ERIC Number: ED334858
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr
Re-Examining Traditional Values in Foreign Language Teaching.
Rahilly, Leonard J.
Not long ago, foreign languages were taught in schools and colleges not for practical use or cultural understanding, but for intellectual discipline, understanding of English grammar and syntax, vocabulary enrichment, or to allow reading of foreign literature. The space race and development of jet travel changed attitudes toward language learning and teaching methodology. An informal survey of 43 university foreign language students in 2 classes investigated motivations for studying a language. Many ranked personal interest first. Cultural understanding was ranked first by a smaller group, and six students gave usefulness in a future career as a primary reason for language study. Other reasons included usefulness in graduate school, fulfilling a requirement, desire to be cultured, or interacting with relatives or friends. Literature study was not ranked first by anyone, and travel was also relatively low on the scale of importance. World events and the teaching profession have focused on languages as a means of communication. The profession may be neglecting traditional reasons for language study and not reaching students who might take foreign languages for some of those reasons. The importance of long-term language study for proficiency in all language skills and the role of language in cultural understanding also should be emphasized. (MSE)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Eastern Michigan University Conference on Languages and Communications for World Business and the Professions (9th, Ypsilanti, MI, April 5-7, 1990).