The study and learning of different languages is fundamental to international and intercultural education; students gain a unique perspective on diversity by learning to operate within a different symbolic system. This goal is reflected in those below, but views them in their entirety: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Students who are able to express themselves in a foreign language and understand it without needing to translate are in fact entering into this different system and necessarily develop Knowledge, Abilities, and Values in doing so, since we use the language of study both in and outside of class.
We work towards this primary goal in four ways:
a. Students learn to communicate more fully with people whose language and culture are different from their own by developing competence in the five language areas (understanding, reading, speaking, writing, and culture). This goal is related to Abilities (communication) and is further developed in our upper-level grammar, composition, and conversation courses, as well as the immersion/study abroad experience required of all majors.
b. Students learn to better understand the relationship between human cognition, social behavior, language structure, and language use, and to apply the resulting skills to the study of any language. This goal is related to Knowledge (breadth in recognition of diversity, depth in understanding of how language works structurally, socially, and culturally), Ability (inquiry, communicating in culturally appropriate ways) and Values (responding to ethical challenges) and is particularly highlighted in our courses dealing with language for special purposes and our linguistics courses.
c. Students develop analytical skills and aesthetic appreciation in the study of written texts, including literature, thereby increasing their awareness of the diversity of human culture through encounters with and practice in non-Anglophone ways of thinking. This goal develops breadth and depth of Knowledge (significance of major intellectual landmarks of human history, diversity of peoples and societies), an Ability to engage in inquiry and to reason insightfully, and the ability to understand and appreciate various types of literature (communication).
d. Students broaden their understanding of other cultures, reflect upon their own, and better appreciate the interaction between language and cultural expression. This goal develops breadth and depth of Knowledge, especially in major intellectual and artistic landmarks, and diversity of peoples, as well as Values in dealing with the ethical challenges confronting the world as seen from the point of view of other cultures. Further development of these skills occurs in the immersion/study abroad experience and the Senior project.