Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Community language school initiatives in 2013

1. Chinese Camp

The Australian School of Contemporary Chinese ran an innovative Chinese Camp in Canberra during the October school holidays. Over 140 children had fun in a number of activities while being immersed in the Chinese language. Although the majority of participants had Chinese heritage, the camp was open to all students interested in learning about Chinese language and culture.

Teachers and professors from Shangdong Province teamed up with local Chinese teachers in the ACT to teach a range of arts, crafts and skills such as clay sculpture, Chinese knots, calligraphy, traditional Chinese painting, Peking Opera styles of makeup, paper-cuts, dancing and martial arts. Scroll down the page HERE to see some of their work. 

The camp was supported by the China Overseas Exchange Association (Qiaoban), Shandong Overseas Exchange

2. Pilot course at FCCCI Chinese School

The FCCCI Chinese School is trying new ways to inspire students to build on their family languages. At a workshop for parents and teachers in November 2013, the school reported on a trail of a new series of text books written by Dr Liping Ma from Sitanfu Chinese School in the San Francisco Bay Area for children from Mandarin-speaking families. 

The results of the pilot class using Book 1 in the series in 2013 have been remarkable in terms of students' Chinese proficiency and engagement with language learning. For example, one boy who had refused to speak Mandarin at home is now speaking and enjoys going to weekend school. 

Book 1 focuses more on reading than writing, allowing more vocabulary to be introduced and thus more interesting stories, riddles and songs to be read by the students. Another key component is that parents are expected to help students go over they have learned in class during the week.

Due to the success of the pilot class, the school will continue with Book 2 in 2014 and also open another Grade 1 class if there is sufficient interest from parents.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Canberra Region Languages Forum Update November 2013

Some good news about language education plus information about language-related events and issues.

CLICK HERE for more details about:
  • Call from the local Bangladesh Australian community to celebrate mother tongue and heritage languages in Australia.
  • Languages Potluck Lunch, Saturday 30 November, for families raising children in more than one language and people interested in bilingual education.
  • Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Australian National Dictionary, Thursday 28 November 2013
  • Information about the revised draft Chinese and Italian curricula in the Australian Curriculum: Languages
  • Language news from the ACT Education and Training Directorate (innovative Indonesian Hub Model in two high schools, increasing numbers of students in Asian languages, including Year 12, Policy for languages education, 26 schools with sister school relationships in 9 countries
  • Languages at the ANU: Bonus points for high school students' ATAR if take a Language other than English, $1 million donation for Portuguese, Russian and Indigenous Australian languages, Intensive Summer courses in Mongolian and Arabic, Immersion workshops in Japanese and Chinese for students in Yr 10 and 11 in ACT region, support for CAP students to study in Asia or the Pacific, new centre for Hispanic Linguistics in Australia
  • Awards and Nominations for language champions in the ACT

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

National Curricula Languages

The draft Chinese and Italian curricula have been revised based on feedback from national consultation and the validation process. The revised documents are available for comment until 22 November 2013 (see links below). This is not a formal public consultation process. Formal feedback will be sought from state and territory education authorities through the ACARA Languages National Panel. 

Any written feedback from individuals or groups outside of the National Panel is welcome and should be emailed to languages@acara.edu.au by 22 November 2013.