Building multilingual identity into intercultural understanding within language education

In the Australian context the idea of developing intercultural understanding within language education (languages such as French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and others) has been embedded within our curriculum documents for nearly 20 years in some states. Yet students’ engagement with being intercultural and their self-identities as multilingual can still be limited in this context. To enhance the building of intercultural understanding and the consideration of language learners as emerging multilinguals, I have developed a multilingual identity approach to intercultural stance in which multilingual identity intersects with intercultural language education. This approach synthesises the existing literature on identity, multilingual identity and intercultural understanding. The key intersections are identified as: the inter-relationship of language and culture, imagined identities, self-concept, feelings of belonging and consideration of self and others (reflexivity). In this talk I will discuss how such an approach might enhance language learning, intercultural understanding and student identity.