Cultural competence is so important in our increasingly globalised world. But how does language learning help? The answer lies in the different types of intelligence. Research on intelligence describes two types of intelligence and how they relate to language learning in adults. What he calls “practical intelligence” helps individuals understand information in their environment, including social signs – like being more streetwise.
Learning a language also means learning about different cultures. Students pick up cultural elements associated with the language during class, but also through immersion.
When students learn a language they develop new ways of understanding a culture by learning about cultural stereotypes. With the help of a teacher, students can practice critical thinking skills about stereotypes associated with different cultures, whether it is about food, appearance, or ways of talking.
New ways of working and social interaction make it even more important for us to understand people who are different and cope differently with the situation from us.