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Introduction to Languages

Languages contribute materially to the universal purposes of schooling and to the development of skills in thinking and reflection. They support the moral, social and economic initiation of young people into the culture and wider civilisation that surrounds them. Learning a language nurtures reflective, deep and creative thinking in specific ways, cultivates culturally distinctive fields of knowledge, and stimulates awareness of intellectual functioning. In unique ways, languages require learners to engage in self-reflection because effective communication in a new language requires the learner to move outside the norms, practices and acquired behaviours of their first language.

Languages infuse the entire curriculum with both taught and incidental insights into how knowledge is organised by different sociocultural communities, and introduce awareness of important distinctions in meaning, sound, and sound patterns, social arrangements, order and sequencing of information, categories and relations. These skills can directly enhance the general intellectual development of young people.

In learning a language, students develop communication skills and knowledge and come to understand social, historical, familial relationships and other aspects of the specific language and culture of the speakers of the language they are studying. Learners are also provided with the tools, through comparison and reflection, to understand language, culture and humanity in a broad sense. In this way, language learning contributes to the development of interculturally aware citizens, of increasing importance at a time of rapid and deep globalisation.

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