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International Review of Education

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 33–52 | Cite as

Language core values in a multicultural setting: An Australian experience

  • Jerzy J. Smolicz
Articles

Abstract

While it has been agreed by the members of the European Community (except the UK) that all secondary students should study two EC languages in addition to their own, in Australia the recent emphasis has been on teaching languages for external trade, particularly in the Asian region. This policy over-looks the 13 per cent of the Australian population who already speak a language other than English at home (and a greater number who are second generation immigrants), and ignores the view that it is necessary to foster domestic multiculturalism in order to have fruitful links with other cultures abroad. During the 1980s there have been moves to reinforce the cultural identity of Australians of non-English speaking background, but these have sometimes been half-hearted and do not fully recognise that cultural core values, including language, have to achieve a certain critical mass in order to be sustainable. Without this recognition, semi-assimilation will continue to waste the potential cultural and economic contributions of many citizens, and to lead to frustration and eventual violence. The recent National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia addresses this concern.

Keywords

Teaching Language Secondary Student Generation Immigrant Eventual Violence External Trade 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Zusammenfassung

Während die Mitglieder der europäischen Gemeinschaft (mit Ausnahme von Großbritannien) übereinkamen, daß alle Schüler der Sekundarstufe zusätzlich zu ihrer Muttersprache zwei EG-Sprachen lernen sollten, wurde in Australien neuerdings besonderer Wert auf Sprachunterricht für den Außenhandel, besonders im asiatischen Raum, gelegt. Diese Politik läßt die 13 Prozent der australischen Bevölkerung außer acht, die zuhause bereits eine andere Sprache als Englisch benutzen (und eine größere Anzahl von Einwanderern der zweiten Generation) und ignoriert den Standpunkt, daß man einheimische Multikultur pflegen muß, um fruchtbare Beziehungen zu ausländischer Kultur herzustellen. In den 80er Jahren gab es Bestrebungen zur Wiederherstellung der kulturellen Identität von Australiern nicht englischsprachiger Herkunft, aber sie waren manchmal nur halbherzig und erkannten nicht, daß kulturelle Kernwerte, einschließlich der Sprache, einen gewissen kritischen Umfang erreichen müssen, um sich behaupten zu können. Ohne diese Erkenntnis wird die Halbintegration weiterhin mögliche kulturelle und ökonomische Beiträge vieler Australier ersticken und zu Frustration und u.U. zu Gewalt führen. Die vor kurzem ins Leben gerufene National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia (Nationaler Plan für ein multikulturelles Australien) spricht diese Sorge an.

Résumé

Au moment où les membres de la Communauté européenne (à l'exception du Royaume Uni) reconnaissent que tous les élèves du secondaire devraient étudier deux langues de la CE en sus de la leur, l'Australie met l'accent sur l'enseignement des langues étrangères pour le commerce extérieur, particulièrement en Asie. Cette politique ne tient pas compte des 13 pour cent d'Australiens qui parlent déjà une langue autre que l'anglais à la maison (et d'un grand nombre de personnes appartenant à la deuxième génération d'immigrants), et ignore la perception qu'il est nécessaire de promouvoir un multiculturalisme national pour pouvoir nouer des liens fructueux avec d'autres cultures étrangères. Au cours des années 80, des mouvements ont tenté de renforcér l'identité culturelle des Australiens non anglophones, mais ces efforts, bien souvent hésitants, ne reconnaissent pas entièrement le fait que les valeurs culturelles communes, comme la langue, doivent atteindre une certaine masse critique pour pouvoir être soutenues. Sans cette reconnaissance, la semi-assimilation continuera de gaspiller les contributions culturelles et économiques potentielles de nombreux citoyens, pour aboutir enfin à la frustration et éventuellement à la violence. Le Programme national proposé récemment pour une Australie multiculturelle répond à ce problème.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerzy J. Smolicz

There are no affiliations available

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