Multilingualism and assimilationism in Australia's literacy-related educational policies
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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.
International Journal of Multilingualism
© 2015 Taylor & Francis (Routledge). This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Multilingualism on 17 Feb 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14790718.2015.1009372
Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics