Despite the public recognition of a skill shortage in foreign languages, the environment around foreign language education at Australian universities has been harsh. Many language programs are under financial pressure, and some have been closed. In our day-to-day operations, we language educators are challenged, implicitly and explicitly, by a deeply uncomfortable question: Should foreign languages be taught at universities? We believe the answer is "Yes", but our belief alone is not enough to change public perception. We must examine the foundation of our belief, and openly discuss whether our belief is indeed sustained by current practice. This paper presents some first steps in this exploration. We first discuss the current trend in the Australian university sector and the received conceptual basis for foreign language education. We then present our re-conceptualisation of the role of tertiary language education—a powerful educational platform for the liberal arts values. To support our argument we will cite evidence from graduates who have studied Japanese language at the University of Canberra (UC). By way of conclusion, we will suggest future directions for foreign language studies at universities.
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Event||Languages & Cultures Network for Australian Universities Colloquium (LCNAU 2013) - The Second National LCNAU Colloquium - Canberra, Australia|
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …
|Conference||Languages & Cultures Network for Australian Universities Colloquium (LCNAU 2013) - The Second National LCNAU Colloquium|
|Period||1/01/14 → …|