Working Towards the Mainstreaming of Languages and Cultures in National Curricula: Norway and Aotearoa/New Zealand

Harvey, S
Sollid, H
Olsen, T
Lourie, M
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Faculty of Education and Social Work, the University of Auckland

In this symposium we bring together colleagues from Norway and Aotearoa/NZ to consider the place of languages and cultures within our respective national curricula. We will examine what still needs to be achieved in each system to weave our diverse languages and cultures into the curriculum mainstream. Although geographically very far apart, our two countries share a similar population size as well as specific features which make comparative analyses in languages education potentially productive. These features are: Indigenous populations whose languages and cultures have been marginalised in our national education systems; relatively large migrant populations whose languages are attended to with different levels of success in each country; and dominant languages, proficiency in which acts as a litmus test for how well people are regarded in society, what jobs they can consider and what services they have access to. While the place of English is different, it nevertheless raises issues of dominance, power and language displacement in each country. Moreover, as both countries integrate further with their respective adjacent regional economic powerhouses, Norway with Europe and New Zealand with the Asia Pacific region, strong plurilingualism and intercultural competency will be vital qualities for those currently in the education system. In our symposium we look comprehensively at what will be required to coherently and ethically engage with, and address, Indigeneity and diversity in our education curricula. We will examine the place of the Sami language and culture in Norway, and we will consider how Te Reo Maori and Pacific languages have fared in the New Zealand curriculum. Finally, policy initiatives will be suggested to structure the mainstreaming of intercultural and language education to promote an engaged, reflective and tolerant citizenship to prepare our young people for their future lives in diverse communities at home and abroad.

4th International Conference on Language, Education and Diversity (LED 2015); Symposium: “Mainstreaming languages & cultures in national curricula” held at University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, 2015-11-23 to 2015-11-26
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