16 May 2011

Collaboration boosts language studies in schools

Leading language teachers and academics came together at a workshop held at RMIT University to explore how collaboration could help deliver better secondary school language programs.

Lorraine Tropp, LOTE Chinese Co-ordinator at Eltham College, presents her teaching experiences.

Lorraine Tropp, LOTE Chinese Co-ordinator at Eltham College, presents her teaching experiences.

RMIT language team Guosheng Chen, Barbara White, Hiroko Ohashi and Xiaowen Fan with LOTE teachers from partner schools.

RMIT language team Guosheng Chen, Barbara White, Hiroko Ohashi and Xiaowen Fan with LOTE teachers from partner schools.

The workshop was part of an RMIT project to establish strategic partnerships between RMIT and secondary schools through the delivery of Chinese and Japanese at vocational education and training (VET) level.

Lorraine Tropp, Language Other Than English (LOTE) Chinese co-ordinator at Eltham College and pioneer of the VET language program (Chinese) in Australia seven years ago, spoke about her experiences in teaching.

"We initially started the VET Certificate 2 to motivate students to continue past the compulsory years," she said.

"Students continued because they saw the relevance of the reality-based tasks and because of the emphasis on applied oral/aural skills.

"Our students have gained tremendous satisfaction from dealing with real language situations."

Elise O’Shannasy, LOTE Japanese co-ordinator at Marist-Sion College, said: "I tend to expose students to more grammatical patterns and to use the language more in class.

"The students felt like they were special for doing the VET course and were more prepared to take language learning."

Teachers at the workshop praised the RMIT language team for initiating the university-school partnership project to boost the teaching of Asian languages in schools, particularly regional schools.

The Tertiary-Secondary Partnership for Innovative Language Teaching/Learning Pathways project is led by the RMIT language team, Guosheng Chen, Barbara White, Hiroko Ohashi and Xiaowen Fan.

It is funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations (DEEWR) under the National Asian Languages Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP).

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