AN EDUCATOR’S PERSPECTIVE ON PIRs – by Angela Sunde

Angela Sunde is an English/LOTE teacher and today she shares her views on PIRs

CB106471The arguments for retaining the restrictions on parallel imports are not just about the English language and Australian English. They are about identity.

A child from Mongolia may learn to speak English, but he will identify himself as Mongolian. So a book about a kid in San Francisco, who catches a tram to school, will have no relevance to him in his environment and he will not be able to identify with this story. Similarly it will do nothing to support the Australian child’s developing identity.

Just because we all speak English, doesn’t mean we are all the same. I have taught foreign languages for over 20 years and speak five myself. I know first hand how very difficult it is to learn and understand the cultural nuances of a particular language and its people. Australia is no longer a colony. We have developed our own unique ways of speaking and writing, which reflect our beliefs and attitudes as separate from the rest of the English speaking world. And our experiences and influences are different from those of other nations, including the US and UK.

If PIRs are lifted, fewer Australian books will be published. This has been admitted by the Productivity Commission. They will be replaced by foreign books for our kids. This issue is not just about what we as adults want to read. Our kids love to read stories about themselves and with fewer Australian books published, there won’t be many for them to choose from. This is the major concern for me.

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One thought on “AN EDUCATOR’S PERSPECTIVE ON PIRs – by Angela Sunde

  1. I agree totally with Angela.

    Children can gain a great understanding of other cultures from books but to dilute their exposure to and understanding of what makes us Australian by threatening the long term viability of Australian publishers and creators is shortsighted and could diminish Australia’s uniqueness.

    In regrds to price, on my recent trip to New Zealand (the only English speaking country to remover PIR) I wandered through bookshops. The price of the children’s books did not seem cheap to me.

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