The Australian Academy of the Humanities website reports that: The Beyond the Crisis Colloquiumheld at the University of Melbourne (16-18 February 2009) hosted more than 140 delegates, from 30 different institutions, and representing 14 languages. The delegates included teachers, researchers, and planners. The colloquium was comprised of workshops as well as presentations of current research and innovative initiatives. It was agreed that, while different languages face distinctive needs, all languages and the nation will benefit from a more strongly articulated language teaching and learning culture in higher education. Furthermore, the assembly agreed to create a “National Tertiary Languages Network”.
It is my understanding that Prof. Joe Lo Bianco and others have applied for a NALSSP grant to establish the projected “National Tertiary Languages Network”. News on the current 2010 round of NALSSP grant proposals should follow now that the dust is settling from the recent 2010 federal election. If we want a thoroughly integrated languages education in Australia, with sensible articulation top to bottom, and effective lobbying and promotion, we need to have everyone networking together from AlphaTykes to PhD supervisors. Philip Mahnken, Sunshine Coast
Recommendations from the Beyond the Crisis Colloquium
Recommendation 1: That universities, at the policy level, give explicit and urgent recognition to the strategic importance of the study of languages and cultures; and that they develop appropriate strategies and provide adequate resources for the promotion and effective maintenance of these studies. This would include attention and resources be given to providing appropriate identification procedures (such as placement tests),
and sufficient course levels and pathways to allow learners with diverse language backgrounds to be grouped according to their proficiency and learning needs, so that their full learning potential can be realised.
Recommendation 2: That the university sector (perhaps through DASSH) work towards a uniform and nuanced definition of what constitutes attrition, and that the relevant
faculties generate and make readily available comparative statistics about attrition in languages and other humanities and social sciences areas.
Recommendation 3: That individual languages programmes across Australia consider the practice of a motivation / intention / background questionnaire on the model of the one
used in LASP 2, to be administered to all students early in the first semester of their language study. The questionnaire takes only a few minutes of class time and, although the recording and analysis of data is time-consuming, this should be budgeted for by the relevant schools in order to provide a clearer picture of the student cohort and their motivations and intentions, to better predict class sizes, to facilitate staff planning, and to provide a basis for ongoing curriculum review. The information gathered could be shared through the National Tertiary Languages Network.
Recommendation 4: That the National Tertiary Languages Network undertake, as a matter of priority, to engage with the issues raised in relation to TELL, particularly with a view to enabling increased collaboration and exchange across the sector. [end quote]
There are many valuable and encouraging reports and other publications at the Australian Academy of the Humanities website http://www.humanities.org.au/ I got the above quote from AN ANALYSIS OF RETENTION STRATEGIES AND TECHNOLOGY ENHANCED LEARNING IN BEGINNERS’ LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH (LOTE) AT AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES.