The impact of regional and global economic contexts is becoming increasingly significant in the conversation on the knowledge economy. Now more than ever, for countries to remain globally competitive, their citizens must be adequately skilled and educated for work in the future and not on technology and culture as before. Because Australia seeks to develop global relations with countries which speak other languages, there is a need to increase the proficiency of Asian cultures and language skills in Australia. The English language as spoken in Australia is not adequate to meet learners’ needs in a multi-lingual world and specifically the entire Asian region. Gil (51-101) approaches the discourse on language learning in Australia as a danger in adopting English as a global language, while Henderson (5) looks at the need for Asian languages and cultures as a necessity. Overall, there are some similarities as well as differences in the approaches taken by these two authors in their articles on language learning in Australia. This paper compares and contrasts the arguments provided by Gil and Henderson and gives a statement on which one is the most convincing.
First, there is a similarity in the strength of claims made by both Henderson (4) and Gil (51) that there are economic factors in global relations that necessitate the learning of Asian languages and cultures. Gil (51) argues that given the increasing economic and political significance of the Asian region and the growing attention that Australia is paying to these developments, it is only fitting that Australia regards proficiency in these cultures and languages as a necessity. On the other hand, Henderson (4) states that Australia needs to develop relations with other countries which speak different languages. This point is presented in equal strengths by both authors.
The second similarity between the arguments made by Henderson (5) and Gil (51) is that both articles name the exact languages and cultures that should be prioritized. Gil (51) states that Indonesian, Chinese (Mandarin), and Japanese but also others like Hindi, Arabic, Vietnamese, Korean, Bengali, Cambodian, Thai, Farsi, Lao and Burmese should also be taught. Henderson (5) highlights Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Korean, and Indonesian should be taught. This indicates a shared value in teaching languages from the Asian economic giants as a result of their increasing economic significance.
There is a difference in the approach taken by the two articles on this discourse. Henderson (4-20) provides a detailed framework for implementing an Asian cultures and languages program is Australian schools. The report is also evaluative because it examines the implementation of the program between 1995 and 1998 in Australia. The report is also better equipped because it is based on theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence. On the other hand, Gil (52) merely proposes implementation of the National Asian Languages institute to spearhead the implementation of the culture and languages program. In this regard, Henderson’s article is the most convincing because it provides more substantiated arguments based on empirical evidence and theoretical frameworks.
Jeffrey Gil and Deborah Henderson provide arguments in favor of the adoption of Asian languages and cultures in Australian education. These arguments are politically and economically motivated because of the increasing economic and political significance of Asian countries. Henderson and Gil both agree that Australia needs to associate with Asian countries, and as such must be willing to invest in learning their cultures and languages. They also agree on the languages that should be prioritized. However, in terms of depth and coverage, Henderson’s article is more convincing that Gil’s because she provides empirical evidence and theoretical frameworks of implementation while Gil does not.
Gil, Jeffrey. "The Double Danger of English As A Global Language." English Today 26.01 (2010): 51. Print.
Henderson, Deborah. "A Strategy cut-short: The NALSAS Strategy for Asian languages in Australia." Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 4.1 (2007): 4-22. Print.