Reaping the benefits of cultural diversity: Classroom cultural diversity climate and students’ intercultural competence

Miriam Schwarzenthal, Maja K. Schachner, Linda P. Juang, Fons J.R. van de Vijver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Culturally diverse schools may constitute natural arenas for training crucial intercultural skills. We hypothesized that a classroom cultural diversity climate fostering contact and cooperation and multiculturalism, but not a climate fostering color-evasion, would be positively related to adolescents’ intercultural competence. Adolescents in North Rhine-Westphalia (N = 631, Mage = 13.69 years, 49% of immigrant background) and Berlin (N = 1,335, Mage = 14.69 years, 52% of immigrant background) in Germany reported their perceptions of the classroom cultural diversity climate and completed quantitative and qualitative measures assessing their intercultural competence. Multilevel structural equation models indicate that contact and cooperation, multiculturalism, and, surprisingly, also color-evasion (as in emphasizing a common humanity), were positively related to the intercultural competence of immigrant and non-immigrant background students. We conclude that all three aspects of the classroom climate are uniquely related to aspects of adolescents’ intercultural competence and that none of them may be sufficient on their own.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • color-evasion
  • contact
  • intercultural competence
  • multiculturalism
  • school climate

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