Background: The purpose of this contribution is to invite you to contemplate the scope of foreign language classes in university settings: should we prepare competent tourists? Or teach professional or academic jargons? Or could we go beyond the learning to know and do towards the learning to be and live together, as the UNESCO educational commissions invite us to? In this latter sense, coaching-teaching towards scholarship programmes is one way to proceed.
Method: In the frame of MEXPROTEC -scholarship programme for Mexican engineering undergraduates to study in France- a candidates’ group (n=21) completed a strengths & virtues survey, PERMA and PANAS prior and after six classes on strengths and their use.
Results: These sessions led to significant increase in self-evaluation on citizenship, equity and critical thinking and decrease in gratitude, hope, vitality, love of learning, spirituality and sense of humor (p<0.05). Finally, when compared to an equivalent level non-scholarship language class in a prestigious urban private university (n=35), this group from a low-income rural university scored significantly higher on wisdom, courage and justice and lower on negative affect in both pre- and post-test.
Conclusion: These results suggest that foreign language teaching may go far beyond vocabulary and grammar with coaching-teaching.