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ERIC Number: EJ975082
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0005-3503
By Accident or Design? The Origins of the Victorian School of Languages
Mascitelli, Bruno; Merlino, Frank
Babel, v46 n2-3 p40-47 2011
In 1935, the then Minister of Public Instruction established the delivery of two foreign languages under the title of a special experiment taught at Mac.Robertson Girls' High School in Melbourne. This was the first step in the creation of what is known today as the Victorian School of Languages (VSL). It was at the time the small, seemingly unobtrusive development of the teaching of two new languages--Japanese and Italian--in Victoria, which over time would be seen as a giant step in the area of the expansion of delivery of languages other than English for the State of Victoria. The emergence of this special experiment was a pioneering development in a context in which languages other than English were neither welcomed nor expected. The country had only just emerged from the Depression and its massive postwar migration program was still yet to come. Despite the jingoist tendencies and monolingual pressures that were ever present in the interwar period in Australia, neither of these was strong enough to curb the introduction of these two new languages, Japanese and Italian. This paper seeks to examine and explore the uncertain origins of the VSL, and the oft-repeated assertion that the VSL was an accidental development, rather than a planned or projected one. (Contains 4 tables.)
Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations. Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Tel: +61-29351-2022; e-mail:; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia