Incorporating Asia Literacy into Australian Education and Culture // Blog 2

Leong, Susan & Woods, Denise 2017, ‘“I don’t care about Asia” : teaching Asia in Australia’, Journal of Australian studies, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 367-379

In 2017, a paper was written by Susan Leong and Denise Woods in relation to a remark made by an Australian student. The student stated that they “don’t care about Asia” when they were required to complete a unit in Asian media. 

The paper explores the delivery of education involving Asia and suggests that learning about Asia is not limited to specific Asian Studies. Leong and Woods (2017), suggest that Asian literacy and ideological position, should be incorporated into the education system. 

The paper clarifies that Asia literacy is not race or culture specific, but more so the understanding of Asia and Asia literacy. “Much as fluency in a language can enhance one’s cultural understanding, it provides no guarantee that such linguistic literacy leads to the sensibility towards Asia”. This does not mean that the education system should be teaching Asian languages, but it should be incorporating Asia into the curriculum so that students can recognise and understand Asian culture. 

The paper suggests the education system needs to provide skills to reflect the way Australians understand Asia’s ideological position and norms. This would result in students being more aware of Asian culture and would steer them from comments such as “I don’t care about Asia.” Leong and Woods (2017), demonstrate that the Australian education system lacks in incorporating Asia literacy, as students understanding of Asia ultimately comes from the way the information is delivered. Within an Asia Studies subject, the curriculum would delve into the specifics of the Asian culture. But if the education system were to deliver Asia literacy and ideological position into the curriculum, students may be less reluctant to include Asian students into social and learning aspects such as group work.

Szkudlarek, B 2017, ‘Four Cultural Clashes That Are Holding East Asian Employees Back’, The Conversation, weblog post, 6 March 2017, viewed 17 August 2018 <https://theconversation.com/four-cultural-clashes-that-are-holding-east-asian-employees-back-72661>

It is found that within the Australian workforce, 17% identify as Asian. Szkudlarek, wrote an article for The Conversation in 2017, to explore how Asian employees felt within an Australian workplace. The conducted study found that out of every 5 Asian employees, only one was content and satisfied within their workplace. 

The article argues that the cultural gap between Australia and Asia, effects the “communication, attitudes and behaviours” between colleagues. 

Szkudlarek (2017), found that Asian employees “are often accused of being reluctant to speak” at work and in work meetings. However, the study explains that the Asian employees find it difficult to adapt to the pace of the conversations held by Australian co-workers and employers. As Australians speak at a faster pace, Asian employees struggle to voice their opinions within the workplace. This fast pace of talking develops at a young age, therefore Australians are accustomed to the rate at which the conversation takes place. 

In relation to an article posted on the ABC website, written by Christina Zhou (2013),  “businesses are calling for greater Asian Language skills”. Zhou states that experts “say businesses need to build a more Asia-savvy workforce to tap into the opportunities of the “Asian century”. The article further coincides with the paper written by Szkudlarek (2017), as it suggests that relationships with Asian coworkers and clients are stronger when the workplace has the language skills to hold conversations with and hear the opinions of Asian individuals. 

Reference List

Zhou, Christina 2013, ‘Business Calls For Greater Asian Language Skills’, ABC News, weblog post, 21 June, viewed 17 August 2018 <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-21/business-calls-for-great-asian-language-skills/4772228

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