Author Archives: ta05208

Does language prohibit cultural exchange?

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Hi, everyone!
So, to be honest, this class was my first time delving into policy in such a critical manner.  (Although I’ve been living here for over a year so I probably wouldn’t admit that to anyone…:))

Anyway, one of the interesting things about Chinese education is the consideration of language.  I read this article posted in Sunday Age, an Australian newspaper, that explained some Australians’ reservations about Chinese language in education.  Lately, Latin has surpassed Chinese in the amount of people studying it, which is a number educators did not anticipate–or want.  In 2008, Kevin Rudd (former Prime Minister of Australia) wanted twelve percent of Australian students to be fluent in an Asian language by 2020.  So this contrast in numbers was not only disappointing, it fell short of what the leader wanted.

Current PM Julia Gillard asked that the government prioritze, and even promote, Asian language.  In the policy documents we are looking at as a group, the Chinese education is extremely proud of its language, if only as a means of creating a national identity.  Because of this, I looked at the article with a critical eye: how would that create a displaced sense of unity?  Would people who study the Chinese language be more or less likely to want to learn other languages?  The article in the Sunday Age is almost appalled by this idea, and even thinks that students might get lazy and not want to study English.  The article keeps saying that if students are forced to study Asian languages, they are just feeling force and not really apt to complete an immersion with that country or participate in an exchange program…I’m not sure I buy that though.  I think students will be more inclined to do so once they know the language, and once they can fully appreciate seeing what actually exists in another country.

Language is only part of the equation.

Here’s the Sunday Age article if you’re interested.

Fair Use Causes a Revolution

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This week, one of the main topics was the issue of fair use.  As a majorly huge (ie, not-secret-at-all) fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, I’ve noticed that his clips, because they are used for entertainment value are often cited as ‘fair use.’

Of course people can get offended by his work. And Fox News has tried, time and time again, to refute his statements but Jon’s just.too.awesome.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/21/jon-stewart-slams-fox-news_n_881006.html

(I wish the video was up, sorry guys, but you get the concept!)

But that’s where I think governments should allow the creativity to occur, because, ultimately that’s what gets the dialogue going.  Without dialogue, policy cannot change.  People do not blindly follow orders–as we’ve seen with the Arab Spring (every IC/IM-er’s favourite example), citizens want an opinion and a voice.  They want to interact with their governments instead of hiding.

I’m not sure if that means that we should all become mini-Jon Stewarts (I mean, I certainly am!, but his approach is certainly not for everyone) or if we should figure out a way to write a policy dialogue that is more interactive and allows for flexibility.  In the past, policy was written by governments and people had to fall into line…And then revolutions began to take place, and, little by little, this complete deference to authority was slowly changed.

But then how do we make policy that is flexible without losing the respect of the people?

–Tara (as if you couldn’t already tell)