Friday, July 18, 2008

Forum: preparing for the Asian century

Forum: preparing for the Asian century broadcast on Radio National program, Life Matters, and presented by Asia Education Foundation

The five year olds starting school this year will be at the peak of their working lives in 2040 when China and India are predicted to become the world's major economies.

So should their education reflect this reality? In this forum recorded at the recent Asia Education Forum in Adelaide, Richard Aedy discusses what new skills and knowledge Australian children will need to succeed. Also, how well prepared are our schools for teaching students the cultural literacy that could help them engage with our region.

Malcolm Norris, Head of Exploration and New Business for Intrepid Mines
Professor Robin Jeffery, Director of the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at ANU
Kathy Kiting, Principal of Campbell Primary School in the ACT
Andrew Blair, President of the Australian Secondary Principals Assocation

Listen to or download the podcast (mp3) - highly recommended (about 55 minutes). The forum discusses languages education, not only Asian languages.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"A fresh Breeze is blowing...."

Phil Gorbett at I.T. advises that from July 14 "A fresh Breeze is blowing...." at the University of the Sunshine Coast. "Breeze is back up - we had an issue with an errant Microsoft service pack for the database. You should now have access to your meetings and archives." You can find links to all five archives below. I will start work on the ongoing presenter schedule very soon. News of a Languages Alliance

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July break

For three reasons we are having a break in July. It's school holidays for some. Phil is off to Armidale and Sydney. And the server is having a break(down) too. So opportune time to relax, read Roland Sussex's article in the Courier Mail Monolingual Aussies left behind in international business of 28 June 2008. Or contemplate the speakers in the next half of the year including Wendy Maxwell, founder of the Canadian AIM system, Angela Scarino, Denis Cunningham and Lia Tedesco on 'Schools of Languages', and Erika Pazzoli on Process Drama. Erika writes:

Process Drama is a strand of drama that emerged in the late 80s and has become recognised as a tool to teach a variety of disciplines including history, art, geography and literature. More recently PD has been used as an approach to L2 teaching, with very promising results (See Kao & O'Neill, 1998, for research findings).

"PD falls under the humanistic teaching umbrella, promoting student's intrinsic learning and activating their own knowledge. It shares the key features of the communicative method, but it takes it a step further by providing a common thread to the role plays we tend to use in L2 teaching and injecting meaning into the scenarios, making them more authentic for the students. Personally, I believe there is great potential for PD in L2 acquisition."

I learned something about Experiential Drama in Tasmania years ago and that was wonderful. Erika says this is related. We are also collecting names of school principals willing to come discuss the fate of languages education from their point of view and to hear ours. Is yours game?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Impatience in the tone of these articles? Good!

Too few keen to speak in tongues
Language studies in Australia are still struggling to attract students, despite a Mandarin-speaking Prime Minister, writes Jill Rowbotham, June 25, 2008, in The Australian Higher Education section.
"THERE is a lot of talk about language programs in Australia, but the conversation does not appear to be going anywhere. Decades after it began, we remain solidly, some would say stolidly, monolingual." Read article

We are having a break from online seminars until late July so enjoy this article, send us links to others you see, peruse the archive links below and think about who and what would make great and useful seminars for the rest of the year. Our list of speakers, dates and topics should be up here soon.

Here's a video about Education Learning to Change-Changing to Learn you may wish to check out. I am a bit suspicious of this computer-world salesmanship even though I love muoltimedia and web-based languages learning possibilities. Someone mentions people "needing to be multi-disciplinary, multicultural, multilingual" in it. Only five minutes 36 seconds. Please post comments there or here.