Leading NSW politicians to visit University of Sydney for bilingual teaching conference

5 October 2012

On Saturday 6 October about 500 people representing 58 languages groups will gather at the University of Sydney to discuss issues concerning second-language education.

Premier Barry O'Farrell and the opposition leader John Robertson will deliver opening speeches.

The program will feature a day of workshops for community volunteers who teach language to their communities including Chinese, Arabic, Greek, Korean and Vietnamese, plus emerging languages Swahili, Dari from Afghanistan and Tamil.

The 5th State Conference and Professional Training Day is hosted by the NSW Federation of Community Language Schools in partnership with the Faculty of Education and Social Work of the University of Sydney.

Delivering the welcome address will be Professor Rob Tierney, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

"The community languages program represent an extraordinary partnership between the university, government, schools, families and individuals," Professor Tierney said.

"The program confirms all of our commitment to important continuities between education and culture which ensures our future. And it does so by building our diversity as peoples in a country that is multicultural visibly and in terms of values and practices.

"We will grow healthier as individuals, communities and as a country if we build upon the multiple possibilities our languages programs offer."

Dr Criss Jones Diaz, PhD, a well-known bilingual educator with more than 20 years' teaching experience will deliver the keynote presentation.

Currently there are 300 schools registered in the Community Language Program of the Department of Education and Communities and over 30,000 students studying a second language in New South Wales in this program.

A 60-hour training program for volunteers is run by the Faculty of Education and Social Work, under the leadership of Dr Ken Cruickshank.

"Most of the teachers are volunteers," Dr Cruickshank. "They work so hard, are so committed and they provide such a valuable service," he said.

"There are so many benefits of learning a second language. Academically, children who are bilingual will perform better at school than children who are monolingual, because children with a second language learn to think in a different way."

Event details

What: 5th State Conference and Professional Training Day of the NSW Federation of Community Language Schools

When: 9am to 4pm, Saturday 6 October

Where: Eastern Avenue Auditorium, Camperdown Campus. See map

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