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Intercultural Communicative Competence for TESL Instructors

Working with the project lead, the Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language (ATESL), the Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership conducted a research project focused on understanding current practices to integrate intercultural communicative competence (ICC) into ESL instruction, curriculum and professional development in Alberta. This project used the ATESL Adult ESL Curriculum Framework on Intercultural Communicative Competence to research ICC instructional practice in Alberta. The research included both full-time and part-time ESL programs in urban and rural centers across Alberta.  Results were shared through consultation meetings with ESL stakeholders to generate recommendations for future activities related to the integration of ICC into ESL practices in Alberta. 

Annual immigration to Alberta is steadily increasing from 2006 to 2010 (Alberta Immigration Progress Report, 2011). The top ten countries of origin for immigrant coming to Alberta in 2010 included Philippines, India, China, UK, USA, Nigeria, Pakistan, Germany, Mexico and South Korea. (Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education, 2011). The increasing cultural diversity in Alberta is reflected in an increased need for ESL instructors to develop intercultural communicative competence themselves and to develop expertise to teach intercultural communicative competence to learners. Language is a key gateway to integration for immigrants. Historically ESL instruction has not necessarily included content and instruction on how culture and language influence each other or how they influence effective communication in a multicultural context like the Canadian workplace. 


Research report with recommendations

Other project information
Project time frame February 2014 – February 2015
Project team
  • Dorte Weber
  • Yuji Abe
  • Cheryl Whitelaw
  • Todd Odgers
  • Kelly Steele
Project sponsor Alberta Human Services
Key project activities
  • Design and implementation of research project

  • Consultation with ATESL members on preliminary results

  • Dissemination and reporting of results.

Target audience English as a Second Language instructors and program coordinators
Number of people involved in the project

159 people involved including:

5 project team members

99 research participants

41 consultation session participants

14 ATESL Board members