General Competences

Development of general competences – such as e.g. self-competence and social competence – does not occur in isolation from that of other competences, and is accordingly an important concern during early foreign language learning.

In the context of any early foreign language programme, efforts should be made to foster the development of the following general competences:
  • Self-competence: By way of achievements and insights gained during acquisition of a foreign language, the child enhances his sense of self, learns to assess and esteem himself and his personal role inside a group, and develops the courage to take action.
  • Social competence: Sound self-assessment leads to a just perception of the other group members. The child perceives the others as individuals in their own right, learns to value each of them individually, works as part of a team, develops a we-consciousness.
  • Affective competence: In daily contact with others, the child learns to express feelings and to recognise conflicts and problems, and also comes to know the routes that may lead to the solution of a problem.
  • Motor competence: Physical movement during the learning process is a fundamental childhood need, enhances receptiveness, and fosters the child’s motor development.
  • Cognitive competence: The foreign language becomes a medium of communication, less of an end in itself. Foreign language content items prompt reflective thought and enhance memory performance. This competence develops at earliest when a child has reached the age of about ten.
  • Creative competence: Unfamiliar sounds and symbols, and new and unaccustomed content, arouse pleasure, stimulate curiosity, open up new ideas, and prompt the child to test out new approaches.
  • The competence of close attention: new influences sensitise the child to our immediate surroundings, to our environment, to the needs and necessities to which other human beings are subject. The competence of close attention leads to due recognition and respect, and also to trust.

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