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Languages other than English in Tasmanian primary schools, 1996-1998 : teachers' perspectives on policy and implementation


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Harbon, Lesley A 2001 , 'Languages other than English in Tasmanian primary schools, 1996-1998 : teachers' perspectives on policy and implementation', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Over the past thirty years, much research on primary level foreign language
education has been conducted in the areas of language immersion/bilingualism
and communicative methodologies, and little on the significant area of foreign
language curriculum implementation. In fact, much of the literature existing on
primary foreign language curriculum implementation is based on anecdotal
evidence about what teachers have long "known" (Met & Galloway, 1992).
This study presents findings concerning foreign language curriculum policy
implementation in the state of Tasmania, Australia in the 1990s. The Tasmanian
Department of Education and the Arts (DEA) released its Languages other than
English (LOTE) Policy in November 1995 (DEA, 1995a), responding to national
and international trends in delivering foreign language curriculum programs at
primary level. The focus of this study is on both Policy intentions and primary
LOTE teachers' perceptions of Policy intentions. It also traces Tasmanian
primary LOTE teachers' reports of how districts and schools were implementing
the Policy and how teachers themselves negotiated a new curriculum area.
A conceptual framework based on the work of Fullan (1991a) and Kali& and
Lundgren (1979) structured the data within existing theories of curriculum policy
implementation. Utilising both quantitative and qualitative data collection
methods, data were assembled to create a picture of models of implementation in
schools and teachers' practices and beliefs about the policy/practice nexus.
The findings show that many components suggested by the research literature as
necessary in language policy are evident in the Tasmanian LOTE Policy. Three
key components characterised the "intended" Tasmanian LOTE Policy: a
guaranteed eight-year pathway of study for students; "team" delivery by the
LOTE specialist with the generalist class teacher; and provision of information
technology hardware and software for teacher and student use. School and
classroom implementation of the Policy was through semi-specialists, visiting,
and peripatetic teachers delivering communicative-based language and culture
programs, supported by generalist class teachers, as intended by Policy. Reasons
for LOTE teachers implementing programs as they did, and issues for teachers
implementing curriculum change, are discussed.
This study contributes to an understanding of how LOTE curriculum policy is
constructed in practice. It is significant for policy developers who match intended
curriculum with operationalised curriculum for evaluation purposes.
Conclusions are drawn about the factors influencing teachers' negotiation of the
policy implementation process. Recommendations are made regarding further
research, establishing which policies and practices can assist teachers to continue
to meet the challenge of curriculum implementation.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Harbon, Lesley A
Keywords: Language and languages, Languages, Modern, Curriculum planning, Language policy, Second language acquisition
Copyright Holders: The Author
Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2001. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 296-325)

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