Camilleri Grima
How strange! The use of anecdotes in the development of intercultural competence (EN)
Comme c'est bizarre! L’utilisation d’anecdotes dans le développement de la compétence interculturelle (FR)
Please use the following bibliographic reference if you choose to cite any part of this resource:
Grima Antoinette Camilleri (2000),
How strange! The use of anecdotes in the development of intercultural competence, Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg.
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Download the catalogue of the ECML programme outputs 2016-2019 "Languages at the heart of learning": English - French
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Collaborative community approach to migrant education - A virtual open course for educators 8187
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List of publications 1998-2016
Modern Languages (2012)
Programme glossary 2008-2011 "Empowering language professionals” (2013)