English is a universal language. When we meet people from other countries, at home or abroad, we need English for communication. English is used in films, literature, songs, sports, trade, products, science and technology, and through these areas many English words and expressions have found their way into our own languages. When we want information on something of private or professional interest, we often search for it in English. In addition, English is increasingly used in education and as a working language in many companies.
To succeed in a world where English is used for international communication, it is necessary to be able to use the English language and to have knowledge of how it is used in different contexts. Thus, we need to develop a vocabulary and skills in using the systems of the English language, it`s phonology orthography, grammar and principles for sentence and text construction and to be able to adapt the language to different topics and communication situations. This involves being able to distinguish between oral (spoken) and textual (written) styles and formal and informal styles. Moreover, when using the language for communication we must also be able to take cultural norms and conventions into consideration.
Language learning occurs while encountering a diversity of texts, where the concept of text is used in the broadest sense of the word. It involves oral and written representations in different combinations and a range of oral and written texts from digital media. When we are aware of the strategies that are used to learn a language, and strategies that help us to understand and to be understood, the acquisition of knowledge and skills becomes easier and more meaningful. It is also important to establish our own goals for learning, to determine how these can be reached and to assess the way we use the language. Learning English will contribute to multilingualism and can be an important part of our personal development.
In addition to language learning, the subject of English shall contribute to providing insight into the way people live and different cultures where English is the primary or the official language. The subject of English shall provide insight into how English is used as an international means of communication. Learning about the English-speaking world and the increasing use of English in different international contexts will provide a good basis for understanding the world around us and how English developed into a world language. Literary texts in English can instil a lifelong joy of reading and a deeper understanding of others and of oneself. Oral, written and digital texts, films, music and other cultural forms of expression can further inspire personal expressions and creativity.
Thus, English as a school subject is both a tool and a way of gaining knowledge and personal insight. It will enable the pupils to communicate with others on personal, social, literary and interdisciplinary topics. The subject shall help build up general language proficiency through listening, speaking, reading and writing, and provide the opportunity to acquire information and specialised knowledge through the English language. Development of communicative language skills and cultural insight can promote greater interaction, understanding and respect between persons with different cultural backgrounds. Thus, language and cultural competence promote the general education perspective and strengthen democratic involvement and co-citizenship.
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