The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Language learning > Comments

Language learning : Comments

By Penny Vos, published 6/5/2008

Esperanto is the best choice for a general primary school strategy for LOTE in Australia.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All
Children should be taught to read and write their own language well before they are expected to attempt another. The general standard of the English skills of school leavers and the tertiary-trained is appalling. Many teachers do not have appropriate English skills, and standards of the written media are absolute rubbish.
Posted by Mr. Right, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 10:18:27 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Iím inclined to think that the most necessary language skills a student should be taught in Australian schools (other than English) should be note taking skills including shorthand.

Note taking skills such as shorthand would be of use throughout the personís life, while learning a second language is really of use only if the person is living in a country that uses that language.

Note taking skills are best learnt before the student reaches senior high school or university, when note taking becomes a necessity, and it could be a case that many students fail or do not do well in these years because they do not have sufficient note taking skills or study skills.

So English 1st, note taking skills 2nd, second language 3rd.
Posted by HRS, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 10:23:49 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
As an export-orientated economy with a population of largely European descendants in an Asia-Pacific region, it is a act of damned foolishness that the population as a whole is not well-versed in the languages of the region.

As much as I am charmed by Esperanto (and not the least for its popularity among anarchists), I do not think it is the best choice for a second language among Australian school children. In my opinion, Bahasa, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Hindi (for example) are better choices.
Posted by Lev, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 10:39:21 AM
Find out more about this user Visit this user's webpage Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
There is no mention in this article of any other 'international' language. Esperanto is not the only one and there is another, of a different nature, in widespread use. The "Blissymbols" developed by Charles Bliss, an Austrian Jew who migrated to Australia by way of Dachau, Buchenwald and Hongkew. The Blissymbols are not well known but they were intended to be a type of non-spoken Esperanto where symbols and combinations of symbols could be used as a 'bridge' between languages. The Blissymbols are now used as (a) a tool for many people with severe communication impairments and (b) in emergency and disaster zones when there is no common language.
That is the first point I would like to make.
The second point I would like to make is that, as mentioned in the article, it takes far longer to learn Mandarin or Japanese - or almost any other Asian language. They also, despite many statements to the contrary have little relevance to Australian children. While we do not want to deny children the opportunities to learn these languages if they wish the reality is that they will do far better at languages with an Indo-European base and would do even better if we concentrated on using the resources already available in the community. We also need to strengthen trade ties with regions other than China (the only country Rudd has any real interest in). Spanish is spoken by approximately 20% of the world's population. It is rarely taught here. I suggest we need to urgently review our language teaching priorities and, unless we are prepared to devote ten times the time to Mandarin then it should be taken out of the curriculum as the level achieved is a waste of time and effort and does nothing to enhance language ability.
Posted by Communicat, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 12:23:33 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
I would have thought teaching in general Linguistics (in particular, leaning the international phonetic alphabet) would be more useful than learning a language with limited applications. This would put students in a good position to learn any language. I'd question whether a mere 10 hours training in Esperanto would equip teachers to teach any language, especially given the abysmal level of English expression evident these days- where one assumes at least some of the teachers have at least tertiary level training, if not a major in English.

I would suggest that teaching Asian languages (especially those which don't use the Roman alphabet) would take up too much time at school when there are so many other important subject areas (like science), although there is some merit in teaching widespread languages like Spanish. My personal experience of learning German helped with English (English is after all, is a Germanic language, and German grammar so complex it made English seem easy) but of course German is of limited use outside Europe and scientific/academic literature.

I note Ms Vos' assertion that: [teaching Esperanto]"... models fairness, and equal respect for all cultures".

Why do all cultures have to be "respected equally"?
Posted by viking13, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 4:48:57 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
School systems need to work out whether cultural awareness is the goal of LOTE programs or that of language acquisition. If cultural awareness is the goal - can this not be delivered in a more effective and efficient manner? (in an already crowded curriculum) If language acquisition is the goal - follow the research, start them young and do it properly.
Posted by bfg, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 8:18:39 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy