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Languages in the Australian curriculum:


Languages in the Australian curriculum: more of the same or different? Association of French Teachers of Victoria Melbourne, 22 July 2011 Angela Scarino – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Languages in the Australian curriculum:

Languages in the Australian curriculum more of
the same or different? Association of French
Teachers of Victoria Melbourne, 22 July
2011 Angela Scarino Research Centre for
Languages and Cultures University of South
Australia Email
  • An opening question
  • Context and process of development
  • Making the curriculum
  • The changes
  • An example
  • A return to the opening question and implications

An opening question
  • Is the shape of Languages in the Australian
    curriculum more of the same. or different?

Context and process of development
  • The Melbourne Declaration
  • languages included especially Asian languages
  • a national curriculum is signalled
  • Consultation on the draft Shape of the Australian
    Curriculum Languages
  • national forum (October 2010)
  • widespread consultation (January-April 2011)
  • revision process (April-July 2011)
  • Curriculum development
  • procedures and guidelines (? August 2011)
  • commencement of writing broad outline, then
    detail (? September onwards)
  • national consultation and trialling
  • next phase of writing, consultation, trialling,

Making the curriculum
The Australian, March 2, 2011
Making the curriculum
The Age June 29, 2011
Making the curriculum
The Australian, March 2, 2011
Making the curriculum - consultation feedback - 1
  • Key strengths
  • The strong positioning of languages within school
  • The development of language-specific curricula.
  • The strong positioning of Australian Languages.
  • Recognition of the diversity of language learners
    and pathways.
  • The rationale for learning languages.
  • Key concepts and understandings in learning
  • The aims of learning a language.
  • The nature of knowledge, skills and understanding
    in learning a language.
  • The discussion of general capabilities.

Making the curriculum - consultation feedback - 2
  • Key issues
  • Indicative hours.
  • Selection of languages and pathways for
  • The staging of language-specific curriculum
  • Home user learner category.
  • Reciprocating .
  • Expectations of the shape paper.
  • Implementation and policy issues e.g. national
    languages policy, teacher supply and professional
    development, eligibility.

Making the curriculum - consultation feedback - 3
Making the curriculum - consultation feedback - 4
Responses for French
  • 69 responses total 2150
  • Mainly from Victoria mainly individuals some
    associations (including AFTV)
  • 57 (independent school) 19 (catholic school)
    6 (government school)
  • Approximately 60 agreement

Responses for French key strengths
  • A great basis for language rationale and policies
    into the future.
  • The paper gives excellent reasons for learning
  • the emphasis on Australian languages as well as
    Asian languages is welcome but could be
    interpreted as an over-emphasis on these at the
    expense of other languages.
  • I really like the term reciprocating.

Responses for French key issues
  • Indicative hours
  • Need for compulsory languages till Year 9/10
  • the use of the term second language learners
    assumes a monolingual baseline
  • in its current form (the paper) does nothing to
    encourage students to continue learning
  • the paper outlines the challenges of promoting
    languages in order to increase student
    participation but it does little to provide
    incentives for this to happen
  • students should be better defined from the
  • Australian languages should be considered in a
    different paper
  • too broad and too demanding for the classroom
  • these three strands should not be seen as
    discrete why not?
  • will funding be guided by this?

Responses for French key issues (cont.)
  • we should consider adopting the Common European
  • assessment is it to be done in the L1?
  • the paper is lacking in solid reference to
    future skills needed by students
  • the AFTV suggests a larger number of (student)
  • More clarification of reciprocating required
  • providing a framework often seems to me to be
    a way of not saying what youre really going to
  • the content appears to be over-ambitious

Policy ? curriculum policy ? curriculum
  • Structuring the curriculum
  • learner background
  • time-on-task (intensity, continuity)
  • program-types
  • The substance of the curriculum
  • organisation of teaching and learning
  • language
  • language AND culture, learning, literacy,
    content/knowledge, identity ? within and across
    languages and cultures
  •  A monolingual or a plurilingual curriculum?

The changes
  • explicit statement that all languages are
  • language-specific curricula
  • different pathways for learning and
    differentiation of learner groups
  • recognition of various entry points
  • the allocation of indicative hours in the context
    of extreme variability in languages provision
  • avoids a narrowly-focussed instrumental view of
  • an expanded view of language
  • achievement standards as more appropriate in
    curriculum design than proficiency standards

Re-framing the languages curriculum beyond CLT
  • Difficult to define what it means to learn to
    know another language (Larsen-Freeman and Freeman
  • Communicative language teaching
  • a theoretical construct, a goal, an approach to
  • as interactive, transactional communication in
    the target language (isolated from social,
    historical, cultural contexts)
  • absence of cultural content(?)
  • differing positions questioning the
    appropriateness of the construct itself ?
    questioning the restrictive ways in which we have
    understood it
  • K-12 frameworks interface with constructs of
    proficiency and standards (Byrnes 2006, Kramsch
  • ? need to re/frame and expand the construct

Expanding the construct - 1
  • An expanding view of language language as
    personal, expressive how we want to be in a
    language (Shohamy)
  • Learning a language is not a monolingual activity
    as there are always at least two languages at
    play (Kramsch)
  • Language mediates learning learning to mean
  • Language is not only something that we use we
    are at home in language to learn a language is
    to learn an inheritance (Gadamer)

Expanding the construct - 2
View of language Language as word ?? language
as social ?? elaborate, social practice to
highlight structural, grammatical practice not
just the act or the practice itself, system
code but people and their interpretation and
meaning making participants in a ??
reciprocal process of interpretation
practice of the language and the
person View of culture culture as facts ??
culture as social ?? elaborate to highlight
not just diverse artefacts practices ways
of practices but culture as the lens
information doing things through which people
mutually interpret in diverse cultures and
communicate meaning View of
learning acquisition of new ?? participation
in use ?? elaborate to highlight how
learning, knowledge of knowledge as making
sense or coming to understand involves
becoming aware of how learners
themselves interpret knowledge through their
language and culture Reciprocal exchange
of meanings across languages and cultures in
communicating and learning to communicate, better
and better return to self as language user and
language learner.
  • As an overall theoretical orientation to
    communication, learning, education.
  • As a goal of communication and learning mutual
    interpretation and exchange of meaning ? mutual
    understanding of self and other.
  • As a driving force in communicating and learning
    an integral characteristic of the act of
    communication and of learning ? as experience and
    reflection on that experience talk and talk
    about talk language use and exploration/analyses/
    reflection on use.
  • As a meta-process knowing why.

Expanding language learning
  • Multicultural unit (Year 10/11 French)
  • Joe Van Dalen, 2008
  • The students
  • Interactions
  • Texts/data as inputs for exploration
  • Issues explosion des banlieues
  • le port du foulard
  • The journal reflection
  • (See Handout)

An example
A return to the opening question
  • - more of the same or different?

  • for programs
  • for students
  • for teachers
  • for the AFTV and similar organisations

Action and interpretive understanding across
languages and cultures
  • Understanding, like action, always remains a risk
    and never leaves the room for the simple
    application of a general knowledge of rules to
    the statements or texts to be understood.
    Furthermore, where it is successful,
    understanding means a growth in inner awareness,
    which as a new experience enters into the texture
    of our own mental experience. Understanding is an
    adventure and, like any other adventure is
    dangerous But it is capable of contributing in
    a special way to theU, for everything
    understanding mediates is mediated along with
    ourselves (Gadamer, 1981, pp.109-110)

  • Byrnes, H. (2006). Perspectives Interrogating
    communicative competence as a framework for
    collegiate foreign language study. Modern
    Language Journal, 90, 244-246.
  • Gadamer, H.-G. (1981). Reason in the Age of
    Science (F. G. Lawrence, Trans.). Cambridge, MA
    MIT Press.
  • Gadamer, H-G. (1976). Philosophical Hermeneutics.
    D.E. Linge (editor and translator). Berkeley
    University of California Press.
  • Gallagher, S. (1992) Hermeneutics and education.
    Albany, N.Y., SUNY Press.
  • Halliday, M.A.K. (1993). Towards a language-based
    theory of learning. Linguistics and Education. 4,
  • Kramsch, C. (2003). Language acquisition and
    language socialization Ecological perspectives.
    New York. Continuum.
  • Kramsch, C. (2006). From communicative competence
    to symbolic competence. Modern Language Journal.
    90, 249-252.
  • Kramsch, C. (2009). The multilingual subject.
    Oxford. Oxford University Press.
  • Kramsch, C. (2010). The symbolic dimensions of
    the intercultural. Language Teaching. pp.1-14.

  • Ortega, L. (2009). Understanding second language
    acquisition. London. Hodder Education.
  • Shohamy, E. (1996). Language testing. Matching
    assessment procedures with language knowledge. In
    Birenbaum, M. and Dochy, F. (Eds). Alternatives
    in assessment of achievements, learning processes
    and prior knowledge. Boston, MA. Kluwer Academic
    Publishers. pp.143-159.