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As, throughout the Western world, the media tighten their grip on people’s lives, shaping their minds, modeling their conduct and changing their value system, the availability of effective defenses against abusive influences becomes an educational issue. This paper argues that foreign language teachers, like their colleagues in other disciplines, face a major challenge which requires them not just passively to take note of the nature and scope of negative effects but offensively to meet the challenge and devise strategies for cultural "survival“. It is suggested that the autonomy of young people and the inviolability of their minds can be safeguarded only if ego-defenses are strengthened which are apt to fend off the worst in seductive and manipulative media appeals. The paper proposes a four-step procedure for the development of a media competence which, among other faculties, activates defensive powers through a systematic "dismantling“ of fictional models and a rigorous exposure of their dubious ideologies. Its ultimate objective is to retrieve a humane world from the entrapments of an electronically engineered unreality that proves itself increasingly pathogenic.
The article presents an overview of (recent) research into the C-Test. Topics dealt with include: (language specific) modifications to the canonical C-Test format; development, analysis and scoring of C-Tests, the use of C-Tests for research and practical decisions; reliability, objectivity and economy; validity; computer software. Particular focus is on the central issue of validity. The author concludes that evidence from a large number of sources indicates that the C-Test measures primarily general language proficiency.