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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: angela.scarino@unisa.edu.au. Outline.

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Languages in the Australian curriculum: more of the same or different?


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    1. 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: angela.scarino@unisa.edu.au

    2. Outline • An opening question • Context and process of development • Making the curriculum • The changes • An example • A return to the opening question and implications

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

    4. 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, re-writing

    5. Making the curriculum The Australian, March 2, 2011

    6. Making the curriculum The Age June 29, 2011

    7. Making the curriculum The Australian, March 2, 2011

    8. Making the curriculum - consultation feedback - 1 Key strengths: • The strong positioning of languages within school education. • 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 languages. • The aims of learning a language. • The nature of knowledge, skills and understanding in learning a language. • The discussion of general capabilities.

    9. Making the curriculum - consultation feedback - 2 Key issues: Indicative hours. Selection of languages and pathways for development. The staging of language-specific curriculum development. ‘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.

    10. Making the curriculum - consultation feedback - 3

    11. Making the curriculum - consultation feedback - 4

    12. 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

    13. Responses for French: key strengths • A great basis for language rationale and policies into the future. • The paper gives excellent reasons for learning languages. • “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’”.

    14. 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 languages “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 beginning” “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?”

    15. Responses for French: key issues (cont.) “we should consider adopting the Common European Framework” “…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) groupings” “More clarification of reciprocating required” “…providing a ‘framework’ often seems to me to be a way of not saying what you’re really going to do” “the content appears to be over-ambitious”

    16. 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?

    17. The changes explicit statement that all languages are important 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 languages an expanded view of language achievement standards as more appropriate in curriculum design than proficiency standards

    18. Re-framing the languages curriculum: beyond CLT • Difficult to define what it means to learn to know another language (Larsen-Freeman and Freeman 2008) • Communicative language teaching: • a theoretical construct, a goal, an approach to pedagogy • 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 2006)  need to re/frame and expand the construct

    19. 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 (Halliday) Language is not only something that we use; we are “at home” in language; to learn a language is to learn an inheritance (Gadamer)

    20. 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.

    21. Reciprocating 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.

    22. 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)

    23. An example

    24. A return to the opening question - more of the same or different?

    25. Implications for programs for students for teachers for the AFTV and similar organisations

    26. 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)

    27. References 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, 93-116. 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.

    28. 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.