Ancient Greek philosophers studied and analyzed the world around them using logic and reason and that is the way they taught their disciples. In that manner, learning was a very active process based on reasoning, something achieved through language. Heavens know how, through the years, the educational task was transformed into a procedure of transmitting knowledge from the ones who knew, to the ones that didn’t know, the type of “spoon feeding” teaching we all have known.
More recently, we have been blowing our trumpets about critical thinking, reflective judgement and fostering independent reasoning as a new way of teaching, when in reality this is how it was done by Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
If we consider that one of the biggest challenges of education is instructing to think in a logical manner, we must recognize that teaching a foreign language is a very adequate way to develop knowledge and build culture, since we effect our thinking through language.
Sometime not far ago, the teaching of a foreign language was relegated to an accessory position, not contending with the “important” courses that “did impart crucial contents” to fill the intellectual backpack of the students.
It is time we realize that a language, native o foreign, is the vehicle to teach all courses and promote the cultural baggage of learners, as well as developing their thinking abilities. If language teachers don’t realize this and foreign language instructors do not see the vast possibilities of using the language as an instrument of learning anything and expanding cultural horizons, they may as well be replaced by cyber applications.