AEF’s latest research report, What Works 10, focusses on the state of languages education in Australia. It identifies 6 key issues:
- Shrinking of languages teacher education offerings
- Lack of language differentiation in teacher education
- Concurrency of language and methodology studies
- Nationally consistent and standardised assessments in languages teacher education
- The long road to specialisation
- Nationally consistent licensing for languages teachers
What Works 10 highlights the urgent need to prioritise a focus on languages teacher education in Australia.
As language teachers, we know the highlights and challenges of learning specific aspects of our languages. Future language teachers who receive tuition on how to teach their specific language certainly are advantaged, compared to those who receive a generic languages methodology instruction. Where tutorials on Japanese method, French method etc. are run, subject specialist tutors can provide students with in-depth learning experiences, built from a wealth of classroom experience. Scripted languages present unique challenges in teaching in our classrooms, and require a specialist focus.
Many language teachers work in isolation in their schools, so ongoing professional development opportunities, and time to network and share with others, online and face to face, is of utmost importance.
What are your thoughts on languages teacher education in Australia? In your experience, what has been really successful in preparing you as a language teacher? What would your number one wish for improvement be?