We should like to offer our thoughts as they emerged during the Gulliver project, and invite colleagues to attempt such an experiment.
1. Intercultural skills or language skills?
Learning a foreign language at school means learning to communicate and understand one another. Language lessons should enable pupils to make contact with the present-day language and its socio-cultural environment. The foreign language is no longer a set of rules but a medium of communication.
Use of the Internet appears to be a good tool. The forum offers in addition the opportunity for real exchanges on topics which fall both within the school framework and within pupils’ spheres of interest.
Forum work fits perfectly into the content of educational programmes based on the Common European Framework of Reference, because it enables pupils to communicate with each other, to discover not only the culture of others but also their own culture, and to develop their linguistic proficiency. Feedback from the majority of colleagues taking part in the Gulliver project confirms this positive aspect of forum work. The difficulties encountered are ascribable to curriculum rigidity, technical snags and the elementary language level due to pupils’ age, especially if the number of hours available for language lessons is very limited. In no case, however, was the work completely abandoned.