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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1971

Mr Kennedy asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

(1)   Has the Commonwealth arranged a crash course for qualified teachers so that they will have some understanding of teaching English as a second language (TESL).

(2)   Do certain education institutions such as La Trobe University offer a course in the Teaching of English as a Second Language.

(3)   Can he say whether the Victorian Education Department is faced with a severe shortage of staff in its State secondary schools and for this reason has decided not to allow its teachers to concentrate on migrant English.

(4)   Can he also say whether any other State Education Department has taken similar action thus decreasing the already small numbers of teachers qualified to teach English to migrants.

(5)   If so, will he urgently intervene and take action to prevent this from happening.

Dr Forbes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Since its Inception in April 1970, the Child Migrant Education Programme has included provision for short training courses in the method of teaching English as a second language for special teachers for whose salaries my Department is responsible. Twenty-two in-service training courses, mainly of one month's duration, have been conducted in all capital cities and in Wollongong and Newcastle, and have been attended by 644 teachers, of whom 523 have been teachers in State schools. In Victoria, 211 special English teachers in primary, secondary and technical state schools have attended courses. Three more courses are planned for 1971-72, one of which will be held in Melbourne and two in Adelaide.

(2)   Yes. The University of Sydney conducts a twelve-month diploma course of the teaching of English as a second (or foreign) language for qualified teachers which is attended mainly by overseas students. At Monash and La Trobe Universities and the Canberra College of Advanced Education, the Diploma of Education courses include TESL as a method option in the final year. At Burwood Teachers' College in Victoria a onesemester TESL course is available as an option to third-year diploma students taking an English major. Claremont Teachers' College in Western Australia offers optional final-year units in TEFL for two and three-year trainees. The introduction of an optional unit of TEFL is under consideration by the Goulburn Teachers' College, New South Wales. I am pleased to note the increasing interest being shown by training institutions in developing these courses.

(3)   , (4) and (5) I am informed that there is a shortage of staff in Victorian secondary schools, particularly in certain subjects, e.g. mathematics and English, though this has been alleviated to some extend in recent months.

The Commonwealth requires that special teachers whose salaries are reimbursed by my Department under the child migrant education programme should be employed exclusively in the teaching of English to migrant children and be additional to the normal staff of schools. Generally teachers who have undertaken a special training course arranged under this programme continue to be engaged solely In teaching migrant children in special classes, though some wastage must be expected particularly among those who are temporarily employed or engaged on a part-time basis only. I am aware of only one instance in one State where such a teacher was appointed to teach other subjects, and I have been informed that the teacher concerned has now been transferred to the teaching of migrant children in special classes.

I would not think It reasonable to expect that secondary teachers, who in the course of their training take a TESL method option should then automatically be used on teaching English to migrant children. However, among the special teachers currently employed in Victoria under the Commonwealth programme, there are in fact three teachers who have taken the TESL option of La Trobe University as part of their Diploma of Education.

I am informed that the situation in other States ls similar to that in Victoria in that, while shortages for certain subjects persist, the overall supply of teachers has improved as a result of various measures undertaken to stimulate the recruitment of teachers.

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