|Author(s)||Pitsou, C., Koutiva, A. & Spinthourakis, J-A.|
|Editor||P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Europe's Future: Citizenship in a Changing World|
The European Union has published official documents to promote the creation of ‘The European citizen’. The key to implementing this concept lies within education. As a means of socializing, it is called upon to respond to current global and European challenges and needs by educating future teachers prepared to successfully deal with the current social reality and to contribute to the implementation of ‘the European citizen concept’ (Hollins 1993; Liliou 2009). For this reason we argue that national Departments of Primary Educations’ (DPE) Programmes of Study (PS) need to be restructured to supply teachers with skills, knowledge and practices required, initially, to reexamine their own stereotypical beliefs on diversity (Larke,1990) and their competency to help create a citizen who carries both his/her national traits and global-European ones. This paper examines through a) content analysis the contribution of a DPE’s PS to the intercultural competence and preparation of future European educators; and b) 69 questionnaires, the extent to which fourth year students, participating in traineeship lessons, feel competent and prepared to face challenges of current multicultural classrooms within the context of the European citizen. The preliminary results suggest that, although the PS includes the corresponding cognitive fields that promote respect towards supranational traits and attitudes, seniors do not "feel fully and properly equipped" to face these challenges. The question arising and is discussed asks whether the theory/practice gap can close, and offers related suggestions. Keywords: Intercultural competence, future European teachers, Department of Primary Education, Programme of Study.