ERIC Number: ED402789
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Proficiency Plus: The Next Step. ERIC Digest.
The ability to communicate in a foreign language requires more than linguistic accuracy. To understand and be understood by others requires the ability to recognize cultural differences. For example, polite behavior in one language may not be the social equivalent in another language. In order to acquire cultural competence, students have to become familiar with the cognitive, affective, and behavioral facets of politeness. By building a cultural politeness mandate at every step in the acquisition of lexical and grammatical forms, the organizing principle of the language curriculum is redefined. This requires moving the learner from habitual learning to skilled learning. Rather than a grammatical or functional syllabus, a contextual syllabus should be considered through which learners can gradually acquire the ability to reflect on how the choice of language in spoken and written discourse defines and is determined by personal relationships, social situations, and cultural presuppositions. In Europe, as in the United States, the foreign language teaching profession is anxious to enhance the cross-cultural awareness of language teachers. Because there is much more to cultural competence than linguistic proficiency, the time has come to make students aware of what they are doing and of the power they have to contribute to or change the social context. The next step on the foreign language educational agenda is: Politeness--a cultural and social construct that requires cognitive and affective maturity, and the concomitant ability to make behavioral choices. (Author/JL)
Descriptors: Communicative Competence (Languages), Cultural Awareness, Cultural Differences, Curriculum Design, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Interpersonal Competence, Language Proficiency, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Teacher Education
ERIC/CLL, 1118 22nd Street N.W., Washington, DC 20037.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, Washington, DC.