University of Melbourne
MLTA NSW 2014
! Language teacher
! RUMACCC (Research Unit for Multilingualism and
! LCNAU (Language and Cultures Network for
Australian Universities) www.lcnau.org
! Some good news, bad news and some crazy
ideas to get you going
! Things that work and things that might just
work if you were crazy enough to try them
! You have permission to LAUGH!
! In fact: You must laugh!
(1) For newbies to the Hajek experience:
This presentation may contain NUTS!
And I’ll do practically anything to get a laugh
(2) For those (un)fortunate enough to have had
the Hajek experience already
My sincerest apologies J
! “We would LOVE you to present our teachers
with some inspiring ideas of how we can
maintain our students beyond the mandatory
(in email invitation from Melissa Gould–Drakeley, 20 Jan 2014)
My initial reaction: CUE VISUAL
Now: good news! A million ideas…. Here’s just a few J
! How do we make languages indispensable in
our education system and in our society?
! We need to think laterally, engage in new
(and old) ways, and make languages COOL
! It’s serious but it should also be engaging
! Where do we start?
! Understand the problem in order to address it
! It’s important to understand that the problem
is greater than our schools
! We are not alone:
It’s the fundamental challenge of all English-
! English as no.1 = privilege and blight
! 3 major issues for native speakers:
! The Monolingual Mindset
! The Anglobubble
! Language cost-benefit formula is totally skewed.
The cost of linguistic success as L1 English speakers is so low
that there is no understanding of the real cost to achieve the
same for L2:
! Result: chronic underinvestment and inadequate policy re
language education and bilingualism in the wider societal setting
! The greatest impediment to recognizing,
valuing and utilizing our language potential is
a persistent monolingual mindset. Such a
mindset sees everything in terms of
monolingualism being the norm, even though
there are more bi- and multilinguals in the
world than monolinguals (Clyne, 2005)
! This is that part of the world, with a
concentration of monolingual English
speakers, that operates in English, thinks it
only natural that everything should happen in
English and should logically be experienced
and understood in English.
! English is often said to open up the world for
you. There is good evidence that for L1
speakers it easily hides it from them.
! So what happens when you combine
monolingual mindset with the Anglobubble?
! A simple example…..
! Listen carefully!
! 94% of the world's population do not speak
English as their first language
! 75% of the world's population do not speak
English at all
! World languages don't last
! New challenges and challengers
! Shift already occurring – on the web &
! What are the challenges facing languages in
! Multifactorial – policies and people
! (1) Chronic underinvestment
! (2) Excessively low and excessively high
expectations + unachievable outcomes
! (3) Misguided policy and failure to implement
what policy there is (e.g. principals have a
critical role here)
! NALSSP = less than $1 p.a per Australian
! = cost of one dim sim (steamed or fried)
! Gonski report?
! Language Teachers
! Other Teachers
! We’re too polite and accommodating
! We need to show people who we really are:
passionate, dedicated, intelligent,
successful, role models of language
We need to get that message out
! Raise expectations:
! Insist on key learning areas being taught
! Demand more: English + 2 languages?
! Cost? Use outcomes to address cost issue:
! (1) Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway,
! (2) NSW Year 7 NAPLAN results
! The big one: we need to increase demand and
desire for languages
! (in order to address all the other issues, e.g.
funding, teachers quality and supply, etc…)
! The secret: MARKETING!
! Our current approach is too earnest. It’s time
to expand our marketing techniques.
! Why monolingualism is no good for you?
! Monotone - boring
! Monochrome - boring
! Mononucleosis - sickly
! Carbon Monoxide – just plain dangerous
! So you’re Monolingual? You work it out…..
! Real human stories that people can connect
with – to get the language message across
and to increase value and desire
! We need to use truth, humour, star power,
role models, anything and everything at our
That’s good marketing!
! We need to find and create human stories
that everyone can connect to as a powerful
tool for languages.
! They need to be dynamic and believable.
! Here’s an example, using a personal
! Or how languages changed me and my life?
! I was born in the Australian suburbs and I
started life as a monolingual
! (absolutely true – speak to my mother)
! Here’s a picture of me just before starting
! Through a simple and cost-effective
! I was introduced to Language with Active
! Applied regularly, look what happened.
! I swear by it! No drugs, no surgery, pain free.
! So what do active bilinguals including
language teachers look like?
! The results of a recent composite analysis
using night vision goggles indicate the
! *warning: sampling may not be statistically reliable
! Promotional campaign (via AFMTLA website)
3 guiding issues – based on market research:
(1) Languages are not useful to me now
(2) Languages are too hard
(3) Languages in school are pointless
We need to engage with these issues in
! The cover song as a secret weapon to success
! I love this!
! My favourite good news story for languages
in the English-speaking world at the moment
! Kids engage with what they already know –
and are intrigued when it’s in another
! Fun, practical, all learning styles, experiential,
up to the moment, outcome-oriented
(concerts, school assemblies, youtube, fb….)
! The Cup Song – great start (loads of clips on
line). Do you own version with your students
! Where do principals fit in?
! Critical for languages success.
! We need to address their concerns and beliefs
directly! How do we convince them?
! We need language-loving principals to role
model for the rest. But we also need more:
! A nationally funded reality program to give
direct experience of the world beyond the
! Survivor – principals and policymakers
! Leave them in sites around the world.
Compass, penknife, $10 and a list of
! How to get into an Australian’s heart?
Especially school principals and young males
! SPORT! Even better: footy
! Use the link to sport to foster language
learning and interest
! (students, principals, teachers and parents)
! That languages are for everyone and can be
combined effectively with different learning
areas (CLIL) J
! It’s not too hard! It’s not useless: instead it’s
so right now!
! Advocate and motivate – don’t be afraid
! Be proud, passionate and positive
! Work together and share (new) ideas – trial
! Humour is a powerful way of getting serious
things understood and happening
! Take the MEMES and IDEAS presented today
back to your schools, tell your colleagues,
use social media
! Kids get it!
If you don’t believe me, ask:
! John Tiernan (University HS, Melbourne)