Languages education in Australia: make it about communication

". . .  The latest Australian census reports that more than 300 languages are spoken at home in Australia by 21 per cent of the population. However, it’s also true that, by the third generation, migrants have mostly lost their heritage language. . ."

"Prioritising over all else students wanting to communicate in a language is a different kind of lens for language learning. This may require providing multiple opportunities for self-expression, the recycling (and explaining) of language through strategic choice of activities, and the teacher speaking the language as much as possible, but facilitating the use of both English and the chosen language as the students’ communicative proficiency gradually increases.
This approach requires a committed focus to building fluency. The current system, especially as students move towards senior secondary, prioritises accuracy over fluency. 
Students can do very well in language exams and not be able to speak, and other students who have grown up speaking the language may do poorly if they haven’t learned the narrowly prescribed content. 
Fluency relates more to real-life, meaningful interactions where errors are often made, but speakers’ confidence in their ability to communicate grows. . ."

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