Building Intercultural
Teaching Skills

Zentrum Bildung -
Wirtschaftsschule KV Baden


The share of students from an immigrant background is steadily increasing in all departments of the vocational school “Wirtschaftsschule KV Baden“ (business, retail, pharma).

The numbers are especially high among those students completing programs with relatively low performance requirements.

The educational success of students from an immigrant background highly depends on the intercultural skills and sensitivity of their teachers.

Teachers often respond with insecurity to the ethnic-cultural heterogeneity in their classrooms – realities they have not been sufficiently prepared for.

Teachers sit on the fence of the politically hardened fronts when it comes to the issue of integration, a condition which is hindering or even preventing a reasonable dialogue when seeking pragmatic solutions.

Pilot Project: Training Initiative

The project aims at launching a training initiative to improve intercultural teaching skills, so that teachers are enabled to overcome the challenges they face in their daily school lives..

The project starts from the premise that schools, as well as society as a whole, have to deal with the clash of various cultures living and working together.

Vocational schools play a key role when it comes to the success or failure of integration.

The project aims at promoting intercultural teachings skills in a way that facilitates a resource-oriented and constructive management of multicultural classrooms..


In the early summer of 2016, the “Wirtschaftsschule KV Baden“ surveyed all their teachers as well as all first and second year students about the topic of integration. Data was analyzed and implications were made about the need to adapt training content.

Michèle Collenberg, one of the project managers and PhD student at the Institute of Business Education at the University of St. Gallen, is dealing with the question of how to effectively design a learning/teaching concept that aims at successfully developing intercultural teaching skills..

Project Progression

  1. Presentation of survey results and discussion of implications with teachers and students
  2. Conception of targeted teacher trainings
  3. Conduct of teacher training workshops
  4. Evaluation and further development of the concept (transfer)

Concept Draft

The concept draft is to be put to the test as a pilot project at the “Wirtschaftsschule Baden“.

The results will then serve as a basis for further development.

The draft includes the following components:

  1. Acquiring Cultural Sensitivity
    • Learning about the most common countries of origin
    • Dealing with various cultural and religious value systems and analyzing the related consequences on the classroom
    • Self-reflecting one’s own culture-boundedness

  2. Leadership Skills in Multicultural Classrooms
    • Dealing with specific roles as a teacher of multicultural classrooms
    • Learning and applying intercultural communication techniques

  3. Individual-Centered Pedagogical Skills
    • Considering intercultural topics in teaching concepts
    • Establishing personal rapport with students
    • Considering individual preconditions when planning, conducting and evaluating lessons

  4. Intercultural Conflict Management
    • Managing specific intercultural conflict situations
    • Countering discrimination and racism in the classroom

Project Results

The project results will be published with a focus on the training concept promote intercultural teaching skills.

Publications are (primarily) planned in various vocational training media, such as Panorama and SGAB.

The project proposal was initially presented at the 2017 education and headmasters’ symposium in Zug.


Project partner is the “Zentrumbildung Wirschaftsschule KV Baden“: Jürg Pfister, Headmaster of Vocational Training; Serdar Ursavas and Michèle Collenberg, Project Managers.

In 2018, the Hirschmann Foundation is funding the project with an amount of CHF 51,000