The following show the relationship between World Languages and Cultures and the SLO at TWU:

Knowledge and its application

Language study embraces multiple areas of knowledge, imparts multiple skills, and provides a broad foundational knowledge of human culture with many applications in the areas of oral and written communication. Through language, literature, and cultural courses, students acquire knowledge of both language itself and of the people whose language they are learning, including notions of history, geography, culture, and social issues. They gain an enhanced awareness of civilization in general and of the ideas that have shaped societies. Their minds are sharpened as they learn to assimilate often complex grammatical principles and grasp new thought patterns, while developing both imitative and intuitive expression. Theory and praxis, discipline and creativity, structure and spontaneity all come to bear upon the process of learning a new language. As they advance, students begin to think critically, analyze texts, and interpret what they are reading, seeing, and hearing, while discussion, debate, and oral presentations heighten the skills of personal interaction.

Cognitive complexity

Language study has many functions. It can be introduced as a thought process (a means to formulate and express ideas), a linguistic process (through the study of language structures), a communicative process (both written and oral), a creative process (through the study of literature, music, film, etc.), and a critical process (through various forms of literary and cultural analysis). All modern world language courses introduce the four basic skills of language learning: aural comprehension, written comprehension, speaking, and writing. In advanced courses, students hone their writing skills by analyzing and responding to the serious questions raised in literature and other texts.

The study of world literature introduces students to cultures and peoples in a way no other medium can. Literature reveals the heart of a people, including its memories and aspirations, triumphs and failures, hopes and fears, and above all, its spiritual needs. It enables students to transcend their own reality and become engaged with those of another world, encountering writers of different times and places who challenge them to examine life in new ways. When given from a Christian perspective, world literature courses provide the means of understanding the spiritual and social conditions of another people, of grappling with philosophies and worldviews that have shaped our world, and of seeing the significance of a biblical worldview in comparison to other ways of looking at life. All in all, world literature opens the door to great authors, literary movements, cultures, and civilizations.

Inter- and intra-personal wellness

Language study is about communication and relating to those around us. It introduces students to notions of inclusiveness, respect for the other, compassion, and the need to have a broader picture of the world than that of our own culture. Students learn the importance of reaching out to others by learning their language, rather than expecting them to go the extra mile in learning ours. They learn to embrace the stranger, and discover that we can learn from others as much as they can learn from us. They come to realize that the hard work of learning a language can actually become an expression of love that brings about mutual enrichment and appreciation, thus enhancing their own well-being as well as that of others.

Spiritual Formation

Gaining a deeper understanding of others through an understanding of their language and culture allows students to reach out to ethnicities around them in Christian love. Through language study, they acquire a practical tool for communicating beyond their own borders, even as Christian language instructors strive to prepare them both linguistically and spiritually to meet the challenges of another culture. Language study can and should become a complement to every other discipline, precisely because of Christ’s command to take the gospel into the whole world (implying the world beyond our own language group). Language courses help equip the whole person, enabling students to go out into the world and serve in different fields, according to the Lord’s calling, with a concrete means of relating to others.

Students should also be able to grow in their faith through the discussion and analysis of literary themes and topics which challenge them spiritually and cause them to examine their ideas about life, as compared to those encountered in the texts they read.

Social responsibility and global engagement

The language offerings in our department are designed to prepare graduates for the realities of the continuously shrinking global community and the multi-ethnic Canadian society. Each of our languages is significant not only because of the population it represents, but also because of the influence it exerts beyond the borders of the country or countries where it is the mother tongue. This influence may be seen in the areas of culture, politics, science, economics, faith, and elsewhere. Students who have studied languages will be better prepared to engage in meaningful and practical forms of cross-cultural communication and service. The linguistic, cultural, and spiritual formation afforded by language study will enable them to meet the challenges and people they encounter with an attitude of respect, understanding, and inclusiveness. Eve introductory courses will further that goal, although advanced language study will improve students’ ability to serve in government and diplomatic circles, the professional world, various social and cultural contexts, service projects, and missions, where direct communication is essential. Knowledge of other languages and cultures is truly the mark of a global citizen, and combined with a Christian perspective, will allow students to have a significant impact on the world.

Leadership

The various components of language study contribute to the intellectual and practical formation of leaders who think globally and fulfill Christ’s commission by taking their skills around the world. Language students will learn to communicate well, articulating their own thoughts while remaining open to those of others, both essential qualities of leadership. They will better understand the world and adapt to other cultures. Through learning to appreciate not only language but also speakers of other languages, they will be better qualified as leaders to show the heart of Christ, conveying humility, meekness, and love, rather than superiority (including language superiority).

Those who become leaders in the political arena will be better equipped by acquiring another language, particularly in Canada where we have two official languages. The ability to use and understand more than one language will also prepare students for leadership in international work. Those who decide to teach World Languages, as many students do, will have the privilege in turn of helping shape young minds from a godly perspective, thus preparing a new generation of leaders. No matter what their field of expertise, students’ ability to lead will only be enhanced as they acquire a practical knowledge of another language.