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EPALE - Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe

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Adults’ need for foreign language competence as a factor of well-being: a comparative study of Latvia and Lithuania’s cases

Language: EN
Document available also in: LT

Posted by Jurgita MELAIKIENE

The object of the presented article is the communicative competence of adults as a factor of their well-being. The issues of adults‘quality of life and well-being are discussed in the context of Lithuania and Latvia‘s economic development. The quality of life as well as human well-being in Latvia and Lithuania is improved with the emergence of new possibilities and opportunities after the economic crisis. On the one hand, the foreign language competence is desirable and indeed necessary for tackling these possibilities and opportunities. Presently all European countries have to meet the requirement for foreign language competence. The rapid process of convergence of EU countries emphasizes foreign language competence as the most important means of acknowledgement with and integration to cultures of other countries.

On the other hand, foreign language incompetence is argued to be the factor that has a negative impact on economic, political, social well-being of adults. Development of adults’ foreign language competence should be based on consistent research of adults needs. However, in Lithuania as well as in Latvia there is a lack of systemic research that would disclose the context of adults’ demands for the development of communicational competence. Moreover, there is a lack of comparative research between Baltic countries in the field of adults needs for foreign languages. Therefore, the aim of the present research is to compare adults’ needs in use of foreign languages in Latvia and Lithuania. The meaning of the key concepts of need and needs analysis is studied. Moreover, the study shows how the steps of the process are related: defining needs analysis → empirical study within multicultural environments → conclusions. The empirical study was carried out in 2014. Respondents provided their answers to the questions related to their needs for foreign language competence.

Comparative study as a qualitative research design was employed. The sample included 50 adult respondents from Latvia and 50 adult respondents from Lithuania.

The study results demonstrate that the adults’ needs in use of foreign languages are heterogeneous, and the adults in both Latvia and Lithuania put the emphasis on use of foreign languages for their working activities and employment opportunities. Foreign language competence is important as a means for communication with external world and acknowledgement with other cultures. Foreign language competence serves as a bridge to successful adaptation in a modern society. Therefore it is defined as a factor that presupposes social, political and economic well-being.

Resource Author(s): 
Julija Melnikova
Jelena Zascerinska
Publication Date:
Tuesday, 25 March, 2014
Language of the document:
Type of resource: 
Studies and Reports
Country:
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