Creating Multilingual Possibilities for Achievement in Australia Presentation EDU8719 Heidi Merriman EDU8719 Contemporary Issues Conference October, 2010 University of Southern Queensland Please click on sound icon for each slide to hear commentary.
What is Multilingualism? People who speak more than one language comfortably and appropriately to varying degrees of proficiency. “ Multilinguals have varying degrees of command of the repertoires” (Wardhaugh, 2002, p95) Do you consider yourself to be multilingual?
Cognitive Benefits of Multilingualism The two peaks represent the separate features and abilities of the two language. The subject has knowledge of grammar, vocabulary etc of two different languages. The common underlying proficiency indicates the cognitive abilities are higher and well developed in multilinguals. The Iceberg Analogy Iceberg model taken from Edwards, 2009 p 19.
There are great social and economic benefits to being Multilingual
Communication amongst family members and developing relationships Language abilities give people a sense of pride and identity An ability to explore other cultures, art, and history More job opportunities for multilinguals International business opportunities Increased social circle and opportunity to mix and meet with other cultures Opportunities in tourism, social services and education fields Important in fields of diplomacy and defence What other benefits can you think of?
Case Study: Australia
British colonialism didn’t favour multilingualism. The idea was to spread English and therefore the spread of English power.
The migration from various parts of the world brought many people and their languages along with them.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s there was a push for more language focus in education.
In the 1990’s and 2000’s Australia has taken a step backwards and the focus has become about one of assimilation.
Indigenous Languages in Australia
In 1788 there were 700 tribes and approximately 250 Aboriginal languages.
Now only a small percentage of these languages survive
These are not the only Aboriginal languages however, as there are also Aboriginal Englishes that have developed since white settlement.
“ Language maintenance is vital for all minority groups as is the real opportunity to learn English in Australia.” (Bonython, L. 2003)
What’s happening in Australia now?
Lack of language education
Lack of language maintenance
Migration continues at high rates
Picture from http://www.ourpatch.com.au
Solutions to the problem
LOTE (language other than English) schools and programming
Better utilisation of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning)
Click this one first Click this one second
Multilingualism – Embrace it!
Bonython, L. (2003) Aboriginal Languages: Too Little Too Late. Second Language Learning and Teaching vol 3, 2003. Retrieved online October 14, 2010 from http://www.usq.edu.au/users/sonjb/sllt/3/Bonython03.html
Clyne, M. (2005). Australia’s Language Potential . Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.
Edwards, V. (2009) Learning to be Literate: Multilingual Perspectives . Bristol: Multilingual Matters Textbooks.
Parisi, Mark. (2006) Cartoon on Languages ATM . Retrieved online April 29, 2010. http://www.offthemarkcartoons.com/cartoons/2006-04-11.gif
Parisi, Mark. (1992) Cartoon on Languages French Class. Retrieved online April 29, 2010. http://www.offthemarkcartoons.com/cartoons/2006-04-11.gif