English is one of the most widespread foreign languages. It is used as a national language and is the language of communication between and amongst people with different mother tongues and different cultural backgrounds. The international news media and certain players in music, film and other cultural outlets often use English. Thus proficiency in English provides access to sources of information and to international culture and social life.
Insight into the history of the English-speaking countries is important for understanding the processes that account for the global spread of the English language and of Anglo-American culture. For centuries, Britain and the United States occupied a key position in world society, both politically and culturally. With these countries as a point of departure, the programme subject shall make it possible to understand key features of global issues in society and international current affairs.
Both in Norway and abroad, English is used within higher education, in the sciences and in working life. The ability to participate in social life and working life, both nationally and internationally, is becoming increasingly dependent on having a command of English at an advanced high level. Because English is used worldwide in all cultures, intercultural competence is a natural and necessary aspect of language skills. The programme subject can help increase one’s insight into other people’s living conditions, outlook on life and cultural expression, thus opening doors to the many countries and cultures that use English.
English is both a utilitarian subject and educationally universal. For the individual, having a good command of a language can bolster one’s self-confidence and sense of security and help one’s development in a variety of situations. English literature and other cultural expressions can be a wellspring of experience, satisfaction and personal growth. The programme subject’s broad approach to culture and society in the English-speaking world shall develop one’s skills in critical analysis and reflection.
The programme subject is wide and shall therefore provide multidisciplinary skills, in addition to language skills. The programme subject is unified; the various skills are integrated and are part of a context. A necessary part of the work with developing one’s English skills is to define one’s own language skills and develop learning strategies that can provide a platform for life-long language learning.
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