On rocky ground: monolingual educational structures and Japanese language education in Australia

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The low levels of language study in Australia are often attributed to the lack of motivation of students and deficiencies in the implementation of language programs. This chapter suggests that such problems are linked to deeper issues, and that the most powerful determinant of language learning rates is the nature of the general educational structures in which language education is embedded. Drawing on data from the most widely taught language in Australia, Japanese, it discusses structural determinants of program delivery and student choices, from primary to tertiary levels, and their impact. These diverse structures all reflect the monolingual educational ecology in Australia. The chapter argues that until language learning is taken seriously enough to prompt fundamental structural reforms, other efforts will only result in marginal improvements. More generally, it confirms the importance of looking beyond the specifics of languages education to the broader social and institutional ecologies in which they sit.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDynamic Ecologies: A Relational Perspective on Languages Education in the Asia-Pacific Region
EditorsNeil Murray, Angela Scarino
Place of PublicationNetherlands
Pages183 - 198
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9789400779723
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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