[lg policy] Australia: Boost for bilingual learning in Victorian schools

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Dec 16 18:01:47 UTC 2015

Boost for bilingual learning in Victorian schools
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Students at a Victorian primary school are set to benefit from a grant to
support a bilingual program - the first such grant for nearly 20 years.
Luke Waters <http://www.sbs.com.au/news/author/luke-waters>

16 Dec 2015 - 5:00 PM  UPDATED YESTERDAY 8:38 PM

A small Victorian primary school will become the first in nearly two
decades to formally establish a bilingual learning program.

Brunswick South Primary received a state government grant this week to
become the first Victorian school since 1997 to formalise its language

Melbourne University linguistics professor Joseph Lo Bianco applauded the
move and said bilingual students developed a deeper understanding and
better appreciation of the school curriculum.
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He said it helped them to see the world through the eyes of other cultural
systems and more bilingual schools should be established.

Professor Lo Bianco recently released a paper arguing linguistics education
policy had for too long been driven by considerations of trade and
business, and other factors must be considered.

“It transcends economic questions - of course we should also attend to the
needs of the economy, but that's only one part of a language policy - but
it seems to have taken over everything,” he said.

Parents Michael and Diana Marsicovetere told SBS News says teaching their
children both English and Italian was instinctive.

Their kids attend Brunswick South Primary School.

“Having a bilingual school reinforces their Italian - it normalises it.
It's important, so it's not just a washed down [version of Italian], a few
words here, enough to maybe hold a really simple conversation,” mother
Diana Amato said.

Another student, Mia, is already fluent and considering the doors her
linguistic abilities could open one day.
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“Maybe if I want to help in other countries like refugees and stuff well
that would help too, [having] another language,” she said.

Together with sister Allessia and brother William, Mia, 10, already
benefits from the school's robust language programs.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said it was the first step in a
move towards more similar programs.

“I’m really keen that we expand the number of bilingual schools and this is
the first step in achieving that,” he said.
Brunswick South Primary School principal Sheryl Hall said being bilingual
had many benefits for young students, giving them "confidence", as well as
increasing "their love of other languages...their appreciation of a much
more global perspective than just here in little insular Brunswick”.


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