The ‘Asiafication’ of Australia

Soon every child in Australia will be encouraged to learn an Asian language

Under new policy announced by the Federal Government, every child in Australia will be encouraged to learn an Asian language and schools will forge an alliance with a counterpart in the Asian region.  The four languages which are being promoted are Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese and the engagement with Asian schools will support the teaching of such languages.

In the white paper, Australia in the Asian Century, which was prepared by a panel chaired by former Treasury Secretary Ken Henry, the Government is looking to align Australia with the growth of the middle class in Asia. Julia Gillard said, “Asia will become home to most of the world’s middle class by as early as 2025. Not only becoming the world’s largest producer of goods and services – becoming the largest consumer of them.” 

The paper brings together existing policy directions, including funding recommendations from the Gonski report; however, there has been no accompanying announcement about additional money to pay for these initiatives.

There are 25 objectives set out in the paper, which are expected to increase Australia’s GDP per person to be in the top 10 by 2025. The five key areas highlighted are building on Australia’s economic strength, developing capacities suited to dealing with Asia, operating in and connecting to growing Asian markets, promoting regional security and stability and developing and broadening relationships.

Read the full story at TheAge.com.au 

Find out more about the white paper, Australia in the Asian Century


Opinion: Running before you can walk

I read with interest the interpretation of the Government’s white paper Australia in the Asian Century.  Despite actually being about the parallel between Australia’s economic growth and the growth of middle class Asia, the one recommendation which has been most widely reported is the teaching of Asian languages in schools.

While I applaud the Government’s efforts to improve education from primary school level, I can’t help thinking that the time and effort would be better spent getting grass roots education correct first. Despite the literacy rate in Australia being consistently high, there are remote communities where this sits at less than 20 per cent. And while most schools offer a wide and varied program of study for children, there are some which struggle to provide basic maths and literacy to those who walk through their doors.  Class sizes are getting larger, teachers are under more stress due to increased workload and children are becoming disengaged with learning. Surely before introducing another subject for children and teachers to contend with, the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic should be sound?

Also, with many middle class Asian families already opting to have their children educated in Australia, is there any sign that this trend will cease at any time in the next 10 to 20 years? With a large number of middle class Asian children learning English, is there really a need for Australian children to learn an Asian language?

As the mother of a child who has studied Japanese since prep, I am not impressed by his grasp of the language some eight years on. Despite studying hard and having access to some of the best teaching aids available, his progress has been slow as he simply does not have the means by which to practice the language regularly. All of the children at his school who speak Japanese as a first language are more interested in practising their English. I can’t help thinking that the three hours per week he spends on the subject would be better spent on maths, English or science.

Perhaps I am being too narrow-minded. Perhaps I need to look further than the end of my nose to see the bigger picture. Or perhaps I’m not too far from the truth. What do you think?





    COMMENTS

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    Sylvia
    29th Oct 2012
    11:56am
    When you hear of children leaving school before they can read or write, maybe languages should be for those who have an interest to learn, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink, schools seem to have to teach all things now a days, maybe some things should be left to the parents to arrange?
    A good basic knowledge is enough to start most of us on our way, as soon as one can read, then we can help ourselves discover what is in our interests,otherwise we will need to stay at school until we are 90.
    battiejl
    29th Oct 2012
    11:59am
    Tell them to learn bloody ENGLISH

    We are not an Asian country.

    How the guys that fought in WW@ would be turning in their graves
    PatrickRM
    29th Oct 2012
    12:42pm
    What absolute bunkum battiejl. Move on. Do you think our fallen soliers. airmen and navy personnel would want us to continue living with hatered? The second wold war has been over 67 years. We must engage with Asia, it is the only way we will continue to prosper. There are many things we can learn from the countries of Asia, respect for our elders is one thing! Work ethic is another. I welcome the Whitepaper and only hope it will come to fruition.
    Abby
    29th Oct 2012
    12:04pm
    Would be nice if they taught the children in schools English first.
    biddi
    29th Oct 2012
    12:16pm
    mmmm, the spelling (shaking head).
    Pass the Ductape
    29th Oct 2012
    5:33pm
    Yes I agree with Abby. The spelling of English as a first language is generally deplorable and I can only see it getting worse if we begin to throw another language into the mix. However, if we do go through with it - I bet the first word learnt in a foreign language will be the equivalent of the 'F' word.
    motaleon
    30th Oct 2012
    3:42pm
    When I first started secondary teaching in 1960, the intake from primary schools comprised of bright-eyed children who knew their 3Rs and could distinguish a noun from a verb. They had a solid base on which to build.
    In those days, the qualification for an entrant to primary teaching was a Leaving Certificate (Year 11). If, however, a primary teacher wished to progress in the profession. higher qualifications were vital - even to the extent of acquiring a degree. A teacher with a degree would now find confinement to the 3Rs very boring, so the primary curriculum started gradually to expand into smatterings of science, botany, languages etc....
    This resulted in gross negligence of the basics and not much by way of command in the periferals. Most primary children are now computer savvy and that could be considered a good thing, but what do they do with those skills? They can be found engaged in non-productive mental masturbation - computer games! They can be amused for hours!
    Tinkering with primary education has led to graduates who cannot spell. cannot mentally compute, and cannot even speak their own bloody language with any degree of competence. Anyone for Mandarin??
    sheila
    29th Oct 2012
    12:11pm
    All immigrants should be taught English, secondary languages are a bonus.
    At school I spent years on French and Latin but when I went to France no one understood my
    schoolgirl French.
    Nanna52
    29th Oct 2012
    12:34pm
    Same thing happened to me.
    biddi
    29th Oct 2012
    12:14pm
    Well, the way things are going, it could come in handy .......
    dolby
    29th Oct 2012
    12:17pm
    What a narrow pathic comment by battiejl its 2012 move on, we live in the asian pacific rim my wife is chinese and has spent a lot of time learning English Kevin Rudd has shown what can be acheived I do agree with Abby the standard of Spoken Engish with a poor vocabulary is often shown the most used Adjective being F---K
    battiejl
    29th Oct 2012
    12:23pm
    Go live in Asia then
    dolby
    29th Oct 2012
    12:28pm
    Away from bigots like you typical Ocker!! comments
    jeniwren
    29th Oct 2012
    12:17pm
    Having lived in Asia for many years and understanding their cusdtoms etc., I am totally shocked and horrified that this discussion is taking place. Not everybody has good relationships in business with China. OUR children need to be fully educted here with all our customs, languages, English, Maths, History etc., what about helping the Aboriginal children learn their basic languages, how many Australians know how to speak to another Aboriginal in their language? Hasn't the PM done enough damage in stopping money going into the Education system. Giving computers isn't the most positive of actions.
    Isn't it frightening enough that this Country is giving huge amounts of borrowed money to these Communist Countries regardless of what the general population of Australians say or want. When it is all said and done China is still Communistic in it's running and Govt. the other countries like Lao still operate from Communistic beliefs and Govt. Indonesia running their Govt. although being Dem, it also has a majority of Islamic involvement. If the PM travelled as a normal tourist and got to see these countries without all the decoration then maybe the idea of what these countries do with 'their' money not going to help their own people will open her eyes a little wider. In China you can hardly put a envelope between the Merecede cars yet go out into the country areas and you find children in dire need of medical help and basic education. Chinese Govt. doesn't worry about these people.
    Why can't Australia be Australia. Why does our Welsh born PM want us to be so saturated with Asia? We need to keep our Austaralians and the New Arrivals learning and talking our English, not battling the lines with more problems of illerate children not being able to read and speak English. English First please.
    FrankC
    29th Oct 2012
    8:17pm
    Yes jenni, I agree. I have been to China, and have seen how the 'govt' treat the poor people living in the countryside. Their homes are made of corrugated roofing iron,for walls, timber and chicken wire, plus a small pond in which to fish for food. It is pointless trying to teach children a language more difficult than say French or German, at least they use the same letters that we do. But a typical example is in the Holden advert for the Equipe car (put an acute accent on the first 'E' ) The person doing the voice over obviously has no knowledge of French, by pronouncing it equip..!! Don't these people have the intelligence to know how to pronounce a foreign word, or even ask. They should be asking 'why is there an e at the end of the word. Because the designer/marketing guy decided to use a French word, which is a big mistake in Australia, since about 95% of the populace cannot pronounce a European word correctly. The word is pronounced ' e(as in let) keep. It means team in English. Yes , this is Australia, and more and more Asians are coming here to live, and they are learning English . We certainly aren't going over there to live. Those in trade ministries or businesses, will be educated sufficiently to speak English.
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    12:17pm
    Oz cannot turn back the clock to pre-1962 with its NSW Wyndham system intrusion upon the 3 x R's model. Back then if you were bright enough [as Ms Gillard so pointedly and demurely mentioned because she was one of the elite] you were forced to learn French or Latin. 50 years lateron education in Oz is still state fragmented and an utter disgrace as the standards plummet further when compared to other countries. Even between states and and supposedly accredited training bodies [like the Armed Services] qualifications fail to be common. Pay rates are not nationally standardized - its a bloody mess. Universities only just get by by importing rich foreign income. Walk on to any campus and see for yourselves. That sectional rant is over ..............

    Blind Freddy [whoever he was] could see 30 years ago that Oz would have to, in the coming decades, deal with a closer integration with Asia. [I advised my son to marry an Asian to give his kids a head start but he refused]. Why have the ALP left out the Philippines ? Let alone reintroduce sport and even teach kids to swim across the nation !! - duh. The ALP are again fiddling with a societal experiment with an unknown outcome.

    You have a valid reason for being deeply concerned Debbie.
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    1:42pm
    correction: after swim put a comma - no kid could cope with the sand, dust and flies if they attempted to breaststroke/overarm across the country hehe
    doclisa
    29th Oct 2012
    12:17pm
    i think the mistake is clear. It should not be about school. It should not be another example of who will do this..oooh lets make schools do it. Schools in Australia are already stretched too thin. If we waste valuable class time on this students will be down in other important subject areas.
    I would suggest using this for part of the NBN expansion program, and community groups by putting up 'conversation' classes online. Thus EVERYONE is responsible for taping in and getting abit of another language. Given the fact we holiday in Asia so much aside from anything else it could be a good thing.
    Then if people want to go to advanced levels we have TAFE schools that could offer such programs, backed up by online and community input.
    The gist iin the responses here miss the point..it is not about others coming here is is about US REACHING INTO ASIA!
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    12:46pm
    The NBN was precisely quite a strong point that Gillard raised - but that would only work if there were ongoing day to day compatible linked program agreements between education bodies across countries. CarrA380 will have so many frequent flyer points he will have to get his own pilots license to use them up haha
    PlanB
    29th Oct 2012
    12:20pm
    Tell them to learn bloody ENGLISH

    We are not an Asian country.

    How the guys that fought in WW@ would be turning in their graves
    +++

    I AGREE !

    Maybe they are expecting we will be taken over sometime soon ?? We already import all out blasted food from these places and sell off our country to them
    dolby
    29th Oct 2012
    12:26pm
    What a pathetic narrow minded comment, this subject is not woth discussing
    from the nanny state
    4th Nov 2012
    6:28pm
    Totally agree .... After all English is the most widely accepted language all over the world.... "We are Australia" ..... Not Australasia.....
    I would love our young Australians to be literate in our own language first. If they choose to learn another language well and good but be proficient in English first.
    Reppie
    29th Oct 2012
    12:27pm
    I'm with you dolby, WW11 was before I was born, so somewhat over and done now! I recall my father making comments along the same line as battie, as a kid I hated it, I still do. I have friends from all over the world, on here and in real life. There is no place in Australia for any kind of racism in my books. Is there any country more multi-cultural than ours? I doubt it. Yep battie, that includes Germany, Japan and more. All good decent people who had ancestors in the war, not themselves. Let go of the past mate!!

    I think kids learning any other language, not only Asian, would be beneficial somwhere in their lives, who knows? Either way, they aren't all Einsteins, so what happens if they dont make the grade?
    Pass the Ductape
    29th Oct 2012
    5:39pm
    Banzai!
    davewatto
    30th Oct 2012
    12:05pm
    Japan a multiracial country? You must be joking!!! The Japanese people are fiercely protective of their culture and traditions and they have my deepest respect for that. As for Germany and other European countries, they have all recently repudiated Multiculturalism and are insisting on immigrants assimilating into the community. As Angela Merkel and David Cameron have both remarked, "Multiculturalism has been a complete failure".
    ozimarco
    29th Oct 2012
    12:28pm
    When I get out my crystal ball and look into the future, I see Australia as an Asian country, populated by a mixture of races but mostly Asian, a country fully engaged with the Asian region. I'm fully aware of our British heritage and the wars we have fought in the past. Nevertheless, Asia is our future, whether we like it or not.
    davewatto
    30th Oct 2012
    12:06pm
    I hope to God that you are wrong!
    kino
    29th Oct 2012
    12:32pm
    In Holland, where I come from, there are 4 languages taught in High school, Dutch, French, German, and English. Being surrounded by England to the West, Germany to the north and east, and France and Belgium to the south, all of which the Dutch trade with, necessitates the learning of these languages. The Dutch adapt easier to foreign languages than the French, German or English. The English refuse to learn another language, the French, if they speak a foreign language speak it with such an accent that almost makes it impossible to understand, and the German feel that every one should be speaking German.
    ozimarco
    29th Oct 2012
    12:42pm
    It is the same with us Flemish (Flanders is is the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium). We learn languages easily. We make very good migrants as we can adopt a new language as our own. I am often amazed that my English language skills are superior to those of the natives. At school I learned Dutch, French, German, English, Latin and ancient Greek. I also learned Spanish in my spare time. I can also speak Malay as I am married to a Malaysian and speak the language at home.
    PlanB
    29th Oct 2012
    12:37pm
    If I was going to travel or LIVE in another country--I would learn to speak the language of that country--as IMO that is just manners to do so--I would NOT expect that country to learn MY language
    FrankC
    29th Oct 2012
    8:32pm
    I can understand that. Many years ago, I traveled to Bulgaria, but before I went I learnt sufficient Bulgarian, virtually Russian to be able to speak it and converse with them. Similarly Spanish.I learn't French and German at school, which was very helpful, and Italian when I left school.. All those came in very handy when travelling to those countries, and the 'natives' were very appreciative of my speaking their language. Too many people go to a foreign country and expect them to speak English, (especially those from England), mind you the last time I was in Italy. 2006 I think, they were speaking English; must be the EEC ! :)
    sandra
    29th Oct 2012
    12:38pm
    Some people have watched too many TV shows about "aliens" taking us over!!! Like it or not, Australia is no longer an island. We are part of a world community, and a great power in Asia. We can't hide under a rock any more. we have so much to offer.
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    1:01pm
    http://tinyurl.com/GreensAliens
    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
    Ozetwo
    29th Oct 2012
    12:43pm
    We are Australians , we are an immigrant country and we are a part of Asia. An understanding of the languages and through that the culture of our neighbours would be a decided advantage if we are to have some credibility in our area of influence which is Asia not the US or Europe.
    Wake up Australia before its too late.
    smithjj
    29th Oct 2012
    1:08pm
    Debbie is basically correct, I believe. Our education system has far greater problems to deal with. The option of learning an asian language is a good one from the point of view of helping cultural understanding, but that is as far as it goes. The claim that it would greatly assist business or diplomatic matters in the Asian region ignores the fact that English has become the global lingua franca.
    PlanB
    29th Oct 2012
    1:08pm
    I KNOW it will happen--but I don't have to like it

    29th Oct 2012
    1:16pm
    I think what is most likely to happen is the kids who speak the language at home already will select it as an easy subject and as a result make any who don't (speak it at home) will be relectant to take the subject for fear of looking like idiots.

    I live in an area where there a a lot of families from non Engish speaking backgrounds.
    Many seem to feel English should be an elective subject at school.
    Most of them work for companies that comprise mainly of people who speak their native tongue. Some will not even allow their children to speak english in front of them.

    Did you know that all Japanese childeren are required to study English for at least 5 years as part of their normal schooling yet when they visit an english speaking country most can not make themselves understood. This is articularly interesting when you consider how seriously the Japanese take education.

    Personally I suspect the end result of this will be a lot of people who can show their illiteracy in more than one language.
    ozimarco
    29th Oct 2012
    1:26pm
    I was surprised to see Hindi listed as one of the languages our PM would like us to learn, given that English is the lingua franca in India. Many Indians in the south do not like to speak Hindi and prefer English.
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    1:36pm
    Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Aryan_languages
    The largest in terms of native speakers being Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) (about 240 million), Bengali (about 230 million), Punjabi (about 90 million), Marathi (about 70 million), Gujarati (about 45 million), Oriya (about 30 million), Sindhi (about 20 million), Saraiki (about 18 million), Nepali (about 14 million), Chittagonian (about 14 million), Sinhala (about 16 million), and Assamese (about 13 million) with a total number of native speakers of more than 900 million.

    Of course those languages are also regional. English is the dominant 2nd language.
    So the ALP Education Monster - ooops Minister - seems to be right on the money yet again [not]. The ALP couldnt organize a 'pissup' [coloquial] in a brewery.
    aquatrek
    30th Oct 2012
    9:17am
    southern India is Bengali speak land - not on Gillards hit list - racism ?
    aquatrek
    30th Oct 2012
    9:20am
    apologies: Tamil [70 million] is the southern land lingua and includes Sri Lanka
    jake
    29th Oct 2012
    1:34pm
    Amazing!
    People still don't know that we are located in ASIA???????
    We are 3 decades behind with learning THE languages of our future.
    A new world is comin' folks, let's make it great.
    Jake
    AmandaR
    30th Oct 2012
    1:58pm
    I agree Jake. Let's make it great.
    MAC22
    29th Oct 2012
    1:41pm
    Personally I feel it is good to learn another language overall. However, I feel that this should wait until attending high school and then opt for another language they desire to learn. There is enough to learn throughout primary school in order to enter high school, without being pressured into learning another language when they are still coping with their own written and spoken English.
    They also should be given a choice to what language they would like to learn of our Asian neighbours, as there are many dialects. If a child is interested to learn, even when highschool is completed, then they will learn another language. There is too much pressure as it is to keep up with all the subjects that are already required for the Higher School Certificate. After all we can all learn another language after school ends, if we desire to do so!
    JJ
    29th Oct 2012
    1:42pm
    A good grounding in English must come first and foremost. Asian languages as an option would be a very good idea, but only as an option. There are many students who would not be able to learn a really complex language, but there are plenty who need extra tuition in our own!
    JJ
    29th Oct 2012
    1:45pm
    PS We must accept the fact that we are part of Asia, and can't close our eyes and make it go away. As time goes by the Asian influence, commerce and culture will expand within Australia, so we may as well embrace it gracefully.
    aussie
    29th Oct 2012
    2:10pm
    Is This women off her planet. What planet did she come from.. I'm sure it not earth.She saying now that our kids must learn another language.
    This is Australia, and my father went war for our country, he turn in his grave knowing Labour Party going make us beg and for our rights. This joke for all Australian. Tell them speak our language first... them maybe i might do same. but until then my kids can make their own mines up.Teach Australian history first that more importance than Asia.
    Here's what your PM said:

    'Ms Gillard said she wanted to refocus Australia away from Europe's "old countries" towards its near neighbours - particularly China and India'

    So how would you interpret that apart from telling off Europe and sucking up likes of China and India?
    let's all sit back watch now....
    ozimarco
    29th Oct 2012
    2:20pm
    Reading your post, I agree that, for you, your first priority should be to learn English.
    Abby
    29th Oct 2012
    2:29pm
    Definitely off another planet or does not know which side is up and acts on the continuous verbal diarrhoea that sprouts out of her mouth continuously without thought-

    It is only in 2011 that the Labor Party stopped the funding for an Asian Language ?? What a flip flop turn around. Now it is a new Initiative ?
    AmandaR
    30th Oct 2012
    2:02pm
    The irony of blaming the Labour Party is not lost on me. Can nobody remember Mr Abbott's platform in the 2010 election? I suggest some might like to go back and do a bit of research. We will be getting Asian language classes regardless of whether it is the Labour Party or the Coalition leading us forward.
    paris
    29th Oct 2012
    2:16pm
    While I'm all for children learning another language, I don't think it should be confined to Asian, but most importantly they need to have a better grasp of English first! Once their English standard is at a high level (and I don't think it is for many students), it will also make it easier to learn a second language.
    fish head
    29th Oct 2012
    2:28pm
    From a strictly practical point of view i.e 40 years in front of the chalkboard (I am showing my age, aren't I?) where do they think they are going to find the teachers. There's a permanent shortage of language teachers of ALL languages which has been going on for years. A second problem of which few people are aware is that English language structure has become almost an optional subject. Yep, sentence analysis, parsing - the framework of our language is no longer taught; usually skipped over incidently as a problem occurs. All the almost rote practice exercises that my generation underwent has been chucked out and replaced by "creative writing". Good for instinctive writers but how do you improve a child's grasp of the language if the child has no grasp of the structure that needs to be improved? Taking on a second language requires that you KNOW the structure of your first language so you can become aware of the differences in the second.
    Sorry, soapbox retired. I've had this discussion so many times.
    tasmainia
    30th Oct 2012
    1:59am
    Very smart comment
    Pass the Ductape
    30th Oct 2012
    6:21am
    Agree with 'tasmania'- so far 'fish head's' comment has been the most sensible one on this subject.
    aquatrek
    30th Oct 2012
    9:04am
    SPOT ON: others with the appropriate insider knowledge have been on the news saying exactly the same thing. I guess a 'white paper' is supposed to be more than a expression of an idea or three and should have some basis for implementation as well. Foreign languages from primary school onwards seems a way bit radical but then thats Gillard and Co's signature stamp.
    wscifers
    29th Oct 2012
    3:06pm
    With the lowering of standards that are required for entry into todays teaching profession, it is no wonder that the standard of English teaching in public schools have been slipping over the last 40 years. The focus groups in education departments in state governments have formented state government policy to erode discipline, cirriculum and educational methods to the present dismal level.
    Before you start teaching foreign language, a solid understanding f how the English language works is needed for the students to understand how the new, foreign language works.
    But then, the way things are going in Australia these days, I would not be surprised If our kids are only taught the say "Would you like fries with that" in Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai or Indonesian!
    wscifers
    29th Oct 2012
    3:11pm
    Amend to f in line 6 to of in above post, and add a question mark after "Would you like fries with that" With all of the mistakes in my above post, I wonder if I could get a job as a journalist or sub editor?
    RichF
    29th Oct 2012
    4:46pm
    Go for it. Learn a language yourself and see what it's all about. My stepson speaks Indonesian and Japanese fluently following time in an Indonesian university and teaching ESL in Japan for nearly seven years. He is married to a Japanese girl who now speaks good English. I learned both French and Spanish at school. Admittedly they are both rusty now but they were useful when travelling in Europe. And what about those other languages I sort of had a smattering of in the past? Enough to order a meal, buy a train ticket and understand simple directions to a bus station etc And to be polite and say please and thank you. Not, therefore 'knowing' the language but enough to at least make the effort.
    Really everyone should be able to speak at least one other language but us Poms are pretty lazy and think that if we speak loudly enough and long enough the foreigners will eventually understand. The world ain't built that way any more; so perhaps I will go back to Fiji and really learn it - or Malta and learn that again. I reckon we all owe it to the rest of the world to communicate better. Besides, if you know the language you can re interpret any translation and tell when you are being insulted or lied to.
    Grateful
    29th Oct 2012
    4:47pm
    WE are called the "lucky country" and you know wahat happens when your luck runs out, which it inevitably will if you don't keep fortifying it.
    We have failed in educating our kids in the so called "traditional" subjects and you can bet anything that the Asian countries of this world will DOMINATE the mid 21st century while we still can't add up and spell. What's that about 50% of Tasmanian adults being incapable of coping with the present basic demands of life?? Can't even fill in Centreling application forms!!!!!
    How will they be in 10-15 years time when the largest middle class ever to be created (China, India) takes over the world's economy?
    If we can't compete in their world our only hope is that Tony Abbott is not Prime Minister and declaring war on Indonesia. We have NO choice but to fully embrace the Asian "system" or live to regret it. Luck runs out!!!!!
    Pass the Ductape
    29th Oct 2012
    5:46pm
    I know they're talking about me - I can tell! They're all doing it! I don't need to speak their language - I just want to understand what they're saying.......
    Pass the Ductape
    29th Oct 2012
    5:50pm
    I mean - I can say 'hmmmm' in about sixty different langauges but that's hardly going to suffice for very long is it?
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    5:59pm
    Aha a solution with a win win all round - learn sign language and get the FTA channels to have one onboard for the news - like I see when the Yanks have theirs. If that lasted long enough then the chimps could make an effort and catch up to us and we wouldnt need more than a grunt here and a grunt there or a fang baring or two before we threw the dung.
    AmandaR
    30th Oct 2012
    2:06pm
    Now that was really funny Ductape. Made my day. Thanks.
    DAWNIE
    29th Oct 2012
    6:34pm
    My daughter learned Japanese at school and went there as an exchange student, we also hosted a Japanese student with us. Lovely girl and very well educated, learning another language at school was a huge advantage to both of them. We live in an Asian part of the world, Europe is a long way off and they froze us out of trade long ago, Asia is where our country is and this is where we must learn to belong. As a fifth generation Ozzie, my ancesters fought in all the wars that we have been involved in but this is today and another generation, we must help our young people to learn new ways and languages.
    Dawn
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    6:46pm
    1. Mandarin (1.15 billion)
    2. English (1.00 billion)
    3. Hindi (0.60 billion)
    4. Spanish (0.50 billion)
    5. Russian (0.30 billion)
    6. Portuguese (0.24 billion)
    7. Arabic (0.23 billion)
    8. Bengali (0.20 billion)
    9. French (0.20 billion)
    10. Malay/Indonesian (0.18 billion)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_speakers [approx]
    AmandaR
    30th Oct 2012
    2:10pm
    Thanks aquatrek. So English is outnumbered roughly 3.5 to 1 across all languages and almost 2 to 1 in Asian language. I had better hit the books and start learning another language if I plan to keep my employable skills recent and relevant.
    piklo
    29th Oct 2012
    7:03pm
    Gooday people
    I agree with deb we should start going back to basics when I was a kid I had to learn my tables from 2 times to 12 times and backwards and I still know them ( I dont know about backwards now ) I tell my grand kids these tables will get you thru a lot of maths a lot easier but in one ear and out the other they are just not interested but give them a natendo or whatever they are called and you wont get boo out of them and to think these kids are the future of our country god help us, but with that in mind I will be like a lot of others be looking down and haveing a good laugh, what has gone wrong with us ???????
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    9:03pm
    Piklo: nothing has gone wrong with 'us oldies' at all. Electronic technology has come along like a societal tsunami and the monstrous wave has a long way to travel inland yet. There are even predictions that there will be a general dumbing down of western societies as electronic machines take over proactive thought/actions. Humans adapt - thats why we are still here after huge ice ages. So dont despair - its just ubiquitous change after all.
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    7:08pm
    hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm - after a rethink maybe the ALP are onto something - wanna bet that TATA vehicles [the Nano] will be next on the container ships to counterbalance the shiploads of uranium ore going to India ?
    Julkay
    29th Oct 2012
    7:12pm
    They are only doing this because of the different races of people now allowed into Australia. Instead of those people speaking English they want the Australian's to learn their languages. That is B...S...! They come here they learn our language and speak our language. Teach our children the correct way to speak English first!
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    7:17pm
    Keatings 'banana republic' may be coming sooner than we thought would ever be possible
    Wikipedia [my PC God]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic
    "A banana republic is a politically unstable country that economically depends upon the exports of a limited resource (i.e. minerals), and usually features a society composed of stratified social classes, such as a great impoverished lower class and a ruling plutocracy composed of the élites of business [Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer etc.], politics [Juliar], and the military."
    What languages would suite ? English for the upper and Hindi/Mandarin for the lower.
    baza18
    29th Oct 2012
    7:55pm
    Why do people who come to this country need to learn english when we pay for & provide them with their own newspapers radio & tv stations. ( there is even a Arabic radio station)
    Gillard want's us to be able to speak Chinese so we are ready when her commie mates take over the place
    Grateful
    29th Oct 2012
    8:27pm
    Xenophobia any one??? Going very cheap.
    Abby
    29th Oct 2012
    8:55pm
    They could at least put English captions under the foreign TV news - this way they may learn to understand English.
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    8:56pm
    Grateful: Communists do not fall under the Xenophobia umbrella. Gillard and her 'faceless' men are steeped in the ideology - thats precisely why they knifed Kevin07.
    Shame - he is the only one who could speak the Chinese lingo !!
    biddi
    29th Oct 2012
    9:26pm
    great point, Abby!
    Pass the Ductape
    30th Oct 2012
    6:43am
    Yes, I also agree totally with Abby. The foreign news broadcasters seem to have a much better understanding of what makes news - not like the egotistical and self serving news teams we have here in Australia who try to emulate their monotonous, overbearing chatterbox counterparts we see in yankland. I often watch the news from China, Japan and other places, although I can't understand a word of it....... Bring on the subtitles!
    Grateful
    30th Oct 2012
    9:46am
    Aquatrek, believe it or not, it is not ALL about you. I'm sure that baza18 can speak for himself. How many people like Baza18 want this big island to put up high walls so we can keep it as a little world just for US lucky people.
    Sorry, but, get used to it, we ARE part of the Asian world that WILL dominate the future and we are a minnow by comparison, population wise, but we have an enormous opportunity to benefit by our envious position with resources and lifestyle. We are going to be inundated with tourists from the emerging massive and very rich middle class from China and India and they couldn't give a stuff about speaking English and if we want to capitalize on that potential boom we have to "serve" them. And we have to do business in THEIR countries and again, being able to speak THEIR language, will be a pre-requisite. Whoever pays the piper calls the tune and as Asia will be paying us big time, so, we just have to be realistic and stop thinking that English is superior.
    And as for "commies" don't you guys see what is happening to Communism and its philosophies and ideologies? It has been found out and will also be detroyed NEVER to return. Just watch what happens to Communism in China and N Korea in our lifetimes.
    I can't believe what people think, so sad. Must be a miserable life.
    aquatrek
    30th Oct 2012
    11:24am
    Grateful: I will ignore the 'ad hominem' comments and I will explain what I mean - Dictionary definitions of xenophobia include: deep-rooted, irrational hatred towards foreigners (Oxford English Dictionary; OED) I dont think that that is where you were coming from despite the historical significance of WWII conflicts that involved Oz.
    Yes, communism has failed everywhere in the long run [except that for the current ALP faction its what is at their core] and even China is now recognized in that capitalism is driving them forward despite the politburo being communist inspired. Their ideological struggle will be interesting to observe but that will be over time and I will not get to see it unravel - darn. As I have posted already I advised my son to marry an Asian and give his kids a head start. So I knew decades ago that Oz progression would be towards Asia. That is rational logical thinking.
    Figtree
    29th Oct 2012
    9:14pm
    Keating offered this years ago, my daughter was one of those starry eye kids, who took the government at face value. Studied, Japanese from primary through to high school, undertook an Asian Degree at Uni, studied in Thailand and Indonesia; added a BA of Education and taught in Japan. Came home to use her skills to teacher Australian kids, only to find Howard was not interested in Asia. No jobs for all those kids, who had grabbed the new concept, they were all unemployable.
    Will have to wait and see what happens this time. There is a lot of expensive sour tastes still in former Asian Study students mouths.
    aquatrek
    29th Oct 2012
    9:22pm
    me in Figtree also neighbour ?
    Aloysius
    29th Oct 2012
    10:56pm
    English is the business language of the world. Nearly everyone speaks it if they want to do business. Computers are heavily focused on English. Obviously, it is a good idea to appreciate other languages and cultures but a proper command of English is the most important thing to give our kids.
    tasmainia
    30th Oct 2012
    2:17am
    A white paper!! Funny name considering we decided that did'nt work after it was introduced in 1901 so we got rid of it. Al Grassby must be sitting back and saying this is no different to what he did for Multiculturalism in his day when Greek and Italian languages were introduced into schools. Dont the records show that by the 2nd and 3rd generations the children of immigrants consider themselves Aussie, I agree that Asians take pride in speaking English in Asia and Australia (especially Japanese). Let our children learn our language and the history of Australia before anything else. As Aussies travelling we should have some basic communication skills of the country we are visiting as it is only manners and smart. I agree with Fish Head that we dont have teachers with the required skills, so I guess "imported teachers" will be allowed to move to Australia under special Visa allowances to teach our kids - another way to immigrate to Australia and bring the rest of the clan before we work out that this is another big mistake.
    aquatrek
    30th Oct 2012
    9:07am
    SPOT ON: always that 'hidden agenda' with Gillard & Co. They are a devious bunch of apes.
    Figtree
    30th Oct 2012
    3:41pm
    There are heaps of teachers out there but you will not get them back into teaching, they were forced to change career paths after there was no employment in the teaching profession. They don't want to be abused by student totally disinterested in schooling, especially a foreign language. But it is a world wide problem the shortage of teachers, finding them will be interesting.
    Anonymous
    4th Nov 2012
    5:00pm
    Agreed - spot on
    suanne
    30th Oct 2012
    9:07am
    what a bunch of suckholes this govt is why the hell do my grandies have to learn asian get the flaming asians to learn english .the country is overrun with asians as it is .and yes my dad died from the effects of two world wars to keep the b's out of our country and the govt sh....s on our men and lets them in to live here and buy our properties and breed like flies .
    ozimarco
    30th Oct 2012
    10:40am
    I'm rather glad that the generation with your attitude will soon be gone along with the notions of a 'white Australia' that people had to die for. There is no doubt in my mind that, in a hundred years or more, Australia will be an Asian country. I don't think your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have much of a problem with that. I agree, though, that people coming to this country should learn English and be taught in that language. I think the Malaysian experiment where Chinese were allowed to have their own schools and universities has thoroughly failed and is causing disunity and inequality. We should not let that happen here.
    PlanB
    30th Oct 2012
    9:13am
    Yep they are taking over everywhere--

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1036105/How-Chinas-taking-Africa-West-VERY-worried.html


    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/492e0c72-095c-11df-ba88-00144feabdc0.html
    Sylvia
    30th Oct 2012
    9:30am
    Suanne, right on , I can remember WW2 and what went on, my husbands uncle died aged 18, I wonder what they would have thought about we must move on! I think they would ask us at least look ahead and what the consequences will be if we move in the wrong direction, the future generations will curse us for our naivety,mixing us all up so that we will be like ants! selling the country that belongs to Australians, not a bunch of Pollies who think they are right! that is never going to work. We are from different cultures and this makes the world an interesting place, before we go down this path, lets do some serious thinking, and learn to get on with others,at the moment there is no trust and we are a long way from resolving this, so be careful, take it slowly and lets learn how to be friends before we head off into a disaster for everyone.
    aquatrek
    30th Oct 2012
    9:45am
    so that we all understand the ALP 'intent'
    wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_paper
    A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. Specifically in Australia "A government authoritative report giving information or proposals on an issue."
    Authorative ? that implies a legislated proposal - not just an idea for evaluation

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-29/critics-question-white-paper-resourcing/4340002 - Professor Vickers says there is a lack of money and no resources to implement the white paper properly

    More ALP spin so as to 'distract' from the real issues of a 'surplus' derived from cuts to social cohorts who can least afford it - the 'tough' decisions
    jaywalker
    30th Oct 2012
    10:01am
    A few facts on this subject:

    1. Huge amounts of money was put into teaching Indonesian in all schools about 20 years ago - teachers were sent in droves to Indonesia to language courses and almost every school taught it. Eventually this became an "old" idea and money dried up and schools mainly dropped it.
    2. In the meantime teachers of French and/or German disappeared into retirement and were not replaced except in a tiny number of schools, mainly private.
    3. Kids have changed dramatically in that time and many are highly resistant to language study - they see little point in it, and the tiny % that do languages now are mainly in private schools and are the cleverer students from good backgrounds. You will never get the 49% of below average students from poor backgrounds to have any interest in language study - it's far too hard for many of them.
    4. The main reason that children are not learning English as well as they should is because so many hare-brained experimental schemes and methodologies were put into schools by force during the 80s and 90s - Look and Say reading techniques dropping phonetics and the belief that creativity was more important than spelling were imposed on schools from above and as a result people who went to school in that era are now teachers who don't have sufficient literary skills themselves - not their fault but a tragedy for Australia.
    5. Add to all this the fact that many kids are now badly brought up, highly indulged, lacking structure, rules, consequences, respect and manners and having the knowledge and power to manipulate their parents and disrespect teachers, education is becoming a losing battle in this country and elsewhere.
    6. Also add the continuation of hare-brained schemes from politicians who simply don't understand teaching and schools and think it's still just the same as when they went. England is currently offering large salaries to fast-track uni graduates from other disciplines such as law and engineering through a quick teaching course and throwing them into schools because teachers are leaving in droves and/or retiring the moment they can.
    7. None of this is as easy or simple as Julia would have us believe. She should try teaching an Asian language via a video stream to a class of 28 disaffected teenagers. But she will never have to will she, she'll just go on blaming schools and teachers.
    Arfer
    30th Oct 2012
    10:29am
    You mentionde the strain on teachers. If the children had the old fashioned desks where EVERY child face the black board AND teacher they would pay more attention and get on better.
    jaywalker
    1st Nov 2012
    8:18am
    Not meaning to put down your suggestion but sorry to have to tell you but that is the very least of the problems. They mostly do sit like that in high school and it makes no difference to their lack of concentration and poor behaviour caused mainly by indulgent parents and declining values and standards generally.

    Did you see the article today - children as young as six bringing smart phones to schools and kids as young as five using their parents credit card details to shop online. We live in a mad world where desks and chairs make very little difference.
    PlanB
    30th Oct 2012
    12:26pm
    I am out of here I am sick to death of having to chase back to find a post--this is the MOST frustrating forum I have every seen !
    Raine
    30th Oct 2012
    7:02pm
    Well I am not so sure I like this topic... why is Australia becoming more connected to Asia.. is it because they have borrowed so much money from them there is no turning back they nearly have sold our country.. what about our heritage? the British history that is involved with the founding of the country.?.. the people who came over to work the mines to make Australia what it is today and like others say what about the men who died and fought for the country and to make it was before the government decided to make changes... why don`t the people get the choices to do that? have who we like here.. .. well I am sure this Government is changing all that .. I wonder do you think also that we are going to be Australian? they will have to change everything .maybe I am old fashioned here.. I really think that Australia should be Australia and people who come here should be made to learn English and become part of Australia.. if we go to China or any other Asian country are we allowed to carry on our own customs there... I think not! while I have a lot of respect for Asian people I still think that to come here they should be Australians not we become part of Asia.. how can we call on America to help us if we do that.. they are our strongest allies and in times of troubles they would help but China is not happy with our alliance with them.. see what happened when they sent Marines to NT.. they were not happy at all.. guess I could go on and on but won`t as too many against what I am saying but we can put our own voice to paper and say what we think here right ? whether it is right or wrong I still think Australia should be just Australia and people who come here should become as we are not we as they are.. enough said I think!!

    30th Oct 2012
    7:31pm
    I agree with PlanB to a point regarding this particular forum. At the same time I want to make a couple of points. China is no more Communistic than Australia. Why would there be a need to learn Mandarin, Wu, Cantonese, Min or even Shanghainese, especially when most of the languages are mutually unintelligable? Remember that only just over half the population speak Mandarin. Added to that, is the fact that every child is bound to attend middle school until they are 15 where they are all taught English. Admittedly, mostly by Chinese teachers, so the level of English is poor. BUT, at least half the adult middle class have or are attending English classes taught by Westerners with English as their first language.
    Ritza
    31st Oct 2012
    12:18am
    Well folks ,
    education starts in the home. Look at your language and the way you speak English Do you read the paper every day?
    Do you discuss ideas with your children?
    Do you correct your child's spoken English?
    Do you take away the Ipad, Iphone, Facebook, computer Playstation TV etc and actually talk to your child on a regular basis
    Do you teach and model good manners to your child... grandparents can....
    Do you ACTIVELY monitor what your child watches on TV
    Does your child watch Home and Away or Big Brother?


    Teachers have those students 5 hours a day
    More teaching goes on by your child watching you the parent and you have them the other 19 hours.

    I am tired of teacher -bashing .......it can get fixed up at school..
    Folks if you cannot do it with your child one to one.... how do you think a teacher can do it with 30 students..


    The curriculum is filled up with bus safety, bike safety, road safety, water safety, child protection, nutrition,PE, English..reading,writing and spoken, maths, science, social science, aboriginal ed, craft, art, dancing folk and other, music , singing, library, book week, education week, open day, school productions, excursions, school sport, assembly let alone all the other stuff introduced ... juvenile justice etc oh and drug education.... do you drink or smoke in front of your child?
    Abby
    31st Oct 2012
    5:28am
    We used to have 6 hours face to face teaching and that still gave the teacher preparation time etc in an 8 hour shift.

    Perhaps the curriculum should be filled with basics such as English and Mathematics which are the foundation to life as we know it.
    jaywalker
    1st Nov 2012
    8:23am
    You are so absolutely right, Ritza. Exactly what I have been saying o this and other threads. The general public has absolutely no idea what many schools are like today and still think everything is just as it was when they went to school.

    Surely you only have to look at the behaviour of kids in the street and on busses etc to see that is not so. And teachers are not miracle workers - children don't suddenly change the behaviour they are allowed at home when they walk into a classroom - not these days with no effective punishments available.
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    8:30am
    Try telling any of that to the now Education Minister [minister of failure].
    Yet social circumstances have changed radically from the days of leaving the front door unlocked, playing out until dark etc It is the society rule makers that have not kept up with ubiquitous change.
    Anonymous
    4th Nov 2012
    5:10pm
    Excellent comments Ritza - sick of hearing what next someone suggests is taught at school.
    It is meant to teach us to cope with life earning a living and adding value to our community and anyway the rest of the business world speaks English it is the universal language much to the angst of the French!
    Let the children learn the 3 R's and have the ability to think things out for themselves and leave literate and able to take up a job and earn money taking responsibility for themselves .
    Boof
    31st Oct 2012
    11:30am
    I think it is a good idea to learn an Asian language.
    When I went to High School, we either had to do a tech and language, or two languages and business principals. I think one language in high school is sufficient, with all the other things one has to study. ( Maybe a bit of Latin of course, for obvious reasons) A student can always study another language afterwards, if so inclined. A lot of students these days alrready speak their native language as well as English. If they come here from another country they should be required to speak Englsih, though. No excuses.
    ozimarco
    31st Oct 2012
    11:47am
    One cannot be forced to learn a language. If your heart is not in it, you won't learn. Therefore, I think it is pointless to make language learning compulsory. It should be available, though, to those who really want to learn. Learning a language should be fun and interactive.
    aquatrek
    31st Oct 2012
    11:55am
    To adequately and proficiently learn another language is very difficult unless there is the constant ongoing interaction with that particular language. Some lucky persons have a 'gift' for it while others do not.
    Aloysius
    31st Oct 2012
    12:42pm
    Even articulate people use split infinitives in our own language so what hope is there for successful teaching? People regularly say "should of" when they mean "should have" and TV news-readers don't know the difference between "fewer" and "less" or between "persuade" and "convince". I wish that I wasn't a pedant.

    31st Oct 2012
    3:57pm
    Is there any point in getting involved with these forums if, when any facts are pointed out by teachers or somebody else who actually has some real knowledge of the subject is completely ignored? Why would you want to introduce Mandarin into a school when you have virtually no teachers to teach it & to teach it to students who no longer have the ability to add 2 plus 2 without a calculator. Just note what Ritza has said.
    jaywalker
    1st Nov 2012
    8:30am
    And me too, Innes.

    Just exactly what I was trying to point out. I learned both French and German at school for five years and can still get by with basics in those countries and can read it better than speak it BUT a) I was in a selective academic high school and b)how much have I really used it? Just on occasional trips abroad and even then I didn't need it because all of Europe speaks English - they have to as they are in the EU Community and it is the common language.

    Today's kids know only too well that they don't need Asian languages - most are unlikely to ever go to Asian countries and if they do it will be in tourist areas and they will be understood. Where is the incentive? I love languages but I also understand that most kids don't and never will and compulsion is not the answer.
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    8:38am
    After a NSW TAFE Spanish course I went to Guatemala to learn Espanol in 2005. I ended up 'brushing up' the indigenous 1-on-1 teachers English and gave her my electronic translator. She knew after a few minutes that it was useful to her and easy to use but had its own dictionary limitations.
    Is that not the way of the now & future as electronics replace the need for personal teachers ?
    Beemee
    31st Oct 2012
    5:37pm
    Oh darn I have got it all wrong again.
    I thought when someone entered a new country, they had to learn the language or make some attempt. Didn't know we had to learn it for those that came in!!!
    Now how far am I behind....let me think....Got to the lingo right for the poms who came over as TPI, Oops there's Italian, Oh not forgetting Japanese visitors so better add that to the list. Indonesian and Chinese well lot of languages there as you move from area to area. Oh yeah, the Africans almost forgot them. Toss in a few other nations from Europe, and I might have them all down pat.
    Better get busy because I have a lot to learn and really fast, sad thing is before I get them all done, I will be in a pine box.

    I have no idea what this ridiculous woman is doing and I bet she doesn't either. Between her and the ex Anna Bligh, laying bets now that we will not see another woman in a head position again as these 2 really stuffed it.

    31st Oct 2012
    7:36pm
    Good one Beemee. But please be fair. Because of Obama & Gillard, it will probably be 50 years before we see another black man or a woman in the White House
    aquatrek
    31st Oct 2012
    7:47pm
    Fair ? what a silly comment re the two present government incumbents. What the 'Dickens' has Beemee's post got to do with the USA ? Have you had your meds ? If the Gillard 'reference' is to the Oz parliament then you may well be correct.
    Anonymous
    4th Nov 2012
    5:19pm
    Apt Innes as usual :)
    Beemee
    31st Oct 2012
    7:46pm
    Yeah and look what they both have done, innes.
    They are both about as popular as a person taking a pork chop into a synagogue.
    Both totally unwelcome.

    31st Oct 2012
    9:48pm
    Are you serious aquatrek? Don't you think any of the powers in the USof A have been watching the female effort in Australia? Why do you have to be insulting & rude, as well as ignorant? Am I not allowed to add to Beemee's comment, with my own twist. Maybe somebody else on here can explain it to the extra Terrestrial.
    aquatrek
    31st Oct 2012
    10:42pm
    whoooooooooooaaaaa there Tiger: 'Why do you have to be insulting & rude, as well as ignorant?' > having a so called 'pink slipper' moment are we olde chap ? The topic 'twist' as you put it engages the USA ? MHO is that the USA would spend less than 10 secs on this - all they are concerned about is that Oz allows their bases to remain/expand as they see fit.
    Mr Packer today pointed out the projections re the expansion of Chinese tourism into Oz/Cairns - they now exceed the traditional sources of the UK and NZ. That is not even remotely a USA market. Now that is on topic.
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    8:18am
    The Asians [looks alone] that were recently interviewed after a non-stop flight from Shanghai to Cairns certainly spoke quite good english. I was very interested in becoming qualified to teach in China through a Canadian school established in Harbin but discovered that visas would no longer be issued due to age restrictions.
    I have gleaned that you are engaged in teaching Chinese english. Were any of your pupils on that inaugural flight ?
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    7:57am
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Larry-Pickering/236991276355038
    An Asian View Of Gillard's Asia: An Oz business persons comment - "Asian countries have only their interests at heart certainly not Australia's. I have done business through many Asian nations over a very long period of time and Asia is all about Asia NOT Australia!!! "
    Anonymous
    1st Nov 2012
    9:17am
    Yes aquatrek, I am involved in Immigration & in Education, but in Australia, not China. Although we specialise in Chinese. We would not have had anybody on that flight. All our students fly from Shanghai & other Cities direct, non stop to Sydney. As I am not involved in teaching in China, other than doing guest classes when I am over there, I am not clear on the Visa restrictions. Although I have not checked it, I had understood that the restriction on teacher's ages was more from the employers point than the actual teacher. It is possible that the people that you met on the flight had studied at one of the Government Language Colleges. These are pretty good & produce results way above the Middle Schools. You are quite correct in your statement that they only have the Asian interests at heart. They are much more money hungry & money aware than any Westerners that I have ever met, including Americans. Bear in mind that any students that are coming to Australia to study are from, by Chinese standards, a very successful & very wealthy family. The total costs of getting a Uni degree for an overseas student can often be around $A250,000. That is a lot of money from anybody who does not live in Shanghai & who would be subject to an average weekly wage of about $A70. Very few of them come to Australia to work in mining. Most are legal students that wish to get an acceptable Western Uni Education & obtain PR. There is no way that they could be compared with the illegal Boat People.
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    9:28am
    Post much research over a few recent years the Chinese Govt were beginning to enforce the restriction of visas to anyone over the age 60. Not that they are singular in that aspect because many other countries have the same ruling. I didn't think that being caught out and either spending time in a Chinese prison or having my passport stamped as revoked for future visits was worth the risk.
    Recently in academia land I worked very closely with those that you describe - how the academic bodies can adequately/fairly mark their input was beyond mine and other mature aged students comprehension. Complaining met with a shrug and a 'hands tied' response. Nowadays its all about student quotas and uni income streams that take precedence over equality.
    Beemee
    1st Nov 2012
    8:41am
    I don't care who comes into Australia as they are all for pillage and plunder for what they want. Once done we are going to be left with cleaning up the mess. Similar to having the whole street to your house for a BBQ and once all over and they go home, you have a pile of mess to clean up.

    If I was in power, my rules would keep most of them out. We already pay over priced wages to get the best in their field, (yep, highly qualified jerks), yet get little benefits from it. My rules would be you want to mine here? Right contract states at the end of the course of years you WILL fix all the damage done, you WILL replant trees, and you WILL fill in the bloody big hole in the ground.
    I bet most wouldn't entertain mining here with those rules.
    Its getting to a point or very close to, where Australia is no longer Australia, we are being trampled on and the Government goes around with blinkers on. They don't want to look further than the next heap of money they can gleam from whomever wants to do whatever here in this country.
    Not only are the overseas people in it for themselves aquatrek, but also our government who are in it for their own interests (money, something that a lot of us don't have in abundance). Greed is killing this planet in whatever aspect you choose, whether it be mining, business takeovers, charging the people excess rates for utilities, or even those invading other countries. All boils down to greed, pure and simple.

    Mark my words for those yet to come, be it your grand children or great grand children.
    When man has removed almost all the trees off this planet: Monsanto has full control of food growth via GMO; and man has killed one another off in various ways: there will BE a population selection, and food will only go to those they want to survive.
    Already Monsanto has a lot of swing with modified foods, which by the way will NOT germinate so you won't be able to grow your own food to survive, and in Kew Gardens (UK) they have stockpiled seeds from approx 10% of all the known plants on the planet.
    These do not add up? They are tied together and believe me it will happen, and NO gold, NO money irrespective of how rich you are, etc will allow you to buy anything because there will be a governing body who will be the ones who will say who is going to get what!

    Glad I wont be around when that all happens. Not many years left of my life span, but it is when my great grandchildren are my age, then that will be a time for implementation.
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    8:49am
    read the book Soylent Green - also a movie staring Charlton Heston

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    8:53am
    ps - its not just Oz that are in the cross-hairs of the sustainable population gun. China has developed relationships around the planet so as to secure food and eventually water rights. I am not acutely aware of any other national program that can equate to China's.
    Beemee
    1st Nov 2012
    9:06am
    My info isn't from a fictional book that may well be close to the truth.

    It is the duty of the second beast to ensure that everyone is required to bear the mark of the first beast on their right hand or forehead, "so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast's name or the number that stood for its name" (Revelation 13:17). The vision of the first beast concludes with a riddle where John reveals the number of the Beast and its significance: "Wisdom is needed here: One who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six."(Revelation 13:18).

    So here we have some governing body selectively choosing who will eat or drink to sustain life.
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    9:16am
    haha - biblical prophecies that equate to what are loosely termed 'science fiction' novels. It is in the very nature of humans to attempt to 2nd guess what is coming around the corner haha. 2,000 years ago the world view didnt go too far beyond the Mediterranean shores because that was where the populations had intensified. Just a localized drought put the 'fear of god' into the populace. I must get a rubber stamp for my forehead - a 666 / 999 reversible one haha
    Beemee
    1st Nov 2012
    9:48am
    Obviously you are person who has no concept of the true meaning of 666. It is not a mark, stamp, tattoo and for heaven's sake not these stupid bar codes either, and neither is it his/its name. I am fed up with mainline churches who spout off the meaning of 666 who really haven't taken the time to read what it says in depth.
    It states:
    Wisdom is needed and One who understands can calculate....
    I'll explain if you have a heart to listen and understand the true meaning of it.
    Break it down to separate numbers and this will make it much more plainer.
    600 this is a time frame...In the 600th year of Noah (first clue), there was evil in the land, much like today with murder, incest, etc.
    60 these are the number of pillars that were in the tabernacle in the desert.
    6 the number of man himself.
    So tie it all in for those with common sense can easily understand....
    In a time of great evil in the land (600), a man (6) will come forth and profess to be the returning god who will con people to believe he is the One and even have a tabernacle (60) and use the church to do his works to get the masses to believe in him.

    Hey thanks for the info too that you stated above ....Quote: China has developed relationships around the planet so as to secure food and eventually water rights. Unquote.
    You are right too, maybe without knowing it, that when the end times come with the 200,000,000 strong army, it is China (REV 9:16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand:) And it is the only country in the world that I am aware of that could amass this army. Made worse too by the fact that China does the one child per family rule, where many children are aborted during pregnancy if found to be female. That is sad really.

    But yeah, I am concerned for Australia in the long term, would we get really get any benefits from the Chinese growing food here?
    Sounds silly doesn't it? Imagine me going to your home and planting all my food crops on your land, use your water and then harvest it and leave you with nothing. Pay you for the use, yes, but you can't eat money! Something wrong with that equation.

    Maybe having our kids learn Chinese etc in schools is the beginning of an open door for even more to come, not only growing food here and as you said the water rights, but there is much we have yet to know.
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    10:08am
    way off topic but hhhhmmm - its a guessing game - who is 666/999 ? hehe
    I would go for Ron Hubbard at present even though he has gone to the great science fiction writers hotel room in the big sky place - born 13/03/1911 - 13/03/12 - 13/03/03 - 3 x 3 = 9 / 6 inverted
    thats close so its Scientology for my bid !! hehe [luurv trivia contests]

    back sorta on topic - China's population statistics:
    http://www.os-connect.com/pop/p2ai.htm
    1.5 billion by 2050 - so the 200 million army just doesn't compute to the biblical prophecy as India will be 1.6 billion [approx figures baring wars, bird flu viruses, other plagues, ubiquitous global climate change, tsunamis, twitter/facebook influences, i-devices , the NBN 'global' rollout etc etc etc etc etc]

    1st Nov 2012
    1:28pm
    Aquatrek, I don't know who told you about the Visa situation for over 60s' in China. As far as I am aware, the problem does not exist. I think I have had 10 X 1 year, multi entry Visas since turning 60, all granted within 2 or 3 days at the normal price & can honestly say that I have never had a single question raised or got in or out of Australia as easily or as quickly as I have in China.
    aquatrek
    1st Nov 2012
    2:28pm
    darn - maybe I failed at getting the correct info - the Visa I refer to is a work one - not just entry. If one applies for a business related visa then they are different. Just getting to know the different ones was a course in itself. I did research thoroughly and long because to outlay a cupla thousand $$ plus air fares was at risk. Schools were always eager to get the $$ upfront of course but none guaranteed the outcomes after graduation - in that I was going to do a TESOL course 1st then try to get to teach at a school - govt or private. Initially it was seen as a prefecture [?] based rule but then appeared to be a govt overall rule. Anyway water under the bridge now. Thanks for the discussion.

    1st Nov 2012
    3:00pm
    I think I jumped to conclusions aquatrek. I go on business, but don't work there. I have an American friend over there who teaches English in an International School. He comes of age shortly & has already been told that his teaching career in China finishes that day. I had understood that the actual problem lies with the employer, but you might be right. Just out of interest, I will find out definitely on my next trip.
    Crazy Horse
    3rd Nov 2012
    12:04am
    Whata load of xenophobic claptrap that has been posted here. This is about Australians being able to take advantage of the opportunities being generated by the huge middle classes emerging in Asia, particulalry in China and India (which BTW were both on our side in "the War"). About maintaining our standard of living. FACT: We are a lot closer to these gangbuster economies than to any European or Amercan country. FACT: The focus of the world's economy is shifting to Asia. FACT: One person every five oin the world speaks chinese. It's great to see a politican who is thinking beyond short term electoral advantage and planning for the good of the country 25, 50 years or more into the future.

    3rd Nov 2012
    3:59am
    That would be a good argument Crazy Horse except it is based on fallacy. There is no such language as Chinese. There are a minimum of 5 official languages spoken in China, of which Mandarin is spoken by about one in nine in the World. There are probably more Chinese with some level of English speaking than there are that speak Mandarin, the most common language over there. I don't think there is much doubt that English is now the most commonly spoken & understood language on Earth.
    toot2000
    3rd Nov 2012
    9:14am
    James Packer thinks we need another Sydney casino to attractive rich gamblers from Asia and his new 5 Star hotel and Casino on the waterfront is charging full steam ahead.

    You can forget Las Vegas, the number one gambling casino in the world is in Macau, the second biggest is Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore and it looks like Packer will cash in big time with this new venture.

    He thinks we have the wrong idea about China and see them as a scary, Communist nation. "We need to stop viewing China like it's the Cold War and start seeing them as a modern member of the industrialised world - many bureaucrats and business people who have not been to China have no idea of how much it has changed and how much they are doing to lift their people out of poverty."
    I have a feeling he’s right.
    Twyla
    3rd Nov 2012
    9:31am
    Educated Asians speak excellent English. I would hazzard a guess that the standard reached of any Asian language taught at school in Australia would not be great. Also, who are going to teach these children?

    When I was at school we were taught French. The teacher, however, was not a French speaker. The level we reached on leaving school was appalling. We might have been able to translate simple French texts, but as for speaking the language fluently ...!

    Unless the grammar of English is taught, it is extremely difficult to learn another language. Do they teach grammar in schools now?

    Having said this, I do believe that where-ever possible people should learn another language. This is extremely beneficial for brain health, especially as we get older. People who are bilingual have greater mental reserves.

    The language most spoken worldwide is Spanish, but for trade and business, English would be the preferred and main language.

    3rd Nov 2012
    10:16am
    Some reasonable points Twila. However, I believe that "Asiafication" generally means Chinese. The fact is that only a little less than 2/3rds of Chinese people actually speak Mandarin, but I believe that more than that number speak English as a second language. It is also a fact that even less Chinese learn Mandarin as a second language. Strangely enough, it is mostly rural people that have no education whatsoever & have moved to Cities like Shanghai that actually pick up languages like Shanghainese, as a second language, through total emersion. It would appear rather foolish for Westerners to learn to speak Mandarin when it is very seldom even taught as a second language in the Chinese areas that speak the other languages, like Cantonese or Wu, over there. My personal belief is that we would be a lot wiser to teach Indonesian or Malay, which is close enough to be interchangeable. In time, we are going to be more involved in business & living, with Indonesia than China or India.
    aquatrek
    3rd Nov 2012
    11:49am
    The hairbrained ALP proposals are: 1 - Mandarin, 2 - Hindi, 3 - Indonesian 4 - Japanese

    1 - Innes has well and truly explained that one to death - useless

    2 - I have traveled extensively in Sri Lanka, India and Nepal where English is the norm - so that notion is useless

    3 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_language
    "A modern dialect of Malay - its in the Constitution of Indonesia 1945 Chapter XV.
    Most Indonesians, aside from speaking the national language, are often fluent in another regional language (examples include Javanese, Sundanese and Madurese) which are commonly used at home and within the local community. Most formal education, as well as nearly all national media and other forms of communication, are conducted in Indonesian."
    So here is a national language, NO ENGLISH as a 2nd layer, that would have some merit.

    4 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_language
    "Japanese is the de facto official language of Japan. K?go is the dominant method of both speaking and writing Japanese."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language_education_in_Japan
    "Almost all students graduating high school in Japan have had several years of English language education, however most still do not have any command of spoken English."
    So Japanese as a language to learn in Oz is pointless.

    The idea that Oz primary students be 'forced' to learn another language, apart from Malay, is ridiculous given that opposition support from many of the post above from people who actually work in the education system.
    aquatrek
    3rd Nov 2012
    11:51am
    Oz kids would be better off learning Kiwi speak so that six and sex are never confused.
    aquatrek
    3rd Nov 2012
    12:00pm
    Maybe Japanese was thrown into the pot because Japan is a satellite construct of the UN & USA post WWII. If that is the case then throw in Taiwanese and Korean.
    Twyla
    3rd Nov 2012
    11:52am
    Innes, interesting comments about language distribution in China.

    Malay/Indonesian would be relatively easier to learn. With the many Malay university students we have in Australia, opportunities for learning the correct pronunication would be possible.
    Twyla
    3rd Nov 2012
    12:09pm
    I used to speak Bazaar Malay many, many years ago. I lived there for several years during the Malay Emergency.

    A cousin is a teacher of Japanese. She lived there for six months of each year for quite a long time. It is a very challenging language to learn.
    nightie
    3rd Nov 2012
    1:20pm
    community languages in schools do not work for those children who are not from that background it is a waste of resource and education budget. My children had community languages from kindergarten, the only children selected to perform at school events in these languages were children from that background.
    I think it is about time that we take a lesson from European countries that have core languages taught in tandem with their national language.
    We need to do business with Asian countries
    I think it would be a good thing for the Australian government to choose one language and one language only to be taught at all schools to begin with, it needs to be compulsory and it needs to be a language selected that will benefit our Australian children. The languages also need to be used in teaching core subjects alongside English. I feel that future generations will then have a huge advantage with trade, business and opportunities for employment. Take out the community languages that are presently in our school, they do not benefit all children at all.

    3rd Nov 2012
    1:59pm
    I have very little knowledge of the subject other than a business interest & observation. I have seen many Chinese children that have been learning English in Middle Schools for 10 years who would be extremely lucky to achieve IELTS 4 level. The same children that come here to study & are lucky enough to be in Western Homestay situation, reach IELTS 6 to 7 in as little as 3 months. Total immersion seems to be the only training that works. It would appear that given the right environment, the learning capacity of children is unbelievable.
    aquatrek
    3rd Nov 2012
    2:46pm
    Your Chinese observations back up that Japanese model whereby after years of English they still cannot speak it adequately.
    nightie IMHO is on the correct track - Indonesian/Malay and maybe Thai/Viet as a 3rd option. Philippines didn't get a mention by the ALP but I think that English is strong there business wise.
    Even though the ALP proposal was a 'white paper' it doesn't seem to have been thought out very well.

    3rd Nov 2012
    4:33pm
    I believe that nightie is on the right track as well, as I opined at 10.16 AM this morning. It is only a matter of time before we either get into bed with the Indonesians or they invade us. Everybody is talking about how China is going to save the World economy, but when you attend banquets every night & stay in 6 star hotels, you do not see the actual facts. Food & wage inflation is rampant & hidden by the fake GDP figures which are being made worse by the controlled currency. They are on the verge of a residential real estate bubble burst that will make the American sub prime look like a playground game. A working class couple in Australia earning a gross $75,000PA between then, can buy a new home in the outer areas of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane for $400,000, or just over 5 years gross income. A working couple in say Shanghai or Beijing, earning around 35,000 Yuen between them can move to an outer area & buy the skin of a 2 bedroom flat for around 1.5million Yuen & spend at least another years income plastering the walls & installing a bathroom & kitchen. Total, around 45 years gross income. The well educated, intelligent, successful & wealthy Chinese are getting their children out of China in droves. New student visas from China will exceed 300,000 in 2012 & America many more. China has big problems emerging & we are relying on them to rescue us. Bureaucrats & high flying Politicians will quote the GDP figures to us but they have never been near to or actually seen the new cities that have been build with the only residents being the cleaners. The unoccupied edifices count towards the GDP.
    evilmonk
    4th Nov 2012
    12:52pm
    Many primary schools already learn Indonesian - one of my children, who has been 'learning' it now for almost 4 years still speaks very little - he can count to 10 and knows a handful of other words - and this is a child who is intelligent and able to read, write and do maths well above the level required for his age.
    LOTE has already failed.
    nightie
    7th Nov 2012
    12:22am
    that's why community languages as taught are a waste of money and resources. the teachers say it's immersion and not designed to make a child multilingual. Two hours of precious school time a week dedicated to immersing a child for seven years in a culture and language does not work. My children (one of whom now speaks,reads and writes four other languages other than her mother tongue of English, learnt them post school. The community language she learnt is the same as your child's standard, count to ten, colours,simple greetings and responses)didn't benefit the community language programme. Language needs to be taught with concentrated repetition from a native speaker to get the pronounication correct and there should be no English involved when the language learning is in progress. Only one language other than English should be mandatory from K-12 so that ALL Australian children can be bilingual and not just the few who are fortunate to have parents that speak a language other than English as their mother tongue. nightie

    7th Nov 2012
    4:47pm
    I think that we misunderstand each other nightie. By immersion as a language tool, I refer to total immersion 24/7 for probably 3 months. I have watched Chinese students that we are involved with, come to Australia & move into a home stay situation with a Chinese family. You compare these to kids that move into a western home & the learning is amazing.
    My idea of total immersion is a situation where not a single member of staff speaks a single word of Chinese. If the child asks for Wheat Bix with Niunai, it will get Wheat Bix without milk because nobody knows that niunai is Mandarin for cow milk. The next day it will be Wheat Bix & Milk. QED.


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