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Research & policy updates

Produced by Asia Education Foundation, this digest shares recent research relevant to fostering the development of Asian languages and studies, and intercultural understanding in Australian schools.


December 2014 edition

Policy

Launch of new website Love of Language

Community Languages Australia recently launched, with the support of the Victorian Government (under the previous Premier Napthine) and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (now: Department of Education and Training), a new website aimed at promoting the learning of language. The website, which is also linked to the Victorian Government's Vision for Languages Education 2013-25, seeks to encourage and provide opportunities to learn a new language.

More information


Journal articles

Islam Encountered: Confronting Stereotypes and Fostering Knowledge

Bautista, J. (2014). Islam Encountered: Confronting Stereotypes and Fostering KnowledgeEducation About ASIA, 19(1): 39-42.

This article discusses how the five-week Southeast Asia in Context (SEAiC) programme developed cultural knowledge and reduced stereotypes among participating undergraduate students. Specifically, it highlights the programmes' promotion of a more balanced understanding of Islam in South-east Asia. Using the SEAiC trip to Indonesia as an example, Bautista emphasises the importance of well-designed preparatory and debriefing activities to enable 'reflective introspections' that transform thinking about Islam and Muslims.


'If I'm going to teach about the world, I need to know the world': developing Australian pre-service teachers’ intercultural competence through international trips

Santoro, N. (2014). 'If I'm going to teach about the world, I need to know the world': developing Australian pre-service teachers’ intercultural competence through international trips. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 17(3): 429-444. (Special Issue: Initial Teacher Education: Developments, Dilemmas and Challenges)

This article presents empirical findings from a qualitative study investigating the effects of a short-term immersion programme in India for Australian pre-service teachers. The study revealed that while participants generally viewed their in-country experiences as interesting and 'mind-blowing', the programme itself did not sufficiently encourage critical self-reflection and tended to reinforce stereotypical and/or ethnocentric views of culture. Santoro calls for in-country study programmes that are more systematic and pedagogically sound, and include intensive preparation and debriefing for participants. The article suggests that teacher training should pay greater attention to fostering self-reflexivity and critical awareness of racism and racial hegemony.

Practical relevance
In-country immersion programmes designed in a pedagogically sound manner can provide great opportunities for transformative learning. The programmes explored in the two articles are relevant to the Australian Curriculum cross-curriculum priority of Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia and the Intercultural understanding general capability.


'To improve language, you have to mix': teachers' perceptions of language learning in an overseas immersion environment

Roskvist, A., Harvey, S., Corder, D., & Stacey, K. (2014). 'To improve language, you have to mix': teachers' perceptions of language learning in an overseas immersion environment. The Language Learning Journal, 42(3): 321-333.

This article examines the effects of in-country immersion programmes for language teachers from New Zealand with particular focus on their language proficiency. Using qualitative and quantitative analyses of participants' views, the study found that the programmes had a positive effect on participants' linguistic development, attributed largely to authentic interaction opportunities and language immersion. The article suggests the need to expand interaction opportunities (in the target language) to maximise the language benefits of in-country immersion.

The sustainable impact of a short comparative teaching placement abroad on primary school language teachers' professional, linguistic and cultural skills

Driscoll, P., Rowe, J. E., & Thomae, M. (2014). The sustainable impact of a short comparative teaching placement abroad on primary school language teachers’ professional, linguistic and cultural skills. The Language Learning Journal, 42(3): 307-320.

This article investigates the long-term effects of a four-week overseas teaching placement programme for pre-service primary school teachers from the UK. While previous studies have confirmed the positive, short-term effects of this language programme, the article presents evidence of sustained, longer-term impact on participants' professional capacity and linguistic and cultural skills. It concludes that overseas placement experiences for pre-service teachers can trigger transformative learning processes and develop teacher’s confidence and practice long after initial participation.

Practical relevance
Both articles emphasise the potential of in-country immersion programmes to foster teachers’ linguistic and intercultural skills development. AEF Study Programmes to Asia provide one avenue for such programmes. The positive impacts that these programmes can have on participants over a period of time has been researched and presented in  What Works 7: Study programmes to Asia (AEF, 2014).

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