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  • BUILDING CHINESE LANGUAGE CAPACITY IN AUSTRALIA Jane Orton

    澳大利亚-中国关系研究院

  • FRONT COVER IMAGE: Thinkstock

    Published by the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) Level 7, UTS Building 11 81 - 115 Broadway, Ultimo NSW 2007 t: +61 2 9514 8593 f: +61 2 9514 2189 e: [email protected]

    © The Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) 2016

    ISBN 978-0-9942825-4-5

    The publication is copyright. Other than for uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without attribution.

    mailto:[email protected]

  • BUILDING CHINESE LANGUAGE CAPACITY IN AUSTRALIA 3

    CONTENTS

    List of Tables 4

    List of Charts 6

    Introduction 8

    Notes 10

    Executive Summary 16

    Chapter 1 2008 to 2015: The Goal and the Gap 23

    Chapter 2 Policy: a Language of Unique Significance 31

    Chapter 3 Current Provision 41

    Chapter 4 The Learners 65

    Chapter 5 The Language 83

    Chapter 6 Discussion: Building Capacity 95

    Appendices

    A: State Data in Tables and Charts 117

    B: Consultation List 135

    C: The Teaching of Chinese in Victoria Schools: DET Initiatives 145

    D: Monash University Entry Courses 149

    E: Letter from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner 151

  • 4 BUILDING CHINESE LANGUAGE CAPACITY IN AUSTRALIA

    LIST OF TABLES A-K: in text 1-16: Appendix A

    Table A Number of schools offering Chinese and number of students studying Chinese in Australia in 2008 and 2015 by state/territory and school sector

    43

    Table B Number of primary and secondary students of Chinese in each Australian state/territory in 2008 and 2015

    44

    Table C Number of students studying Year 12 Chinese 45

    Table D Number and type of teachers of Chinese in training 2015

    60

    Table E Results of EI Chinese Proficiency test administered to the Year 12 class of VCE L2 Chinese in 2012

    68

    Table F Victorian Eligibility Criteria for VCE Chinese Subjects

    71

    Table G New South Wales Eligibility Criteria for HSC Chinese Subjects

    72

    Table H Western Australia Certificate of Education Eligibility Criteria for Chinese as a Second Language

    76

    Table I Internal Structure of Characters 88

    Table J Vocabulary in Italian and Chinese 90

    Table K Cognates in Japanese but not Chinese 91

    Table 1 Australian Capital Territory: number of schools offering Chinese

    118

    Table 2 Australian Capital Territory: number of students studying Chinese

    118

    Table 3 New South Wales: number of schools offering Chinese

    120

    Table 4 New South Wales: number of students studying Chinese

    120

  • BUILDING CHINESE LANGUAGE CAPACITY IN AUSTRALIA 5

    Table 5 Northern Territory: number of schools offering Chinese (2015)

    122

    Table 6 Northern Territory: number of students studying Chinese (2015)

    122

    Table 7 Queensland: number of schools offering Chinese 124

    Table 8 Queensland: number of students studying Chinese

    124

    Table 9 South Australia: number of schools offering Chinese

    126

    Table 10 South Australia: number of students studying Chinese

    126

    Table 11 Tasmania: number of schools offering Chinese 128

    Table 12 Tasmania: number of students studying Chinese 128

    Table 13 Victoria: number of schools offering Chinese 130

    Table 14 Victoria: number of students studying Chinese 130

    Table 15 Western Australian: number of schools offering Chinese

    132

    Table 16 Western Australia: number of students studying Chinese

    132

    LIST OF TABLES

  • 6 BUILDING CHINESE LANGUAGE CAPACITY IN AUSTRALIA

    LIST OF CHARTS

    Appendix A

    Chart 1 Australian Capital Territory: number of schools offering Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    118

    Chart 2 Australian Capital Territory: total number of students (primary and secondary) studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    119

    Chart 3 Australian Capital Territory: Number of Year 12 students studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    119

    Chart 4 New South Wales: number of schools offering Chinese in 2008 and 2015

    120

    Chart 5 New South Wales: total number of students (primary and secondary) studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    121

    Chart 6 New South Wales: number of Year 12 students studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    121

    Chart 7 Northern Territory: number of schools offering Chinese in 2008 and 2015

    122

    Chart 8 Northern Territory: total number of students (primary and secondary) studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    123

    Chart 9 Northern Territory: number of Year 12 students studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    123

    Chart 10 Queensland: number of schools offering Chinese in 2008 and 2015

    124

    Chart 11 Queensland: Total number of students (primary and secondary) studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    125

    Chart 12 Queensland: number of Year 12 students studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    125

    Chart 13 South Australia: number of schools offering Chinese in 2008 and 2015

    126

  • BUILDING CHINESE LANGUAGE CAPACITY IN AUSTRALIA 7

    Chart 14 South Australia: total number of students (primary and secondary) studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    127

    Chart 15 South Australia: number of Year 12 students studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    127

    Chart 16 Tasmania: number of schools offering Chinese in 2008 and 2015

    128

    Chart 17 Tasmania: total number of students (primary and secondary) studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    129

    Chart 18 Tasmania: number of Year 12 students studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    129

    Chart 19 Victoria: number of schools offering Chinese in 2008 and 2015

    130

    Chart 20 Victoria: total number of students (primary and secondary) studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    131

    Chart 21 Victoria: number of Year 12 students studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    131

    Chart 22 Western Australia: number of schools offering Chinese in 2008 and 2015

    132

    Chart 23 Western Australia: total number of students (primary and secondary) studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    133

    Chart 24 Western Australia: number of Year 12 students studying Chinese in 2008 and 2015 by sector

    133

    LIST OF CHARTS

  • INTRODUCTION In every decade since 19701 a report has been published urging development in Asian languages and literacy in Australia. From time to time, notably in 1990 and in 20082, considerable amounts of money have been allocated to advance the cause. In 2016, faced with the continuing lack in significant numbers of students graduating from Australian schools with proficiency in Chinese language despite efforts to improve outcomes, it may seem worth asking whether by now Chinese should not just be allowed to sink or swim on its own, as is the case for the other languages taught in schools.

    Despite these attempts, and faced with the continuing lack of significant numbers of students graduating from Australian schools with proficiency in Chinese, it is time for a renewal of efforts to promote, protect and even privilege the learning of Chinese in our schools:

    > Chinese is a language of unique and continuing significance to Australia in the twenty-first century: we cannot afford not to have a significant percentage of the community workforce with a degree of competence in the language;

    > In the past five years there have been breakthroughs in the teaching and learning of Chinese that give ample evidence that it can be made quite learnable to a very high degree of proficiency by virtually any Australian child in the course of their school years. However, like learning any complex skill, to attain a high proficiency in Chinese, it is best to begin young and continue learning over a number of years.

    In practical terms, much that is needed to achieve the desired goal is already available, so success would not require more than a fairly modest outlay of funds. What is essential is that those involved with structuring and administering programs for Chinese language

    1 The Commonwealth Advisory Committee, ‘The teaching of Asian languages and cultures in Australia’ (The Auchmuty Report), AGPS, Canberra, ACT, 1970.

    2 The Federal Government’s National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS) and the National Asian Languages and Literacy in Schools Program (NALLSP), respectively.

    8 BUILDING CHINESE LANGUAGE CAPACITY IN AUSTRALIA

  • education for teachers and students design initiatives thoroughly informed about the special challenges the task requires. Chinese is not Japanese or French. It makes very particular demands. The aim of this report is to explain these demands and show that they can all be met if they are squarely taken into account.

    INTRODUCTION

    BUILDING CHINESE LANGUAGE CAPACITY IN AUSTRALIA 9

  • NOTES 1. NOMENCLATURE

    1.1 LEARNER CATEGORIES

    The recently published Australian Curriculum for Languages: Chinese (Australian Curriculum,