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Multilingualism and assimilationism in Australia's literacy-related educational policies
Griffith Univ, Sch Languages & Linguistics, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1323-1548
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Multilingualism, ISSN 1479-0718, E-ISSN 1747-7530, Vol. 12, no 2, 162-177 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Australia is a country of high linguistic diversity, with more than 300 languages spoken. Today, 19% of the population aged over 5 years speak a language other than English at home. Against this background, we examine government policies and prominent initiatives developed at national level in the past 30 years to address the challenge of offering 'Literacy for all', in particular focusing on minority language speaking children. Across the examined policies and initiatives, a distinct negative correlation can be observed: the more multilingual Australia has become, the more assimilationist the policies, and the more monolingual the orientation of the society that governments have sought to establish through policy. We argue that to enhance literacy outcomes more generally, this orientation needs to be reversed. We explain why policy understanding and approach need to instead promote the maintenance of home languages and support literacy acquisition in these languages.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2015. Vol. 12, no 2, 162-177 p.
Keyword [en]
Australia, bilingualism, diversity, literacy policies, minority language, multiculturalism
National Category
Languages and Literature General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-46843DOI: 10.1080/14790718.2015.1009372ISI: 000371079600002OAI: diva2:1037461
Available from: 2016-10-15 Created: 2016-10-15 Last updated: 2016-10-31Bibliographically approved

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Schalley, Andrea C.Eisenchlas, Susana A.
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