Being a language educator in North Queensland: engaging initiatives to assist in the development of teacher quality

Taylor, Pauline, and Boulard, Florence (2014) Being a language educator in North Queensland: engaging initiatives to assist in the development of teacher quality. In: Proceedings of the Australian Teacher Education Association Annual Conference. pp. 230-236. From: ATEA 2014: Australian Teacher Education Association Annual Conference, 6-9 July 2014, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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Australia is considered one of the most multicultural countries in the world. Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012–2013, a paper issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showed that over 19% of the Australian population spoke a language other than English at home. Despite this figure, Language education has been in crisis since the 1960s.

In fact, in 2014, being a Language educator in our lucky country is not always so lucky. The literature shows that Language teachers can experience considerable challenges throughout their career. Demotivation, lack of resources, isolation and limited professional development are some of the main difficulties faced everyday by Language educators in Australia (Ingram, 2005; Lo Bianco & Slaughter, 2009).

In the latest Staff in Australian Schools Survey commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR, 2010), it was reported that there was a total of about 6700 Language teachers at a high school level, compared with approximately, 33200 for English, 36000 for Maths and 61000 for the Sciences. It is no surprise then that finding language teachers is challenging, particularly in rural and remote areas of Australia. This is a significant issue at a time when government priorities are resulting in increased periods of mandatory Language education in schools and are pushing for an increase in the learning of Asian languages.

This paper provides a critical review of past and present literature on the challenges faced by Language educators in Australia. It relates this research to the current situation for Language teachers in North Queensland and presents a series of initiatives focussed on developing quality Language education in this region.

Item ID: 38385
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
Keywords: teacher education, languages
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Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 04:45
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130207 LOTE, ESL and TESOL Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl Maori) @ 50%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930202 Teacher and Instructor Development @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development @ 50%
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