Interrelationships between languages policy and planning and local practices provisions and affordances: a study of Chinese and Turkish in two Sydney local government areas

Year: 2012

Author: Cruickshank, Ken, Morgan, Liam, Chodkiewicz, Andrew, Tsung, Linda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


The failure of policy and program interventions to have any notable impact on the decline in languages study in Australia has been a constant finding in language studies. The call for a more strategic evidence-based approach to language education planning is a recurrent recommendation in reports as is the need to link languages resources and use to planning. This paper reports on a study of two community languages, Chinese and Turkish, in Auburn and Canterbury local government areas in Sydney in 2010. The study explored gaps and overlaps in cross-sectoral languages program provision and investigated the implications for program planning of data on young people's reported patterns of language use, experiences of and attitudes to learning. Program data from all providers were analysed; grade 6 and 8 student surveys (n= 131) and teacher surveys (n= 10) were collected.

The study identified complex patterns of language use in families and communities: with the impact of internet and media and travel emerging is important factors. There was no coherent data collection on languages between systems; program mapping indicated gaps and overlaps; the data on primary school study showed high levels of uptake but no evidence on the nature or quality of language learning; secondary school data indicated a dramatic drop in uptake and positive attitudes to community languages study. The reasons for this were partly due to language policy/ program constraints and partly due to broader education issues.

The study recommends taking local resources and needs into account in the development of language education program and policy and the establishment of coherent data collection and program evaluation and language research.