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LOTE submission, A.L. Ceferin March 2010

LOTE submission, A.L. Ceferin March 2010

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24 March 2010, Response to Discussion Paper on Victorian Languages Strategy.
Name: Aleksandra L. Ceferin, President, Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria Inc.
24 March 2010, Response to Discussion Paper on Victorian Languages Strategy.
Name: Aleksandra L. Ceferin, President, Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria Inc.

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06/29/2012

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24March2010
ResponsetoDiscussionPaperonVictorianLanguagesStrategy.
Name:Aleksandra
L.
Ceferin,President,Institutefor
Slovenian
StudiesofVictoriaInc.
Iwouldliketoputforwardaproposalfortheimplementationanddeliveryofnewandinnovativelanguageprograms,withintheambitofthestrategiesdirectedatahighly-resourced,internet-based,andextensivelanguagecurriculumintheAustralianschoolsystem.ReferringtotheDiscussionPapermyproposalreferstothespecificareaof"qualitylanguageseducation";adirectionsetoutinpagesfrom6to12,whichlooksatthechallengesofstrengtheninglanguageeducationinVictoria.Myresponseissetoutasfollows:Indicationofsomeimportantinterrelatedissuesinprovidingagreaterrangeoflanguagesandlanguagestudyresources:globalization,restrictivechoiceoflanguages,leveloffunding,motivationalfactor.Thetwoproposalsareaimedattheprovisionof:comprehensiveweb-basedlanguagelearningcourses,andabroaderchoiceoflanguagesintheexistingVictorianschoolsystem.
ProposalsforastrongerlanguagecurriculumI.UseofInternettodevelopcomprehensivelanguagecoursesII.Establishmentofincreasedlanguageprovisioninselectexistingschools.
Theproposalsarebasedontheviewthat:web-basedlearningisaneffectivesolutionwhichcanbeintegratedintoanyprogramorenvironmentandwhichensuresdeliveryofhighqualitylearningmaterialswithenhancementoflearningandteachingexperiences;afullyintegratedonlinelanguagecoursewouldengage,stimulateandmotivatestudentstocontinuelanguagestudies;byaccessingstreamlinedandextensiveonlinelanguageresourcesstudentswillbemoreengagedinlearninglanguages,willbemoremotivatedtousethetargetlanguageforinformation-seeking,andbecomemoreawareofthemultilingualnatureoftheworld;schoolswithfocusonLOTEstudieswillbeamoreeffectiveuseofteachersandteachingresources.
PreliminaryComments
TheDiscussionPaper
DEECDVictorianLanguagesStrategy
providesacomprehensiveoverviewintheState'slanguageprovisionanditisapparentfromtheachievementsthatthereisasolidfoundationforfurtherdevelopmentandimprovementofLOTEdelivery.ItiswidelyrecognizedthatVictoriaistheleadingstateinlanguageeducation,statisticallybasedonthehighestparticipationratesinschools.Ibelieveinfosteringandpromotinglinguisticdiversity,andIendorsethepositionofMCEETYAin2005,
NationalStatementforLanguagesEducationinAustralianSchools,
thatalllanguagesareequallyvalid.TheEuropeanUnionalsopractisesthisprincipleinitsofficialrecognitionofallthelanguagesofitsmembercountries.
Thefutureintheglobalworld
Thephenomenonofglobalizationandthepaceoftechnologicalchangeindicatetheimportanceofknowledgeandunderstandingofotherlanguagesandcultures,inordertoengagesuccessfullyonaninternationalleveL
 
Thestrategyforpresentingarichandvariedlanguagecurriculumhasanimportantandinherentvalueontwolevels:Thepersonal-enrichingtheindividual'sunderstandingoftheworldanditsdiverseculturesTheeconomicandinternationallevel-communicationskillsdevelopedtoenhanceinterculturaldialogue.Inthedeliveryofageneralqualityeducationforallstudents,learningotherlanguagesisacontinuingandessentialeducationalgoalforAustralia.Itisgenerallyacknowledgedthattoknowotherlanguages,andtobebilingualoramultilingualspeakerisdesirable,practical,andofbenefittoAustraliansocietyandtoitsroleintheworld.Ithasalsobeenestablishedthatcommunicatingintwoormorelanguages,addstothepersonaldevelopmentoftheindividuals,extendingcommunicativeskills,whileatthesametimeenrichingandbroadeningperspectivesonthediversenatureoftheworldinwhichwelive.ThereisaprevailingviewinAustraliansociety,basedontheargument"ThewholeworldislearningEnglish,sowedon'tneedtolearnanotherlanguage."Doestheargumentstillhold?Notintheopinionofexpertsinthearea."Thecomplexinternational,technological,economicandculturalchangescurrentlytakingplacearelikelytoputanendtothecomplacencyof
Englishisenough
argument"(SueFernandez,p17).DavidGraddolhasprovidedananalysisofworldeconomictrendswhichhaveforseveraldecadesgivenacompetitiveadvantagetoEnglishspeakers.HebelievesthatwearenowcomingtoanendoftheperiodwherenativeEnglishspeakerscouldbaskintheirprivilegedknowledgeofthegloballinguafranca.(Graddol,2006)...Withthegrowthofothersuperpowers,India,China,BrazilandRussia,aswellasfastgrowinginfluenceofArabcountries,therelativeimportanceoflanguageswillalterandtheworldwillbecomeincreasinglybi-andmultilingual.MonolingualEnglishspeakersfaceableakeconomicfuture.(SueFernandez,p.18)
Whichlanguageandhowmany?
OneofthemajordifficultiesinofferingabroadanddiverselanguagecurriculuminamulticulturalsocietysuchasAustraliatoday,hasbeenthechoiceoflanguagestobeofferedbytheschools.Governments,federalandstatehavetakenahandinestablishingguidelines,activelysupportingsomelanguagesandattemptingtofacilitatechoicebyestablishingcategories:worldlanguages/communitylanguages,Europeanlanguages/Asianlanguages...Inmyopinionsuchaguiderepresentsanunnecessaryconstraint,anddetersmanystudentsfromstudyinglanguagesonacontinuousbasis.Whomaydeterminetheimportanceandusefulnessofanylanguage?Theperceptionsoflanguagesandtheirworldwidestandingchange.Forexample,theFrenchlanguage,foralongtimealanguageofhigheducationandinternationaldiplomacy,hasbeensupersededbyotherlanguages,whoseincreasedinternationalimportancehadnotbeenforeseen.Schoolsareconfrontedwithadditionalconstraints-byavailabilityoflanguageteachers,oflanguageresources,andbythetime-tableanditsinevitablepriorities..Inofferingawiderrangeoflanguagesandallowingstudentstofollowtheirinclinationforanylanguage(beitheritage/community,family,careeraspirations,academicstudiesorpersonalinterest)willleadtogreatersuccessinlearningandgreaterattendantbenefits.
ThecaseoftheVictorianSchoolofLanguages-fundamentalprinciple"alllanguagesareequallyvalid"
AmajorfactorinVictoria'ssuccessistherangeofchoiceoflanguages.OneofthemaincontributorsinthissuccessistheVictorianSchoolofLanguages,anextraordinaryeducationalinstitution,whichhasservedasamodelforotherstatesofAustraliaandaroundtheworld.Itprovides,onSaturdaymornings,continuousqualityLOTEprograms-heritageandworldlanguages-fromlevels1to12.ThesuccessofVictorianSchoolofLanguagescanbeascribedtothisequalityoflanguagesandfreechoice.Begunin1934byalanguageteacherwhowantedmoreoptionsforlanguagestudiesthanthetraditionalFrenchandGerman,ithasgrownthroughthevariousmigrationwavesbyacceptinganylanguage,providingitcouldguaranteetheessentialprerequisiteelements:students,teachers,curriculum,andstudytexts.TodayVSLoffers47languages,includingAfricanlanguages.Thestandardsareassuredthroughrigorouscurriculumstandards,assessmentandreporting,facultystructure,teachertrainingandprofessionaldevelopment,particularlyatseniorlevels.Theprogramoffersclassesof180minutesaweek,whichismorethanthegeneralnorminschools.VSLhasalsodevelopedfurtherdistanceeducationcourses(10languages).Itcoulddomoreiffundingwereavailable.
2
 
ProposalIUseofinformationandcommunicationtechnology
DuringthelastdecadetheInternethassignificantlyalteredthewaywecommunicateandreceiveinformation,evenuselanguage-inoralandwrittencommunication.Ithasopenedaccesstoaglobalrealitythatreachesbeyondboundariesofbordersandlanguages.GreateruseoftheInternetcouldbemade,notonlytoprovidegreateraccesstolanguagebutalsotointroducethelanguagestudentintothegreat"immersion"potentialofthemedium,bothinlanguageandinterculturalstudies.Inthelanguageclassroom,theInternetcanbeused-tosupplementthelanguagework,expandreadingskills,extendknowledgeoftheculture,andencourageresearchandassignmentwork.ThemostsignificantaspectoftheInternetis,thatitpresentscurrentinformationonavarietyofareasandpossibilityofengagementandinteractivity.Thiswouldaddresstheshortageoflanguageteachersandformanylanguagesashortageofcoursebooks.Internetisalsoasupremestudytool.Inrecentyearstechnologyhasprovidedsoftwareforafullrangeoflearningtools,withaudio,video,interactiveapproachandenormousresearchpossibilities,togatherinformationandtomaintaincontactwithcontemporarysociety.TodeveloptheInternetasalearningtooltwoaspectsneedtobeaddressed:OnlinelanguagecoursesandDevelopmentofacommonlanguagecoursestructure.InVictoriathereisalreadytheexperienceandskillgainedinconstructingacommoncoursestructureforalllanguagesandalllevelsfromYears7to12(CSFNCENELS).Thisexperiencecouldbewelladaptedandusedtodeveloponlinelanguagescourses.UtilizingtheInternettechnologywouldbeastepforwardinthedirectionalreadytakeninVictoria,sinceitcouldprovidethenecessarystructuresandthekindofaccesstothetargetlanguageontheweb.ThereareseveralwaystheInternettechnologycouldbeusedtoprovidelanguagedeliveryandenhancelanguagestudy:
a)Onlinelanguagecourses
Weshouldbegintodeveloponlinelanguagecourses,withastructuredapproachtoessentialelementssuchasgrammarandvocabulary,makinguseofallcommunicationmodes,audioandscripteddialogues,thematicvocabulary,grammaticalstructureswithexercises,readingtextsforcomprehensionandinformation,andself-assessmenttools.Suchcourseswouldbesuitableforindependentlearning,learningunderguidanceand/orservingasteachingaidinthelanguageclassroom.Inthelongtermtheywouldbemoreeffective,moreaccessible,moreeasilyupdated,thantheexpensiveandoftenunsatisfactorycourse-books.Thisapproachwouldbeofparticularbenefittolanguagesthatarenotclassed"worldlanguages",andoftenlackteachingresources.
b)Onlinecoursestructure
Inordertofacilitateandexpandthestudyoflanguagesthatarepoorinresources,abasicstructureforonlinestudycouldbedevelopedforlanguageswithasimilarstructure.Forexample,therecouldbeabasicstructureforsimilarlanguagegroups.Coursedevelopersandteachersindifferentlanguageswouldthenprovidethebasicdialogues,texts,andlanguagespecificlinguisticelements.Onthisbasisfurtherstudymaterialscouldbedevelopedforeachlanguage:reading,writingandlisteningcomprehensiontexts,includinginformativeandculturalcontentoncountrieswherethelanguagesisspoken.ThisapproachhasbeenalreadysuccessfullytestedinthecommonstructuresdevelopedfortheCSFandVCEduringtheirintroductoryphases.
c)ParticularbenefitsofInternet-toolforteachingandlearninglanguage
Internetnowoffersopportunitiesforviewing,listeningandreadingforinformationandfactgatheringthathadneverbeenavailablebefore,andshouldbeusedtoprovideinterestandtoexpandcomprehension.Itisalsoagreatmotivatorwhenstudyingalanguage,providingitsownsatisfactionandprideofachievement.Itisactuallyamosteffectivewayofimmersingoneselfintoalanguageandacontemporaryculture.Itisaperfecttoolforagenerationofyouththatiscompletelyathomeinthedigitalworld.
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