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Accommodating multiculturalism and biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand: implication for language education.

The field of language education in Aotearoa New Zealand, as elsewhere, has developed significantly since its early and almost exclusive focus on the acquisition of English literacy in schools. As the field has expanded, so too has the range of language education sectors addressed and the theoretical approaches and understandings employed in relation to language and literacy education. Both developments have resulted in a more coordinated literacy education policy - exemplified to date most clearly in the New Zealand Literacy Taskforce - and a more situated, less monolithic understanding of the widely different literacies available to learners. Despite these developments, however, one area still remains noticeably under-theorised and marginalized in relation to the ongoing development of language and literacy education policy in Aotearoa New Zealand - the place of second language learners within it. This paper explores this lacuna and the potential policy implications of addressing and integrating first and second language educational concerns within an evolving national literacy education policy. This has particular implications for the further development of bilingual education - both for Maori and, possibly, other minority groups - and for the related possibilities of multicultural education. It also requires a wider and clearer recognition of minority language education rights, as developed within both international law and political theory, in order to apply these rights appropriately to an Aotearoa New Zealand context which is currently witnessing rapid and extensive demographic (and linguistic) change.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
May, S. (2002). Accommodating multiculturalism and biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand: implication for language education.Waikato Journal of Education, 8, 5-26.
Faculty of Education, University of Waikato
© 2002 Waikato Journal of Education. It is posted here by permission for personal use.