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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.

September 2014 edition


Language policy changes announced in Queensland

The Queensland Education Minister has announced changes to the state's language policy. The policy envisages a system in which all state schools will offer Languages from Prep through to Year 12, and all students will have the opportunity to engage with other cultures. This announcement coincided with the release of the Government's consultation draft Global schools – Creating successful global citizens. (Adapted from Department of Education, Training and Employment Queensland)

Journal articles

Supporting Asian teachers: An exploratory study from the perspectives of two educational leaders

Luong-Phan, N. & McMahon, M. (2014). Supporting Asian teachers: An exploratory study from the perspectives of two educational leaders, Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice, 29(1): 56–69

Based on an empirical study, the authors argue that in the Australian educational setting, all language teachers, regardless of their cultural backgrounds, need cultural and professional support. The study findings suggest that, compared to language teachers from other cultural backgrounds, Asian teachers often need more professional support regarding teaching methodology, teaching resources and teacher–student classroom practices. In addition, the study offers insight into how educational leaders support Asian teachers. (Abstract adapted from Luong-Phan, N. & McMahon, M.)

Practical relevance
In highlighting the professional development needs of language teachers (and Asian teachers in particular), the article relates to several of AITSL's Professional Standards for Teachers, in particular to the following:

  • No. 3: Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
  • No. 6: Engage in professional learning
The authors' call for professional support for language teachers is also relevant for principals whose professional practices, according to AITSL's Professional Standards for Principals, should encompass, among others, developing self and others, and leading improvement, innovation and change.

Dealing with distinctiveness

Scrimgeour, A.; Foster, M. & Mao, WS. (2014). Dealing with distinctiveness: Development of Chinese in the Australian Curriculum: LanguagesBabel, 48(2–3)

This article explores some of the distinctive challenges in Chinese language education in schools and discusses how the development of the Australian Curriculum: Chinese has responded to these challenges. It details how the curriculum framework outlined in the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Languages was applied firstly in addressing the characteristics of the Chinese language itself, secondly in meeting the needs of learners of diverse language background, and finally in developing a curriculum for Chinese in the primary years that responds to the needs of learners in these early years of language learning. (Abstract adapted from Scrimgeour, A.; Foster, M. & Mao, WS.)

Practical relevance 
The article gives insights into some of the rationales behind the recently released F–10 Australian Curriculum: Languages/Chinese and discusses how the curriculum addresses certain particularities and challenges of learning and teaching Chinese. In doing so, it also provides practical considerations for Chinese language teachers and school leaders.

Critical Perspectives on Language Education

Dunworth, K. & Zhang, G. (eds.) (2014). Critical Perspectives on Language Education. Australia and the Asia Pacific. Springer

This edited volume draws on fresh empirical evidence to explore a wide range of related issues, including heritage and minority language education, intercultural education and English language teaching in the geographical context of Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The first part of the book explores languages and intercultural education theories and their applications in relation to L1 and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), while the subsequent six chapters investigate the principles and practices of multilingual education regarding L2 or Languages other than English, paying particular attention to Chinese, Japanese and Tamil. (Abstract adapted from Dunworth, K. & Zhang, G.)

Practical relevance
The first part of the book provides fresh empirical and theoretical discussions on issues revolving around English language teaching and intercultural education, which resonates with the general capability of Intercultural understanding, priorities in the Australian Curriculum. The second part contains several insightful chapters on teaching several Asian languages, especially Chinese and Japanese. The national F-10 curriculum for Chinese was recently released by ACARA, and Japanese is among those languages for which ACARA is currently developing a national curriculum. 


The views expressed within this update, or any of the articles it contains, do not necessarily represent those of AEF or the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

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