A comparative examination of South Australian primary students’ attitudes towards German LOTE and other learning areas

Janine Jung, Peter Boman, David Williams


One key educational consequence of Australia’s decision to commit to multiculturalism was the development and implementation of a policy on the teaching of languages other than English (LOTE) in schools. LOTE was to be a learning area in the core curriculum in all Australian government schools. German was one of the original nine specifically targeted LOTE and by 1997 it was the most popular LOTE in South Australian schools.

Research into students’ attitudes towards LOTE has attracted minimal
attention despite the acknowledged link between attitude and learning outcomes.
The literature that does exist contains some positive findings, but the majority are
negative or have negative associations. Three recurring categories of negativity are that LOTE is uninteresting (‘boring’), it is not valuable (‘irrelevant’,
‘unimportant’), and it is academically challenging (‘too hard’).

One purpose of the study reported here was to investigate student attitudes towards German as a LOTE in comparison to attitudes towards the other core learning areas as this is virtually unresearched. A second purpose was to ascertain
whether there are any gender differences in attitudes towards German as a LOTE.
This is also a dimension that is relatively unrepresented in the literature.

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