Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Canberra Region Languages Forum Update May 2018

Information about some upcoming language-related activities and news, especially in the Canberra region. 
For copy of full Update click HERE

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Arabic poetry night Friday 27 April

For anyone interested in Arabic poetry, or poetry in general. No need to know the language, just come and hear the melody 
  • Friday 6pm to 7.30pm, 
  • Room 121 Baldessin Precinct, Building 110, Ellery Crescent, ANU
  • Free event. All welcome
For poster CLICK HERE

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Language Diversity at ANU

A group originally formed in response to a review of the School of Culture, History and Language at the ANU that threatened several language programs in the College of Asia and the Pacific. The Language Diversity Facebook Group is a place where students can come together to celebrate, promote and protect the incredible languages they all love. 
Follow them on Facebook for interesting posts related to languages at ANU - many of which are open to the wider Canberra community. Post to the group if you want to reach out to ANU students with a passion for languages and language learning.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

ANU Language Teaching Forum

This forum provides a discussion platform for language teachers and researchers across ANU colleges as well as for language educators from outside the university such as secondary school teachers and educators from community schools. Its main objective is to foster the exchange of research and new approaches in language education.

The LTF meets on the fourth Monday of the month, 4.15 – 5.15 pm Room W3.03, Level 3, Baldessin Precinct Building #110, ANU

The speaker at the meeting on Monday 26 March 2018 is Nguyen Bui, who will present on the topic

Networked Professional Learning in Intercultural Language Education: Evidence of Impact 
The globalisation era presents an urgent need for language teacher professional development in intercultural language teaching (ILT) so that educators can work with and prepare their language students for effective intercultural communication. However, most teacher professional development programs in ILT are purely intercultural training workshops based on short-term, face-to-face, sporadic and top-down approaches, overlooking the expertise, experience and beliefs of teacher-participants. This makes it essential to introduce innovative delivery models to improve teacher professional learning in ILT. Networked learning is seen as a useful approach that can be used to enhance intercultural understanding. This presentation looks into a case study on the effectiveness of a Small Connectivist Open Online Course (SCOOC) (Bartolomé & Steffens, 2015) on intercultural competence and its teaching designed for 84 in-service tertiary English language teachers across cultural and geographical boundaries. 

This forum is jointly coordinated by the College of Arts & Social Sciences (the School of Literature, Languages & Linguistics and the Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies) and the College of Asia & the Pacific (School of Culture, History & Language). 

For more information, contact:
  • Ms France Meyer (CAIS, CASS)  E ance.meyer@anu.edu.au
  • Dr Duck-Young Lee (CHL, CAP) E duck.lee@anu.edu.au or 
  • Dr Consuelo Martinez Reyes (SLLL, CASS) E consuelo.martinez-reyes@anu.edu.au

Friday, March 16, 2018

ACT libraries are looking for volunteer adult literacy tutors

Libraries ACT is hosting two information sessions for people interested in volunteering to help adults (with a focus on those who speak English as their first language) to improve their reading and writing skills: 
  • Monday 19 March 2018 at Kippax Library, 11.00 am – 12.00 pm and 
  • Monday 26 March at Woden Library, 5.30 pm – 6.30 pm. 

There will then be a two day training intensive for suitable volunteers in June 2018. 

To find out more: contact Rachel, Learning Projects Manager, 6205 9671 (phone) or email Rachel.Davis@act.gov.au

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Languages education in the discussion of the Future of Education in the ACT

It is disappointing to see little mention of languages policy or language education in the discussion so far. As ‘Many Voices’ the ACT Language Policy notes, Canberra is a multilingual city where different languages are part of the natural development of the community as a whole. The policy recognises the many benefits of learning and developing skills in more than one language, and states that “the maintenance and development of first, second and subsequent languages is essential.”

The community conversation about the Future of Education has identified ‘Learning for the Future by developing 21st century skills’ as a major theme. Language learning has been shown to have a central role in developing critical thinking, problem solving skills, adaptability, creativity, collaboration, cultural literacy and relationship building. These are all identified as 21st century skills in the Themes document.

Another theme notes the need to “engage students by better using their interests and skills to develop a love of, and engagement with, learning”. The skills in other languages students bring with them to school are not always sufficiently valued and built on. An understandable focus on English language and literacy can ignore the vital role other languages can play. As the ACT Education and Training pamphlet 5. Bilingualism and Multilingualism: English as an Additional Language or Dialect Education states:
  • There is a real risk that if EAL/D learners are not provided with targeted and specialised English language instruction, and are not encouraged to maintain home language and literacy practices, they may only develop limited competency in both languages. This will prevent them from reaching their full potential
A wealth of research indicates the cognitive and educational benefits of developing proficiency in more than one language. Failure to actively encourage and support the continued development of bilingual skills in students from CALD backgrounds thus militates against equity, a major focus of the ACT Future of Education exercise, and ignores significant student resources. It can also have detrimental effects on family relationships, identity issues and mental health, all aspects of ‘wellbeing', which the Theme ‘Real Life Skills’ links to academic achievement.

Learning another language is also important for students who live in the 80% or so of Canberra homes where only English is spoken. As noted in the Australian curriculum, Languages:
          Learning languages:
  • extends the capability to communicate and extends literacy repertoires
  • strengthens understanding of the nature of language, of culture, and of the processes of communication
  • develops intercultural capability
  • develops understanding of and respect for diversity and difference, and an openness to different experiences and perspectives
  • develops understanding of how culture shapes worldviews and extends learners’ understanding of themselves, their own heritage, values, culture and identity
  • strengthens intellectual, analytical and reflective capabilities, and enhances creative and critical thinking.
        Learning languages broadens students’ horizons in relation to the personal, social, cultural and            employment opportunities that an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world                      presents. … Despite its status as a world language, a capability in English only is no longer                  sufficient. A bilingual or plurilingual capability is the norm in most parts of the world.

A greater focus on language learning in ACT Education would therefore promote equity and increase the quality of education. Language education should be considered in a holistic way, seeking synergies between English language programs, home language support, and an additional language for all.

Friday, November 3, 2017

There is life after a degree in linguistics!

As the author of this article has found: "there are actually more opportunities outside of academia than I thought. The future for linguists in industry is bright, as we’ll be using speech more and more to interface with our phones, cars, toasters, personal robot servants, etc"