Money and Policy Make Languages Go Round: Language Programs in Australia after NALSAS

By Slaughter, Yvette | Babel, February 2009 | Go to article overview

Money and Policy Make Languages Go Round: Language Programs in Australia after NALSAS


Slaughter, Yvette, Babel


Abstract

This article considers telling differences that have emerged in participation rates in languages other than English study in the States of Victoria and New South Wales since the introduction and completion of the NALSAS program. It explores the role that language planning, policy and funding, both at a State and Federal level, have played in this outcome. The prominent focus of the paper is the Government education systems in Victoria and NSW, but findings from the Catholic and Independent systems are also utilised. The article argues that Federal language planning and policy must take into account the complex and varying local linguistic ecologies of each State and Territory in Australia, while language-in-education planning and policy at the State level must be seriously challenged to provide adequate support and funding for language programs.

Key Words

Language policy and planning, languages other than English, second language education, NALSAS

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Introduction

Explicit language policy at the Federal level in Australia has moved through a number of distinctive stages, reflecting the varying needs of Australia's language demography, as well as the often competing agendas of Governments and lobby groups. In 1987, the National Policy on Languages (Lo Bianco, 1987) attempted to establish a range of principles that could address the needs of Australians with and without an English speaking background, across a range of social, educational and home contexts. However, the subsequent policy, Australia "s Language--The Australian Language and Literacy Policy (Dawkins, 1992) was reductionist in nature, drawing a greater focus to the (English) literacy needs of Australians (see Moore, 1995) and was followed by a series of literacy focused papers and policies, such as Literacy for Aft: The challenge for Australian schools (DEETYA, 1998).

Throughout this period of policy development, Asian lobbyists were also pushing strongly for the specific support of Asian languages and studies in schools (Slaughter, 2008, pp. 35-43) and finally succeeded in their efforts when the National Asian Languages and Studies Strategy in Australia Schools (NALSAS) program was introduced into the Australian education system in 1994. The program provided more than $200 million in funding over the course of eight years and aimed to, and achieved, an increase in the participation rate in the study of Asian languages and Asian studies across all States and Territories in Australia (Wyatt, Manefield, Carbines, & Robb, 2002a, 2002b).

The NALSAS program, ambitious and longterm in comparison to many other Federal initiatives, was unprecedented. Mackenzie (2001) considers the NALSAS policy as one of entrepreneurial policymaking (see also Henderson, 2003). While for supporters of Asian languages and studies it signalled the coming to fruition of many years of lobbying, from a language learning perspective, the NALSAS program was widely criticised for a number of reasons, including,

* economic rationalism as a basis for policy

* the lack of support for other languages

* an inadequate teacher supply

* the lack of reference to Asian language communities in Australia

* the belief that foreign and domestic cultural interests can be separated and the sidelining of social and cultural arguments

* the lack of public consultation behind the policy (see, for example, Clyne, 1997; Hill &Thomas, 1998; Liddicoat, 1996; Lo Bianco, 2000, 2002; Milner, 1999; Orton, 1995; Reeves, 1992; Williamson-Fien, 1994).

Although the policy was both criticised and welcomed within language and education disciplines, the NALSAS program has undoubtedly provided a much-needed financial and image-related boost for Asian languages study. It is imperative that we now consider the effectiveness of the NALSAS program as a policy and its impact on language study more broadly. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Money and Policy Make Languages Go Round: Language Programs in Australia after NALSAS
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.