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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, LA 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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Abstract

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, LA
Keywords: Language and languages, Modern, Curriculum planning, Language policy, Second language acquisition
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2001 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

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

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