Chapter 9. Chinese language teaching in Australia
Located in the Asian-Pacific region, Australia is a unique example an English speaking country which has progressive language policies to promote Asian languages, Chinese in particular. History has witnessed three stages of development of Chinese language teaching. In the first stage, Chinese language learning was initiated and organised by local Chinese community schools featured with different curricula decided by various sub-groups. Secondly, the Australian government’s multicultural and language policies have further promoted and supported Chinese language learning in community schools. Finally, the Chinese language teaching has expanded to the mainstream schools on the basis of state-based curricula. A national unified curriculum is being developed in order to meet the needs of the fast growing number of learners of Chinese in schools all over the nation. The research described in this chapter on Chinese language teaching in community schools and mainstream schools is based on a policy study of Australia and a case study through qualitative investigations at three universities in the state of New South Wales. The research has revealed some pedagogical problems of Chinese language teaching in the social and cultural context of Australia and provided some suggestions to improve the current performance of Chinese language teaching and learning.