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Student perceptions about their literacy development and language(s) practices – A Smolicz Award research project
The Smolicz Award was established in 2009 to honour the legacy of Professor Jerzy (George) Smolicz AM (1935 to 2006) in the areas of languages and multicultural education.
Professor Smolicz was:
- professor in the Department of Education
- director of the Centre for Intercultural Studies and Multicultural Education at the University of Adelaide
- chair of the former Multicultural Education Committee (MEC) 1985 to 2005.
He contributed towards government policies through his membership of several committees, including one that produced the report – Education for a Cultural Democracy (1984). This report became the blueprint for successive South Australian governments in the area of multicultural policy.
In conjunction with the Adelaide Secondary School of English (ASSOE) and the School of Languages, MELC developed a small-scale research project – ‘student experiences and perceptions about their literacy development and language(s) practices’. Focusing on students of Syrian and Nepali backgrounds, the research project was designed to provide a foundation for considering how schools and educators can work with students from these backgrounds to strengthen their literacy development and intercultural capabilities to successfully engage with their learning and their school communities.
The Smolicz Award research project
The School of Education, University of South Australia was awarded the Smolicz Award research project. The project was led by associate professor Sue Nichols, Associate Head of School: Research.
The research was conducted in 2019 with ASSOE students as well as with former ASSOE students who had transitioned to mainstream government high schools in metropolitan Adelaide within the previous 12 months. The other schools involved were Salisbury High School and Woodville High School.
Project outcomes and reports
The outcomes of this project give some insights into the experiences and perceptions of these students in their literacy development, language(s) practices and learning needs.
MELC has welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the review of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians and is pleased to share its response.
MELC’s response focuses on the linguistic and cultural diversity of learners, while respecting all of the diversities that they bring to their learning. Knowledge is culturally formed and applied, and language is a central mediating resource for learning. This is why we see linguistic and cultural diversity as the basis of all learning and not just as a trait. We consider it crucial that these aspects be prominent in the refreshed goals.
MELC welcomes feedback on any part of this submission.
Download the response to the review (PDF 293KB).
In 2016 MELC commissioned a paper to review the current state of languages education policy across Australia. The paper focuses on the nature of each of the state and territory policies and the general picture that emerges. This snapshot was then considered in terms of its relevance to the context of languages education in South Australia. Thus the paper presents not only a comprehensive analysis but a broad sweep of the policies to determine directions and implications that may inform work in languages education in South Australia.
It is intended that this be used as a resource to inform policy development at a systems and school level.
In 2017 MELC commissioned a paper to review the current state of languages education policy in the international arena.
This paper aims to provide a broad sense of the current and changing landscape of languages education policy internationally as a resource for considering the local languages education policy environment and possible directions.
The paper focuses on a selection of countries, some with similar features to the Australian policy context and others that are divergent. As a set, these countries offer potential both for comparing likeness with the South Australian context, as well as points of difference that may be worthy of consideration.
A major focus of the work of MELC during 2016 was the provision of advice to the Minister for Education and Child Development on the development of a position statement and related strategy in the 3 interrelated areas of languages education, multicultural education, and the internationalisation of education.
Building on this initial advice paper the MELC was asked to develop an overarching Statement that would provide a common vision, rationale and explain the significance for South Australia of an education that is oriented towards engaging in linguistic and cultural diversity.
Phone: 8226 1191
Email: education.mecs [at] sa.gov.au