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Snapshots from the edge: Australia, languages, languages education and the Asian/Global Century. John Hajek University of Melbourne AFMLTA 2013. Life in the Anglobubble : how it affects us and how we can change it . John Hajek University of Melbourne AFMLTA 2013.

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snapshots from the edge australia languages languages education and the asian global century

Snapshots from the edge: Australia, languages, languages education and the Asian/Global Century

John Hajek

University of Melbourne

AFMLTA 2013

life in the anglobubble how it affects us and how we can change it

Life in the Anglobubble: how it affects us and how we can change it

John Hajek

University of Melbourne

AFMLTA 2013

slide3

RUMACCC (Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross-cultural communication)

http://rumaccc.unimelb.edu.au/

  • LCNAU (Language and Cultures Network for Australian Universities) www.lcnau.org
a random collection of thoughts snapshots and vignettes
A random collection of thoughts, snapshots and vignettes
  • to highlight how pervasive Anglocentrism limits the way we see, experience and understand the world and how we devalue multilingualism/language success
  • How that same Anglocentrism limits the success of languages education in our schools and social multilingualism
  • Some good news, bad news and some ideas
  • PS you have permission to LAUGH!
slide5

You will now see an apparently random series of face shots

  • Can you identify them?
  • Most (but not all) share a common characteristic. Can you work out who they are and what it is?
  • They will reappear later in the presentation
is english good bad for us
Is English good/bad for us?
  • English as no.1 = privilege and blight
  • 3 major consequences 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
what is the monolingual mindset
What is the monolingual mindset?
  • 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)
the anglobubble
The Anglobubble
  • 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.
let s ditch the study of languages
‘Let’s ditch the study of languages’
  • The new national curriculum will, after establishing Italian and Chinese, also teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Why?
  • Can't someone explain to the bureaucrats and educators that this is a massive waste of time and resources?
  • English, as anyone who regularly travels will tell you, is the universal language of business, diplomacy and entertainment.

(Steve Price, Herald-Sun, February 2011)

how the monolingual mindset fails to tell the truth the whole truth
How the monolingual mindset fails to tell the truth, the whole truth….
  • "Poorer schools outshine the rest"

The Australian 28 November 2009

  • Richmond West Primary punching above its weight
  • Highly disadvantaged – starts well behind. By Yr3 90% meet NAPLAN minimum but still below average.
  • By Yr5 well above the state average (in English!)
  • What's their secret? How does it get reported?
slide20

How do the Anglobubble and monolingual mindset combine to affect the way we look outside at the wider world?

  • The next slide contains a league table
  • Warning (Australians only): Australians may be upset to find that New Zealanders are higher on the table.
  • Good news (Kiwis only): we know we always perform better than our neighbours over the Ditch. Please get streamers ready.
slide21

Other than your native language, how many foreign languages do you understand well enough to conduct scholarly research?Global Survey of International Relations Academics

what you can t see from inside the anglobubble 2 europes
What you can't see from inside the Anglobubble: 2 Europes
  • Group A Group B
  • Denmark Greece
  • Finland Ireland
  • Germany Italy
  • LuxembourgPortugal
  • Netherlands Spain
  • Sweden UK

Extra questions: Which of all these countries has the biggest trade deficit? Budget deficit? Language deficit?

english is not enough
English is not enough!
  • 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

(remember Bladerunner?)

  • New challenges and challengers
  • Shift already occurring – on the web & outsourcing
slide26

It can be dangerous to speak another language in the Anglobubble – when coupled with the monolingual mindset

  • and politics…..
what s wrong with mitch romney http www youtube com watch v kuzu6is036q
What's wrong with Mitch Romney?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuzu6iS036Q
we have to talk about kevin http www youtube com watch v bro4mkb vkc
We have to talk about Kevinhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bro4mkb_VKc
rudd a show off says downer nov 6 2007 the age
'Rudd a show off' says DownerNov 6, 2007 The Age
  • Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has accused Labor leader Kevin Rudd of being a show-off who can't hold himself back from breaking into Chinese.
  • "He likes to show off, and you get that a bit with certain people in life," he told ABC Radio today.
  • Mr Downer says Mr Rudd is not the only person in Australia who can speak another language.
  • "There are thousands upon thousands of Australians, there are tens of thousands of Australians, who can speak foreign languages and most of them don't bother to show-off about it," he said.
gotye somebody i used to know
Gotye: Somebody I used to know

415 million views.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY

the anglobubble disconnect
The Anglobubble disconnect:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVckoz0fM_Q

512 million views

gangnam style is this the start of the asian century
Gangnam Style: is this the start of the Asian Century?

1,7 billion views so far

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

australia in the asian century
Australia in the Asian century?
  • It’s been coming a long time
  • (More likely the Global Century)
  • Various policy initiatives:
  • NALSAS and now NALSSP
some good news kind of
Some good news! Kind of…..
  • As language teachers we do our best in difficult circumstances, we really do….
  • Teachers get blamed for a lot of things.
  • But it's not your fault, as language teachers in schools, if recent federal policy initiatives in favour of Asian languages and studies have not been successful – most recently NALSSP (2008-2012)
slide37

Decline in Asian language studies parents' fault, says Education Minister Peter Garrett, The Australian, August 12, 2012

why languages aren t thriving in our schools
Why languages aren't thriving in our schools
  • (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)
  • White paper? Gonski report?
expectations and investment
Expectations and investment:
  • What is official language policy for European Union citizens?
  • (How many languages? Which languages?)
  • What's so special about education in Finland?
solutions
Solutions
  • Need to improve supply in schools AND demand in schools and in society
  • Well funded public campaign matched by proper resourcing in schools + application of policy
  • One solution: Language champions – just like sporting, media, business champions – as powerful role models
star power to transform social attitudes and practices
Star power to transform social attitudes and practices
  • We need to take Hollywood and subvert it for our own purposes:
  • We take rich, beautiful, globally known stars of film and TV – people we watch, admire and aspire to imitate….
  • And we use them as role models and language champions
here s an idea for a new tv program
Here's an idea for a new TV program
  • A nationally funded reality program to give direct experience of the world beyond the Anglobubble
  • Survivor – principals and policymakers
  • Leave them in sites around the world. Compass, penknife, $10 and a list of challenges
back to our champions
Back to our champions
  • How to convince business we're onto something with language champions?
  • We need to find a champion who crosses the business/entertainment divide
  • A rich, powerful CEO of a global company with international profile and real staying power – someone that even Gina Hancock might listen to (….not Rupert Murdoch!)
slide47
This is that person: Queen Elizabeth II, CEO of the Firm (UK and member states of the Commonwealth are wholly or partly owned subsidiaries)
slide48

FIN