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Where did all the flowers go? What happens to students between high school and university? Matthew Absalom The University of Melbourne.

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Presentation on theme: "Where did all the flowers go? What happens to students between high school and university? Matthew Absalom The University of Melbourne."— Presentation transcript:

1 Where did all the flowers go? What happens to students between high school and university? Matthew Absalom The University of Melbourne

2 Languages in education Things we know: – Large attrition rates at junctures – Year 7/Year 8 – Year 10 – Low overall participation rates at Year 12 (~4.5%) – Downwards trend in higher education – More than 90% of students study a small group of languages: Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese

3 Languages at University 90-95% of 1 st year students do not study a language Of these >50% may be beginners In 2007, only 2 of our 39 universities offered no modern languages 24 languages offered across sector Most institutions offer 4 languages Greatest number offered around 15 Ja (34), Ch (27), Fr (24), It (23), Ge (20), Ind (20)

4 Motivation & learning Motivation – Intrinsic (e.g. interest, enjoyment, intellectual stimulation, difficulty) ~ Integrative – Extrinsic (e.g. vocation, travel, peer/family expectations, media, marks) ~ Utilitarian or instrumental Learning – High levels of intrinsic motivation required to promote deep learning and educational achievement

5 The study Online survey of commencing first year students in range of subjects in the Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne Ethics approval 198 responses Preliminary study Estimates: 102 had dropped languages by VCE

6 Which languages?

7 Motivating factors Hajdu 2005Curnow/Kohler 2007 Ren 2009Absalom 2011 SelfAcademic successFamilyTravel ParentsPersonal relationship TeachersCulture TeachersBackgroundCultureCareer Career/FriendsTravelCareerEnjoyment TravelCareerLanguage use

8 Demotivating factors Curnow/Kohler 2007Ren 2009Absalom 2011 L ANGUAGE NOT AVAILABLE Lack of interest Heavy workloadPoor learning environment L ANGUAGE NOT AVAILABLE / PREFER OTHER LANGUAGES No immediate benefitPoor quality teachersPoor teaching Poor learning environmentPoor teachingNo enjoyment CareerPoor resourcesPoor quality teachers

9 Why continue to year 12? 1)I thoroughly enjoyed the language and culture 2)I've always felt a need to be able to speek in at least one other language. 1.loved learning the language and being able to speak it 2.felt i was good at it and would score well love languages and french culture, enjoyable subject plus bonus marks 1)Possible high scores, since it gets scaled up by at least 10 marks. 2)It will be important in the future (in terms of career opportunities), as China overtakes USA. Challenge and Enjoyment 1.Enjoyed learning the language, and the cultural studies 2.Exchange to France in year 11 for 6 weeks enhanced language skills and desire to become competent. I knew that one day I wanted to become bilingual, and so I pursued my languages through to the end of VCE. I also really enjoyed studying them and wanted to make sure I did subjects I enjoyed during the stressful time of VCE. Love staying with a host family in switzerland and wish to return there Help with vce score

10 Why stop? 1)I was only allowed by my school to select one language to continue with. 2)I felt I had other recourses to study this language outside of school. bad teachers Not intensive enough, no pathway made 1.Moving overseas 2.Not enough subjects once uni prerequisites were filled Too difficult and not interested Too much time commitment with language classes. My school didn't stream so as a weaker member of the class I fell behind and felt overlooked. Poor teaching quality, lack of connection to culture. 1.I moved schools to one that did not offer Indonesian and I did not feet like beginning again. 2.The previous teacher of the subject was irritating, and I would have been unlikely to continue anyway if she had been teaching the class. I stopped studying Italian in my third year of secondary school because of poor relations with the teacher and conflicting timetables with other electives. 1.I dropped Chinese because it was a compulsary subject for which I had no interest 2.The teacher ignored those who didn't understand the language and concentrated on the more able students, leaving the rest of us like me confused and even more bored.

11 Implications We need to understand what motivates our learners This study: – strong intrinsic motivation plus certain extrinsic motivators (VCE score/career) led to retention – Clear effect of in-country experience (positive) – Blockers: the system, learner diversity, teacher quality and relationship, lack of intrinsic motivation – Cohort effect

12 Next steps Revisit the questionnaire (ask whether students are enrolled in a language!) Second round looking at school age students as well as those entering university Include other faculties and, possibly, other universities (cohort effect)


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