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Foreign Language Education in Lebanon: A Context of Cultural and Curricular Complexities

Author(s): Nahla Nola Bacha | Rima Bahous

Journal: Journal of Language Teaching and Research
ISSN 1798-4769

Volume: 2;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 1320;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Lebanon | multilingualism | multiculturalism | language and education | languages in Lebanon | EFL/ESL

Knowing more than one or two languages has always been a natural consequence of cultural exchange. Thus educational institutions the world over have placed teaching/learning of languages high on their agendas as they find the need for their students to be competitive in the global career arena. The communication among different cultures and the efforts of education have added to the multi lingual/culture of many countries. However, the growth of this multilingualism/multiculturalism is not without its questions concerning complexities involved in what attitudes do the learners hold towards learning languages, which languages should be taught and whether these languages would ‘complex’ the learners in finding their own native language ‘inferior’. This study examines these complexities in Lebanon, a country long known for its multi lingual/cultural makeup, Specifically, the paper gives an overview of the cultural influences in the country over the past century and how this was responsible for the adoption of the foreign languages, mainly French and English, that coexist in the country today along with Arabic, the native language. The paper focus on the consequent educational trends in teaching/learning languages in noting the new National Curriculum changes in the 1990’s after the civil war and how the policies were implemented at both the pre and tertiary sectors. Cultural, attitudinal, motivational and language acquisition factors are discussed in how the French medium and English medium schools accounted for them in their language curricula and how they impact learners’ language development. The researchers debate whether the teaching/learning of foreign languages may eventually lead to the ‘decline’ of the national language, the latter being a ‘complex’ for the many, which is a concern that most countries are facing these days.

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Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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