Communicating Safety and Care in the Context of Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Aged Care. An intercultural Approach to Training
Increasing linguistic and cultural diversity among nurses and care workers, combined with growing complexity in health profiles (e.g. the challenging behaviours or unmet needs associated with dementia), are increasing the complexity of communicating safety and care. This complexity poses an increasing challenge among staff and those they care for, and is especially acute where communication takes place across languages and cultures. The aim of this project was to develop professional learning resources and practical strategies to enhance the capacity of supervisory and direct care staff to manage this communication complexity. Of particular concern in contexts of linguistic and cultural diversity is communicating care and safety around challenging behaviours or unmet needs. Building on a previous study (Scarino, O’Keeffe, Crichton, O’Neill & Dollard, 2014), the project took an intercultural approach to the development and design of the resources. The outcome of the project is a set of five professional learning modules that reflect principles of intercultural learning. The project team collaborated closely at all stages with management and staff at Helping Hand and South Cross Care and the project Advisory Group. The modules, which incorporate video clips and a guide for facilitators, were developed in four stages. The first stage comprised analysis of critical incident reports; focus groups comprising nursing, care and training staff; and video interviews with staff and residents. The second stage, designing the modules, drew on the data and findings of this project and the data and recommendations of the original study. The third stage involved trialling, evaluation and revision, and the fourth stage, finalisation and dissemination. The modules cover five key, interrelated themes around accomplishing safety and care in the workplace in the context of increasing linguistic and cultural diversity:
1. The ways in which behaviours / needs are understood, with a clinical focus on conditions associated with challenging behaviours / unmet needs and their implications
2. The layer of complexity added to communication by linguistic, cultural and faith-based diversity
3. Attentiveness to language / how we communicate
4. The value placed on knowing the person, their personal history, life journey and memories
5. Risk management: tension between notions of ‘being at home’ and the accomplishment of care within the efficiency model.
Each module builds on the other, focusing on a particular aspect of practice while maintaining a common orientation relevant to workers at all levels of the organisation: carers, enrolled nurses, registered nurses, trainers and managers. The modules are designed for flexible delivery, on- or off-line, and incorporate a four-segment structure that can be adapted to the needs and interests of participants and the professional development time available.
Download the documents below
Communicating Safety and Care in the Context of Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Aged Care. An Intercultural Approach to Training (PDF, 6.1MB)
Module 1 - ‘Challenging behaviours’ or ‘unmet needs’: A clinical perspective (PDF, 200KB)
Please click here to access the Module 1 Videos.
Module 2 - Understanding linguistic, cultural and faith-based diversity in relation to challenging behaviours or unmet needs (PDF, 392KB)
Please click here to access the Module 2 Videos
Module 3 - Communicating in relation to challenging behavioursor unmet needs (PDF, 346KB)
Please click here to access the Module 3 Videos
Module 4 - Relating to the person with challenging behavioursor unmet needs: Personal histories, life journeys and memories (PDF, 399KB)
Please click here to access the Module 4 Videos
Module 5 - Managing risk in relation to challenging behavioursor unmet needs (PDF, 319KB)
Please click here to access the Module 5 Videos
Developing English Language and Intercultural Learning Capabilities
Case Study One: The English language project
Authors: Li Xuan, Kathleen Heugh, Fiona O’Neill, Ying Song, Angela Scarino and Jonathan Crichton
Global mobility has dramatically changed the demographic profile of universities in predominantly English-speaking countries. Many international students choose study abroad opportunities in countries such as Australia where there are also many local students with diverse linguistic backgrounds. However, the plurality of languages, cultures and knowledge systems are largely rendered invisible in higher education contexts where English dominates. This paper reports on the first of two cases studies in a project which explored how undergraduate students experience a translanguaging approach (García & Wei, 2014) to develop their English language capability in order to study through English. This was part of an action-based research intervention which sought to develop academic proficiency in both English and the primary language/s of students, and their intercultural capabilities, simultaneously, through explicit encouragement of students’ use of their linguistic, cultural and knowledge repertoires, and their reflective engagement with the process. This report outlines data and findings from student participation in three English as additional language courses during 2014 and 2015. Data include ethnographic observation of student engagement in classes, student interviews and diagnostic analysis of student writing. Drawing on multilingual teaching and learning pedagogies (Heugh, Li & Song, ftc.), including translanguaging, students’ were encouraged to build on their linguistic, cultural and epistemological resources to expand their academic language repertoires. The findings highlight how students do this while developing their metacognitive awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and their multilingual repertoires. It draws attention to the pedagogical value of students’ academic proficiency in both primary language and English and this has implications for developing a more robust pedagogy and theory of translanguaging and intercultural communication. This is significant in the context of 21st century human mobility when we consider that many of these students will be required to communicate in their social and professional lives across multiple languages and cultures.
Key words: Linguistic repertories, multilingualism and translanguaging
Read the Report
Developing English Language and Intercultural Learning Capabilities
Case Study Two: The intercultural learning project
Authors: Fiona O’Neill, Angela Scarino, Jonathan Crichton, Kathleen Heugh and Li Xuan
An increasing number of international students are studying in higher education in English-speaking countries, and many local students come from backgrounds where English is not their primary language. This is significant when we consider that as graduates, these students will be required to live, communicate and work with others both within and across multiple languages and cultures, in other words, interculturally, whether they choose to remain in their home country, or to live and work abroad. There exists the potential for learning through the exchange of linguistic and cultural resources and associated ways of knowing. However, the crucial role of languages and cultures in learning is poorly understood, and the ways in which students experience engaging with one another in their diversity could be enhanced (Tsui 2014). This report is based on a semester long twinned case study which explored how undergraduate students and their teachers experienced an intercultural approach to learning, teaching and assessment in a core undergraduate course of 550 students. This was a collaborative, action-based research intervention which sought to enhance student engagement and experience through their intercultural learning, to see the world ‘through other eyes’ (Andreotti and Souza 2008). This involved designing learning and assessment activities that encouraged students to draw on their languages, cultures and knowledges and to engage with the course content and with each other through practices of reflection and reflexivity. Data gathered included students’ written texts, observations of routine teaching staff meetings, and interviews with students and teaching staff. The analysis involved thematic coding, focusing on students’ emerging capability to understand and act in light of their linguistic and cultural diversity. The findings highlight the nature and importance of intercultural capability and the need to rethink notions of ‘student experience’ and ‘engagement’ and to recognise the central role of language/s and culture/s in all students’ learning.
Three key words: Intercultural, learning, reflection and reflexivity
Read the report
Closing a case: When should a patient/client’s case be closed in a community mental health setting?
Prof Nicholas Procter | Dr Jonathan Crichton | Dr Andrew Champion | Prof Libby Roughead | Mr John Strachan
This project aims to inform practice and make recommendations for current standards by investigating how clinicians working in community mental health settings go about making decisions when closing a case. Current knowledge surrounding communication among mental health professionals, consumers and their families at the time of discharge is minimal. This is a significant gap in the research and clinical literature because the reasoning that informs discharge, the provisions put in place to support a person, the diversity of professions involved, and the extent to the person has been involved in these decisions bear directly on the nature and extent of the person’s recovery. This is a process whereby, in the context of mental health, individuals if possible lead a hopeful, flourishing life taking into account integrating mental health care and current treatments with daily living.
However, although research and clinical literature portrays recovery in mental health care as a shared decision making process, recent studies show that consumers often do not have an active role. Specifically, the project is focusing on what nurses, social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists actually accomplish in discussing and making decisions to close a case; how future needs assessment and treatment are represented; and the extent to which consumer involvement and preferences are acknowledged. The research team is transdisciplinary, bringing together researchers and practitioners from applied linguistics, mental health management, mental health nursing, psychiatry and pharmacology. The data include transcripts and ethnographic notes of routine case closure meetings at a community mental health centre. The data have been the focus of collaborative, ongoing, iterative analysis by the research team. The recommendations will inform current sector standards, provide guidelines for practice, and drive new research to prevent service discontinuity and breakdown for people with mental illness. The project involves a collaboration with the Centre for Mental Health and Substance Use Research Group, UniSA, and is a one year project funded under the university’s Research Themes Investment Scheme.
Engaging with diversity: A case study of the intercultural experiences of Muslim and non-Muslim students in an Australian school
This study was conducted by Associate Professor Angela Scarino, Professor Tony Liddicoat and Dr Fiona O’Neill from the Research Centre for Languages and Cultures, and was funded by the Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding at the University of South Australia. The study explored how students in a highly diverse school experienced interacting within and between their languages, cultures and faiths. A Catholic college that has seen its traditional Anglo-Australian Catholic student population transformed by the arrival of various migrant groups over recent decades, this school community has developed a multidimensional approach to living and learning in diversity that goes beyond token multiculturalism. Semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with students, teachers, school leadership and parents and thematically analysed to give an account of the different perspectives in play, and the effect of social discourses on understandings of diversity, in particular those regarding representations of Muslims.
The findings highlight how students, and the school community more broadly, interpret, reflect on and manage reflexively the phenomenon of diversity. The role of languages and cultures is seen as key in mediating and creating spaces for diverse ways of knowing and learning, believing and being, and ultimately, belonging. This is significant when we learn that more students at the school are multilingual than monolingual, and 50 percent of the students are not Catholic, but Muslim. From the perspective of students and the school community, understanding one another in terms of a Muslim and non-Muslim distinction is considered to be an overly simplistic representation of their experience of interacting in diversity. The faith-based nature of the school facilitates a supportive response to the diverse religious identities and needs of the students, and there is an emphasis on creating a whole-of-school culture of learning and understanding through an ongoing dialogue of engagement and reciprocity.
Language Expert in Residence: Professional Investigations for Teachers of Languages, 2015
Angela Scarino | Tony Liddicoat
This project has involved the development of a professional investigations program based on the conceptual paper on language learning and the exemplars developed in the Investigating Pedagogies for Languages Learning Project. The structured program explored four themes:
- Profiling learners and characterising language learning in the Australian Curriculum
- Working with concepts in language learning
- Working with processes in language learning – mediating, decentring, reflecting
- Assessment and language learning
Through facilitated dialogue a group of teachers of diverse languages explored and developed pedagogies for working with the Australian Curriculum: Languages. Between sessions the participants experimented with the diverse pedagogies through classroom-based professional investigations which were discussed in subsequent sessions.
Maximising intensivity and continuity in learning languages - developing, implementing and evaluating models of provision, 2012-2015
Department for Education and Child Development
Angela Scarino | Tony Liddicoat | Michelle Kohler (Flinders University)
This study involved conducting an implementation study that addresses some of the structural difficulties that schools have experienced in implementing languages programs; to conduct a pilot study of three different program models and to develop mechanisms for gathering data (through ongoing evaluation) about the process and value of each model. The three models were:
- Model 1: A primary or junior secondary program with 1 hour or 1 lesson a day of language instruction with ‘significant’ content; the content may be drawn from other areas of the curriculum.
- Model 2: Transition arrangements developed across clusters of schools (e.g. from preschool to early childhood, or early childhood to primary, or primary to secondary) to ensure continuity in language learning.
- Model 3: An immersion (bilingual) program at primary or junior secondary level in which one learning area (i.e. the regular language program) is taught through the target language for 3–4 lessons/week and one additional learning area (e.g. History/Geography) is taught through the medium of the target language for 3–4 lessons/week.
The major goal of the study was to better understand and offer sustainable and innovative languages programs. The collaborative process involved schools (teachers/coordinators of languages and the school Principal and members of the school leadership team), researchers from the Research Centre for Languages and Cultures (RCLC) at the University of South Australia, and an Advisory Group with representation from all three education sectors. Within each case study there were cycles of collaborative planning (negotiation of the structural requirements, timetable, space, resources) that would ensure successful implementation; ongoing contextual analyses of policies and structures; collaborative curriculum planning that was necessary given the increased time-on-task made available for learning; curriculum implementation and analyses; assessment design; implementation and analysis; designing and planning of specific teaching and learning; interventions; monitoring; and ongoing evaluation. Because it coincided with the release of the Australian Curriculum: Languages, the project also involved professional learning and development necessary to incorporate the use of this major resource.
The Italian Consulate through the Dante Alighieri Society provided funding to support the Norwood Morialta case study. The overall findings of the project were:
- The three models of provision, with an increase in time or continuity in learning languages, lead to improvements in learning for students and higher expectations on the part of their teachers. These expectations shape the nature, scope and level of learning.
- Structures (e.g. timetabling, staffing) have a significant impact on the ways that schools work, on how learning is organised and ultimately on what it is possible to do in schools. These may stifle innovation in learning languages.
- An increase in time on task for learning languages has important consequences for curriculum design and development. In the context of the project there has been a dual redevelopment task: to redevelop the curriculum as a result of more time on task and/or continuity in language learning, and to redevelop the curriculum to enact the new Australian Curriculum.
- An increase in time on task for learning languages has impact on assessment processes and outcomes in terms of assessing the wider range of learning that is developed and/or in assessing the integration of language and content.
- Innovation in learning languages requires leadership; school leaders create the culture of innovation within schools, which is particularly crucial in ‘specialist’ areas.
- Substantial and ongoing professional learning is essential to the design and implementation of each model. Essential to the project’s implementation throughout its duration was the high degree of research-informed facilitation and support provided by the research team.
- Innovation requires high-level resourcing, primarily for teachers to have time to meet for professional learning, planning and program design, and developing teaching and learning materials. It also requires intellectual resourcing, which was provided by the research team.
- Schools are often driven by immediate and routine demands, with little time and opportunity to reflect, critique and develop new knowledge and practices that support the learning of languages. Innovating demands less ‘doing’ and more professional learning on the part of all participants.
- The work in the Languages area has an impact on the work for the whole school.
- The absence of a clearly articulated central policy on languages education creates a problem for the positioning of languages education in schools and this, in turn, impacts on development and possibilities for change.
Investigating Pedagogies for Language-and-Culture Learning 2013-2014
Department for Education and Child Development (DECD)
Angela Scarino | Michelle Kohler | Angela Benedetti
This project drew upon the Teaching and Learning Framework of DECD and the Shape Paper for Languages and new curricula being developed as part of the Australian Curriculum and the Teaching for Effective Learning framework of the Department for Education and Child Development, as well as school-based research with teachers to develop and document pedagogies to support language learning within intercultural and multilingual perspectives.
Review of Languages Retention from the Middle Years to the Senior Years of Schooling 2013-2014
Department for Education and Child Development
Tim Curnow | Michelle Kohler | Tony Liddicoat | Kate Loechel
The key outcome of this review was a report which provided: a critical analysis in relation to the impediments and enablers exemplars of schools where languages education is being done well and where student retention and achievement into the senior secondary years can be clearly demonstrated (where data is available) The development of the report involved research into previous literature, as well as discussions, interviews and focus groups with various stakeholders, and the analysis of data from schools and DECD. Five schools were focused upon as a representative sample.
Read the Final Report
SafeWork SA Migrant Workers Project 2012-2014
Angela Scarino | Valerie O'Keefe | Jonathan Crichton | Fiona O'Neill | Maureen Dollard
This project undertaken with the Asia Pacific Centre for Work Health & Safety and Helping Hand established how growing numbers of culturally and linguistically diverse workers in the aged care industry disseminate, interpret, and understand OHSW information and carry out OHSW instructions. An ethnographic approach was applied, involving interviews, focus groups, document analysis, and observations with management, health and safety representatives, OHSW Committee members (where applicable), workers from diverse backgrounds together with local workers and residents to establish the psychosocial environment pertinent to OHSW. The research method incorporated observation of training and other means of communication, particularly worker interactions, supervision, verbal and pictorial instruction and the completion of tasks. A participatory process was used to identify interventions that lead to improvements in OHSW training programs, policies and procedures and communication processes for diverse workers. This research developed guidelines for OHSW which may be generalisable to other industries where diverse workers are employed.
See the report Communicating work health and safety in the context of cultural and linguistic diversity in aged care.
The Australian Curriculum: Languages in use – an implementation study, 2014 - 2016
School of Languages
This project involved collaboration between the School of Languages and the Research Centre for Languages for Cultures at UniSA where RCLC has designed and managed the research, through a participatory action research approach. This research is being conducted over a period of three years and is designed around three phases to explore the key concepts involved in engaging with the Australian Curriculum: Languages, the development of scope and sequences of learning for programming learning at primary and secondary levels based on the Australian Curriculum and to incorporate multilingual and intercultrual pedagogies and to monitor the use of these programs in the classroom. In total, the project has involved 38 participating teachers from across 10 languages.
Developing the Shape Paper for Languages in the Australian Curriculum, 2013
This project involved developing the conceptual base for developing languages in the Australian curriculum, through the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority
Visit the ACARA website
Review of First Language Maintenance and Development (FLMD) Programs 2013
Department for Education and Child Development
Angela Scarino | Tim Curnow | Kathleen Heugh |Tony Liddicoat
The First Language Maintenance and Development (FLMD) program has been in place in the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) since 1985 as an initiative which was part of the implementation of two language policy reports: Voices for the future (Languages Policy Working Party, 1983) and Education for a cultural democracy (Taskforce to Investigate Multiculturalism and education, 1984). It was intended to support primary schools to provide language learning programs that would respect, maintain and develop home languages and cultures of learners who came to school as speakers of languages other than English. Over the period of time since its introduction, there have been shifts in migration patterns to South Australia. Equally there have been shifts in the provision of languages education that have led to adjustments to the FLMD program. Given these shifts and the long history of the program a review of the program was timely. The Department for Education and Child Development commissioned the Research Centre for Languages and Cultures at the University of South Australia to undertake the evaluation. The evaluation was undertaken in the context of the current educational policy framework which is captured in such documents as: The Melbourne Declaration; The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Languages; The DECD Strategic Plan 2012-2016; The DECD Teaching for Effective Learning Framework.
Student Achievement in Asian Languages Education (SAALE), 2011
Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) through its Second Language Program
Angela Scarino | Catherine Elder, UoM | Noriko Iwashita, UoQ | Sun Hee Ok Kim | Michelle Kohler | Andrew Scrimgeour | Ute Sknoch | Anne-Marie Morgan
The Student Achievement in Asian Languages Education (SAALE) Project responds to a critical need in Asian languages education in Australia for baseline data on student achievement. It addresses the question of what it is that students actually achieve as a result of learning particular Asian languages (Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, and Korean) as part of their K–12 education. It also addresses the question of how well they achieve this learning. All those involved in Asian languages education should be able to articulate what it is and how well students achieve at different phases of schooling. This includes students, teachers, parents, school communities, education systems, teacher educators, and researchers. This study is the first in languages education in Australia that has addressed the question of student achievement in Asian languages, K–12, through research that has captured actual student performance.
There is an increasing diversity of students learning Asian languages in Australian schools. Some students are learning the particular Asian language as an additional language (L2 learners). For others the Asian language that they are learning at school in Australia is, in fact, their first language (L1 learners). Others are learning an Asian language in which they have some background. They use the language to varying degrees at home or in their local communities and they have some affiliation with the target culture (background learners). This diversity of learner background influences student achievement. Furthermore, the profile of cohorts of students learning each particular Asian language in Australian schools is different. For example, all three groups are present in Chinese programs, but in Indonesian the majority of learners are L2 learners. In addition, there is diversity in the policy settings for languages education across states and territories, particularly the time allocations for learning Asian languages in the school curriculum. The amount of time on task made available for learning Asian languages is a major variable that influences student achievement.
The SAALE Project has investigated the impact of learner background and the time-on-task variable on the learning of Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, and Korean. On the basis of this research, descriptions of student achievement have been developed that take into account these two major variables that influence student achievement in learning Asian languages.
Visit the website
Evaluation of Language Immersion Programs in Education Queensland Schools, 2011
Tony Liddicoat | Andrew Scrimgeour
This project was an evaluation of Queensland’s immersion education programs for languages in Queensland schools. The evaluation was undertaken to ensure that maximum benefit and optimum learning outcomes were achieved from the available funding. The aims of the evaluation were to allow justified decisions to be made about the most appropriate use of available resources in terms of the relationship of funding to learning outcomes at each location.
Languages Teaching and Learning: Change in Context
South Australian Independent Schools Targeted Programs Authority through the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP)
Angela Scarino | Michelle Kohler | Andrew Scrimgeour
This Research Project involved school-based research towards improving the curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment practices in the teaching of Chinese or Indonesian in three independent schools in South Australia. The focus was on 'Change in Context', that is, how each school, in its own setting, was able to change its practices of language learning over a two year period with the support of the RCLC team. The project was part of the SAISTPA National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP) Strategic Plan 2009-2012.
See final report
Assessing the intercultural in language learning, 2006 - 2009 ARC Linkage
Tony Liddicoat | Angela Scarino | Antonio Mercurio (SACE Board of SA);
Industry partners: Department of Education and Children's Services of South Australia | South Australian School of Languages | South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Board
The project involved working with teachers and students in Years 4-12 in a range of languages to develop approaches to assessment for intercultural language learning. The project examined key dimensions of assessment: eliciting and judging intercultural language learning and validating the assessment approach. The project included the development and analysis of assessment tasks, analysis of students' responses to these tasks, and analysis of criteria used in judging responses. The study developed a theorised model of assessment for intercultural learning in languages, which fills a gap in languages pedagogy and intercultural research, an understanding of task features for assessing intercultrality and an explication of assessment processes.
The current state of Indonesian Language Education in Australian Schools, 2009
Michelle Kohler | Phillip Mahnken, University of the Sunshine Coast
Despite the efforts of many gifted and committed teachers of Indonesian, as well as education bureaucrats, academics and members of the community, it seems that the effective provision of the teaching and learning of Indonesian in Australian schools is declining. The focus of this report is to provide information and analysis of current issues that need to be addressed in order to redress the existing decline. While the broader context of the languages landscape in Australian schooling has not been ignored, the primary focus of this report is issues of particular importance to the future of Indonesian language programs. It provides baseline data, set of findings, case studies and recommendations from which stakeholders and policy-makers can draw as they work towards developing programs to achieve the NALSSP 2020 target of 12 per cent of all Year 12 students existing with fluency in one of the NALSSP languages.
Click here to see the final report
Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning in Practice Project, 2006-2008
Department of Education, Science and Training
Angela Scarino | Tony Liddicoat | Jonathan Crichton | Andrew Scrimgeour | Michelle Kohler (and Leo Papademetre, Jim Dellit, Jo Carr, Chantal Crozet)
This project, funded by the Australian Government, developed and delivered professional learning materials in intercultural language teaching and learning for over 400 languages teachers throughout Australia. In a four phase process, participant teachers planned and trialled units of work and long term plans as well as assessment procedures which were incorporated into the professional learning materials. The programme was delivered across Australia to languages teachers, school principals and sector representatives from all states and territories and school sectors.
The value of international education
Angela Scarino | Tony Liddicoat | Jonathan Crichton
The project explored how students (both local and international) and the school community perceive the value of international education. The project is important because little is known about how international education is experienced by students and staff in schools and yet this experience is vital for understanding the value of international education. The project will contribute to better understanding of this value for students, schools, DECD and the wider community.
See the Final Report and Statement and Vignettes
An Investigation of the State and Nature of Languages in Australian Schools, 2006-2008
Tony Liddicoat | Angela Scarino | Tim Curnow | Michelle Kohler |Andrew Scrimgeour | Ann-Marie Morgan
This project was one of the Australian Government's national projects funded through the School Languages Programme to support the implementation of the National Statement for Languages Education in Australian Schools: National Plan for Languages Education in Australian Schools 2005-2008. The project was an investigation into the state and nature of languages education in Australian schools. It was undertaken to form a foundation for long-term planning and policy development in languages education at the national level.
Click here to see the final report
Guide to Teaching Learning and Assessing of Languages in the 21st Century, 2005-2008
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Tony Liddicoat | Angela Scarino
This project was a national initiative developed as part of the National Statement and Plan for Languages Education in Australian Schools 2005-2008. It provided a set of resources to support the improvement of the teaching and learning of languages in Australian schools.
Visit the project website