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The goal of the three-year project entitled Maximising Intensivity and Continuity in Language Learning: Developing, Implementing and Evaluating Models of Provision was to pilot three models of provision of languages education in South Australian schools in order to better understand and offer sustainable and innovative Languages programs. Each model was intended to extend in some way the amount of time made available to students for learning Languages, given that time on task is one of the major variables that impacts on language learning processes and outcomes. The ultimate purposes were both to improve the nature of provision and learn more about the nature of provision in increasingly complex school environments. It is the first investigation of actual provision undertaken in language education in Australia that is informed by research and development, undertaken collaboratively by teachers, school leaders and researchers in the local context of particular schools. Funding for the project was provided by the Minister for Education and Child Development and one case study (for an immersion program in Italian) was funded by the Italian Consulate of South Australia and the Italian Government through the Dante Alighieri Society.

The three models included in the study 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 overall methodology of the study was qualitative, based on the use of case study. This was because of the contextual nature of Language program provision and the collaborative and developmental orientation that was necessary to implement and evaluate innovative models of provision and effect change over time.

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