The aims of Foreign Language Teaching.
Aims are the first and most important consideration in any teaching. Hence the teacher should know exactly what his pupils are expected to achieve in learning his subject, what changes he can bring about in his pupils at the end of the course, at the end of the year, term, month, week, and each particular lesson. The changes the teacher must bring about in his pupils may be threefold: practical —pupils acquire habits and skills in using a foreign language; educational — they develop their mental abilities and intelligence in the process of learning the foreign language; сultural — pupils extend their knowledge of the world in which they live.
Practical aims. Language is a system (for exchanging thoughts and feelings) so that pupils will be able to use it more effectively in oral and written language, the teaching of a foreign language should result in the pupil's gaining one more code for receiving and conveying information; that is, in acquiring a second language for the same purpose as the native language: to use it as a means of communication.
Learning a living language implies using the language of sounds, that is, speaking. Scientific research gives a more profound insight into the problem. It is not so much the ability to speak that is meant here but rather the oral treatment; in other words, the language of sounds, not of graphic signs (which is usually the case when a dead language is studied) should serve as basic means of teaching.
Attention should be given mainly to practice in hearing, speaking, and reading. Thus pupils must achieve a level in their knowledge of the language which will enable them to further develop it at an institute or in their practical work. The achievement of practical aims in foreign language teaching makes possible the achievement of educational and cultural aims.
Educational aims. Learning a foreign language is of great educational value. Through a new language we can gain an insight into the way in which words express thoughts, and so achieve greater clarity and precision in our own communications. Even at the most elementary level learning a foreign language teaches the cognizance of meaning, furnishes a term of comparison that gives us an insight into the quality of language. When learning a foreign language the pupil understands better how language functions and this brings him to a greater awareness of the functioning of his own language.
Since language is connected with thinking, through foreign language study we can develop the pupil's intellect. Teaching a foreign language helps the teacher develop the pupils' voluntary and involuntary memory, his imaginative abilities, and will power. Indeed, in learning a new language the pupil should memorize words, idioms, sentence patterns, structures, and keep them in long-term memory ready to be used whenever he needs them in auding, speaking, reading, and writing. Teaching a foreign language under conditions when this is the only foreign language environment, is practically impossible without appealing to pupils’ imagination. The lack of real communication forces the teacher to create imaginary situations for pupils, to speak about making each pupil determine his language behaviour as if he were in such situations.
Teaching a foreign language contributes to the linguistic education of the pupil, the latter extends his knowledge of phonic, graphic, structural, and semantic aspects of language through contrastive analysis of language phenomena. In teaching a foreign language the teacher is called upon to inculcate in pupils the scientific outlook, to prepare the young people for an active participation in production and other types of useful activities.
Teachers of foreign languages make their contribution to the education of pupils, to their ideological education. Their role in the upbringing of the younger generation cannot be overestimated.
Cultural aims.Learning a foreign language makes the pupil acquainted with the life, customs and traditions of the people whose language he studies through visual material (such as post cards with the views of towns, countryside, and people; filmstrips, for example, "Great Britain", "What Tourists Can See in London", "Disney Land" films) and reading material dealing with the countries where the target language is spoken. Foreign language teaching should promote pupils’' general educational and cultural growth by increasing their knowledge about foreign countries, and by acquainting them with progressive traditions of the people whose language they study. Through learning a foreign language the pupil gains a deeper insight into the nature and functioning of language as a social phenomenon.
It should be said that practical, educational, and cultural aims are intimately related and form an inseparable unity. The leading role belongs to practical aims, for the others can only be achieved through the practical command of the foreign language.
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