I have spent numerous hours looking through the new ACARA Indonesian curriculum using a TPRS/TCI headset. The more I explore it the happier I am, particularly because of the high frequency of the word ‘communication’.
In the Preamble:
Through learning languages, students acquire:
–communication skills in the language being learnt
-an intercultural capability, and an understanding of the role of language and culture in communication
– a capability for reflection on language use and language learning.
- extends the capability to communicate and extends literacy repertoires.
- strengthens understanding of the nature of language, of culture, and of the processes of communication
- develops intercultural capability
- develops understanding of and respect for diversity and difference, and an openness to different experiences and perspectives
- develops understanding of how culture shapes worldviews and extends learners’ understanding of themselves, their own heritage, values, culture and identity
- strengthens intellectual, analytical and reflective capabilities, and enhances creative and critical thinking.
The overall Aims are given as:
The Australian Curriculum: Languages aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure students:
- communicate in the target language
- understand language, culture, and learning and their relationship, and thereby develop an intercultural capability in communication
- understand themselves as communicators.
Then in the explanation of strands and sub strands, while ‘communication’ is the first of the two strands of language learning, it begins to become clear that the Indonesian curriculum reinforces the belief that comprehension is achieved through analysing aspects of language:
Strands and sub-strands
The content of the Australian Curriculum: Languages is organised through two interrelated strands which realise the three aims. The two strands are:
- Communicating: using language for communicative purposes in interpreting, creating and exchanging meaning
- Understanding: analysing language and culture as a resource for interpreting and creating meaning.
The strands reflect three important aspects of language learning:
- analysis of aspects of language and culture
- reflection that involves
- reflection on the experience of communicating
- reflection on comparative dimensions of the languages available in students’ repertoires (for example, the first language in relation to second language and self in relation to others).
One puzzling fact about the Indonesian curriculum though is that while it recognises the importance of communication, the word ‘proficiency’ does not appear anywhere and the word ‘fluency’ appears just once for students in years F-7:
Years 5 and 6
Years 5 and 6 Band Description
Indonesian language learning and use
….. They (students) extend their oral fluency by focusing on sentence-level intonation and stress.
Surely the goal of a language program is to develop proficiency in that language?