Málfríður - 15.03.2005, Blaðsíða 26

Málfríður - 15.03.2005, Blaðsíða 26
26 MÁLFRÍÐUR - The commitment to life-long language learning, accepting that it is unlikely that schools can pre- dict exactly which languages their students are going to need, and that therefore the aim should be to train them to become good language learners, capable of acquiring language skills based on their own needs as they meet them. - The idea that language study offers opportuni- ties to acquire independence and autonomy as learners, that it can be learnt in ways which encourage cooperation and other social values. (Heyworth, 2003) The first aim calls for an integration of teaching about cultural similarities and differences into the subject matter of language learning. It goes beyond the kind of stereotypes often presented in language courses such as the ‘strict German’ or the ‘eccen- tric Englishman’. It would include raising learners’ awareness of their own cultural preconceptions and identity, while learning to appreciate other ways of looking at the world. The second aim entails changing the focus of language teaching so that the objective is not just to teach a particular language, but to train learners to become good language learners, capable of assessing their language needs and being aware of language learning strategies that suit them best. Examples of language needs could range from survival skills for travel to advanced reading skills for academic purposes. The final aim is coupled with the belief that lan- guage learning is a powerful factor in intellectual development, encouraging open-mindedness and flexibility, and contributing to the development of other skills. Learning a language provides learn- ers with opportunities to take responsibility for their own learning through self-reflection and auto- nomous learning, if the approaches are effectively used in the learning process. Increased attention is being given to reflective and autonomous learn- ing approaches in Europe as seen in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and the European Language Portfolio. A great deal of discussion and debate has been taking place in Europe about the future of language educa- tion and its important role in society. The following extract is taken from a policy paper produced for the Council of Europe in the Guide for the Development of Language Education Policies in Europe, 2003: The Council of Europe and its member States have taken the position that it is the promotion of linguistic diversity which should be pursued in language education policy. For in addition to mobility, intercomprehension and economic development, there is the further important aim of maintaining the European cultural heritage, of which linguistic diversity is a significant constitu- ent. This means then that language teaching must be seen as the development of a unique individ- ual linguistic competence (‘knowing’ languages whichever they may be) and also as education for linguistic tolerance. This policy is reflected in broad aims of language teaching currently being discussed in Europe. - The development of European citizenship, with an educated European understanding several languages, able to study and travel in many countries, knowledgeable about and with respect for many different nationalities and national or ethnic cultures Samuel Lefever er lektor við Kennaraháskóla Ís - lands og fjallar í grein sinni um hlutverk tungu- málakennslu í fjölmenn- ingarlegri Evrópu fram- tíðarinnar. Samuel Lefever Samuel Lefever, lektor við Kennaraháskóla Íslands The role of language teaching – looking to the future



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