Learning an L2 at School not Primarily to Communicate in L2, but to Better Inform Oneself and Act in L1 in One's Country

Learning an L2 at School not Primarily to Communicate in L2, but to Better Inform Oneself and Act in L1 in One's Country
pp. 25-43 in: ACAR Ahmet (ed.), Training social actors in ELT [English Language Teaching], Ankara: Akademisyen Kitabevi A.Ş., 231 p.
PUREN_2021j-en_Learning L2 not to first
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Abstract by the editor of the book


In his second chapter, Learning an L2 at school not primarily to communicate in L2, but to better inform oneself and act in L1 in one's country, Puren deals with the issue of the relevance of social action-oriented approach for ELT (English language teaching) in Turkey, which has implications for other countries like Turkey, where people do not mainly live and work together in a foreign language. Puren, first of all, criticizes the fact that in the communicative approach, communication is considered both as the means and the goal, and considers that it is necessary to move from this paradigm of communication to the paradigm of action, in which communication is only a means at the service of action. Thus, he argues that “in a school teaching of an L2, the objective of communication must be rationally weighted in relation to the general finalities and objectives of the educational system and in relation to the real needs of society in terms of real uses of the L2, even if this weighting is a matter of concern for those responsible for the educational policy of each country”. In line with this observation, he contends that “the most frequent information needs in a foreign language, in Turkey as elsewhere, are those that are satisfied at a distance by means of consulting documents: the foreign language is mainly used to better inform oneself in one's own country”. He also argues that “learning an L2 at school can also be used to learn to ‘act better in one's country’, whether as a citizen or as a professional” since he considers the classroom, in the social action-oriented approach, as an “incubator of social competencies”, a critical stance against the communicative approach, which considers communication as the ultimate goal of foreign language teaching. (Full text online by king permission of editor: June 2, 2023.) Also available on ResearchGate: