Languages Open the Door to a Richer World

21 February 2008

Keynote Address to Languages Strategy Launch for School Principals in the ACT: Languages Matter, Canberra, 21 February 2008.


If the study and teaching of languages in Australia is to become a key educational priority, we need to cultivate a mindset that recognizes the importance of language, and respects and nurtures linguistic diversity.

We need to create a culture:

  • that feels comfortable with the intermingling of languages and cultures in all areas of human activity
  • that sees the study/teaching of language as high status activity for both student and teachers
  • that is prepared to invest heavily on language development at every level of education
  • that overcomes the artificial polarization between economic and cultural priorities, between community and international languages, and between Asian and European languages.

We need a concerted national language education campaign that reaches every corner and facet of Australian society.