The Melbourne Centre for Japanese Language Education (MCJLE) is organising and sponsoring the first National Symposium for Japanese Language Education in 36 years.
In 2010 the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations funded a report on ‘The Current State of Japanese Language in Australian Schools’.
The report gathered detailed data and interviewed a wide range of stakeholders to provide a detailed assessment of the current state of the field and to suggest an agenda for future development. It identified serious issues in a number of areas, in addition to ongoing strengths, and made six key recommendations. One of these was the ‘establishment of a National Council for Japanese Language’ to provide leadership, representation, advocacy, and opportunities for sharing information and expertise.
This symposium is a direct response to that recommendation and to the need for Japanese language educators to engage with important developments in language education policy under way at national and state levels, including the development of the Australian Curriculum – Languages.
Dr Anne de Kretser, Director of the MCJLE, said the symposium was timely, given current global circumstances.
“The symposium comes at a pivotal time when there is much focus on the Asian Century,” Dr de Kretser said.
“Japanese is the most widely taught foreign language in Australia and there is no doubt that in many ways Japanese language education is strong and vibrant at many levels. However there are a number of issues facing it and these will be addressed at the symposium.”
Themes covered at the symposium will include:
- engaging hearts and minds: advocacy in and out of the classroom
- the Australian curriculum and Japanese language
- information, communication and echnology
- innovative structures for changing learning and increasing opportunities; and
- teacher education and development.
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