Developing language learners\' applied competence: language as a strategic resource in organisations

  • Willfred J Greyling Department of English and Classical Languages, University of the Free State, South Africa
Keywords: SA Ministry of Education, applied competence, strategic resource in organisations


SA Ministry of Education documentation clearly states that applied competence is a key construct (among many) to be pursued in education. Thus, the learner has to develop foundational competence (i.e. theoretical knowledge), practical competence (i.e. the practical application of knowledge), and reflexive competence (i.e. reflecting on the relationship between foundational and practical competencies) within an integrative framework. It is argued in this article that Hardy and Palmer\'s 1998 discourse-based management model is such a tool that can be used to develop language and other learners\' applied competence. The focus here is on a group of third-year university students enrolled for a course in discourse analysis for the professions. One of the primary outcomes of the course was to raise these language learners\' awareness of how language can be exploited as a strategic resource in managing organisations. Against the backdrop that language is a context-embedded vehicle for goal-directed communication, the study focused on learners\' knowledge of and skills in applying Hardy and Palmer\'s model in two contexts. First, learners were required to use the model in a post-hoc analysis of the HIV/AIDS awareness organisation, loveLife. The aim was to illustrate how the circuits of the model could be used to make sense of the discursive evidence on the organisation\'s web site. Second, on the basis of the preceding analysis, learners had to imagine and anticipate how they would use the model in pursuing change in loveLife. This a priori and future-orientated analysis had to be articulated in terms of the circuits of Hardy and Palmer\'s model.

Keywords: SA Ministry of Education, applied competence, strategic resource in organizations

Journal for Language Teaching Vol. 39(1) 2005: 81-97

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eISSN: 0259-9570