Foreign Language Studies in India: Some Critical Observations
This paper is concerned with the dilemma faced by foreign language studies. On the one hand, foreign language education has humanistic leanings and on the other it is increasingly tending to vocational skills. It argues that these two positions need not be seen in opposition. Anchored in a philological perspective, the paper takes stock of foreign language studies in India to elucidate the dilemma. It looks at the narrow vocational focus and increasing corporate culture brought into foreign language curricula and universities respectively. It proposes “transcultural competence” as the “humanistic learning objective”, to balance effectively the dilemma confronting foreign language learning. Given this objective, the paper talks of the identity of a foreign language teacher, who in the transcultural perspective is a mediator between cultures. In addition, the responsibility of a foreign language teacher is to help students not only to discover the foreign culture but
also to look at own culture/tradition afresh and to begin questioning one’s understanding of oneself all over again.
|Language and Language Teaching
|Azim Premji University and Vidya Bhavan Society