Language is a tool for thought and communication. It is also a cultural and aesthetic means commonly shared among a people to make better sense of the world they live in. Learning to use language effectively enables learners to acquire knowledge, to express their identity, feelings and ideas, to interact with others, and to manage their world. It also provides learners with a rich, powerful and deeply rooted set of images and ideas that can be used to make their world other than it is; better than it is; clearer than it is. It is through language that cultural diversity and social relations are expressed and constructed, and it is through language that such constructions can be altered, broadened and refined.

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Learning a language should enable learners to: • acquire the language skills required for academic learning across the curriculum; • listen, speak, read/view and write/present the language with con_ dence and enjoyment. These skills and attitudes form the basis for life-long learning; • use language appropriately, taking into account audience, purpose and context; • express and justify, orally and in writing, their own ideas, views and emotions con_ dently in order to become independent and analytical thinkers; • use language and their imagination to _ nd out more about themselves and the world around them. This will enable them to express their experiences and _ ndings about the world orally and in writing. • use language to access and manage information for learning across the curriculum and in a wide range of other contexts. Information literacy is a vital skill in the ‘information age’ and forms the basis for life-long learning; and • use language as a means for critical and creative thinking; for expressing their opinions on ethical issues and values; for interacting critically with a wide range of texts; for challenging the perspectives, values and power relations embedded in texts; and for reading texts for various purposes, such as enjoyment, research, and critique.

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