Language Education


Mr Duluk interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Waite is called to order.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: Ask me a question about TAFE, I dare you. I dare you to ask me a single question today about TAFE. I'm very pleased to get—

The SPEAKER: Minister, there is a point of order.

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order: the minister began immediately by debating his own question.

The SPEAKER: I have the point of order. The point of order is a rational one. Minister, could you please bring it back to the substance of the question, thank you.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: The member for Newland asks an important—

Mr Brown: No wonder they call him Mad Dog.

The SPEAKER: The member for Playford can leave for half an hour under 137A, thank you.

The honourable member for Playford having withdrawn from the chamber:

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: The member for Newland asks a very important question about education, as is his wont, because he is very interested in ensuring that our students in South Australia get the best possible future and the best possible education. Part of our project before the election—part of our commitments before the election—was in relation to languages, as the member for Newland points out, and this is something that I know both sides of the house support: the importance of ensuring that our schools are well equipped to deliver STEM learning through appropriate infrastructure and professional development and that the opportunity to have excellent language studies is not lost.

We have seen a decline over the years in the number of secondary students undertaking language studies at stage 2 of the SACE. There are many things that have impacted upon that and we are looking at a broad range of things to address it. That is, of course, just one measure and part of it is of course a function. The number of year 12 students undertaking languages is a function of many things. One of them is that, when students undertake language studies in their earlier years, we must ensure that they get the best possible outcomes and that they have the best possible interactions and experiences in their early language studies.

We are doing work in holiday care in this space with the School of Languages. We are doing work in our primary schools and our secondary schools. Today, I am very pleased to provide the house with some information about some of the innovative work that is being done in the primary school space to support innovative programs in languages. Indeed, we have an innovative language education program, and program grants for five schools worth up to $50,000 each will support them to trial innovative approaches in proving the effectiveness, the quality and the sustainability of languages learning in the primary years.

To qualify as innovative, the proposed projects had to creatively apply new knowledge, technologies, practices, pedagogies or structures to improve language education. They put forward their ideas to an expert panel, mostly of departmental staff, with the inclusion of the senior lecturer in languages at Flinders University as well, who assessed these pitches and put forward the five projects. We are delighted with the innovative thinking that was shown by our primary schools and, as reported by the panel, their desire to implement new knowledge and practices in language education.

I am pleased to advise that the successful schools are Leigh Creek Area School, Sandy Creek Primary School, Athelstone primary school, Goodwood Primary School and Seacliff Primary School. The Leigh Creek Area School will employ culturally responsive pedagogies and collaborate with community on country to build, strengthen and learn Adnyamathanha, the local Aboriginal language. The Sandy Creek Primary School will create a weekly multimedia broadcast station with their students and their Japanese sister school to increase daily use of Japanese in the school. The Athelstone primary school will explore the potential of augmented and virtual reality to provide connected and experiential language learning by providing immersive experiences in Italian within a virtual platform.

The Goodwood Primary School will produce a digital resource library to bring the Mandarin language into the mainstream classroom by linking it to other language learning areas in the curriculum. The Seacliff Primary School will work with parents and students to develop community-guided content and language-integrated learning programs in the mainstream classroom and across learning areas, such as for Japanese and science. These are excellent projects, and I look forward to seeing the work that is being done by these schools. Where there is successful implementation, we will see the learnings from them being shared across the entire system.