Lesley Harbon has been involved in languages education in Australian schools and universities since the early 1970s. Lesley learned Indonesian during her high school years, then studied German alongside Indonesian at the University of Sydney in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She taught Indonesian and German at Tennant Creek High School in the early 1980s then taught Indonesian at the University of Southern Queenland in the mid-1980s. During the 1990s she was sessional Lecturer in Indonesian at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, concurrently teaching primary level Indonesian at Parkes Public School. Lesley then moved to be Lecturer in Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Education at the University of Tasmania, where she completed her PhD in 2001. After Lesley’s move to the University of Sydney in 2002 she became further involved in internationalisation of higher education, first as the Director of Study Abroad, Exchange and Short Term International Experiences in the Faculty of Education and Social Work from 2006, then as Associate Dean International from 2009 to 2014. Between 2007-2010, Lesley was President of the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers’ Associations (AFMLTA), the national peak body for language teachers in Australia.
Between 2012 and 2014, Lesley was the Community Outreach Advisor for the Executive Committee of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, at the University of Sydney. Between 2010 and 2014, Lesley has been joint coordinator of DEPISA: Developing Educational Professionals in Southeast Asia, a bi-annual meeting of educational professionals from Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, and Australia.
She has sole-authored and joint-authored/edited numerous book publications, book chapters and refereed journal articles since 1990. She is the joint author of an Indonesian textbook series for secondary school language learners published by Cengage. Lesley has delivered keynote presentations and sole-authored and joint-authored conference papers at language teachers’ conferences (including applied linguistics and TESOL) in Australia and overseas. She has reviewed papers for a number of national and international languages education journals.
Lesley has supervised numerous doctoral, masters and honours projects to completion. She has consulted on languages education to schooling systems and government agencies, and has designed and taught many language teacher professional development workshops and programs.
Over her career, Lesley has participated in beginner language classes in Tetum, Amharic, Dutch and Japanese.
Lesley has been invited as a Jury member for the 2017 ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language Patji-Dawes Award which honours outstanding achievements in language teaching by an accomplished practitioner in Australia. Read more about the Patji-Dawes Award.
Lesley has significant experience implementing workshops in a ‘knowledge transfer’ or ‘train-the-trainer’ style and has coordinated many such programs over the past ten years. Lesley has significant expertise and experience in presenting workshops focusing on curriculum, teaching and learning in Australia, South-East Asia and North Asia.
Lesley has achieved NAATI accreditation, Indonesian – English.
Lesley edited Pelangi, a classroom resource for Indonesian, from 1986 to 2001. Lesley co-edited Babel, the Australian journal for languages education between 2002-2004, then became Editor from 2004-2006.
Lesley is/has been reviewer for the following journals/publications:
- Reviewer for Perspectives: Journal of Translatology (Taylor & Francis)
- Reviewer for Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, (editor: Chan, Wai Meng), Centre for Language Studies, National University of Singapore.
- Reviewer for Beyond Words
- Reviewer for Language and Intercultural Communication
- Reviewer for The MELTA English Teacher
- Reviewer for Teaching Education
- Reviewer for special issues of Modern Language Journal (editor: Claire Kramsch), and Language Teaching (editor: Graham Porte)
- Scientific Committee member, Committee for CLaSICConference Refereed Proceedings, National University of Singapore.
Lesley’s excellence in university teaching was acknowledged by a Faculty of Education & Social Work 2008 Teaching Excellence Award: for outstanding contribution to the quality of teaching and learning in the Faculty.
Lesley is a member of the Language and Cultures Network in Australian Universities (LCNAU), and the New South Wales Modern Language Teachers’ Association (MLTA NSW).
Lesley has designed a professional learning unit 'Thinking with stories: narrative inquiry' for language teachers' professional learning on Education Services Australia's Language Learning Space website
Can supervise: YES
Research interests (current)
Lesley’s current research project with her colleague Dr Sisilia Halimi from the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, and funded through a grant from the Australia-Indonesia Centre, is entitled “Uncovering important information on food and nutrition for school age children in Indonesia’s linguistic landscape”.
Lesley’s current research project with her colleague Dr Ruth Fielding from the University of Canberra, and funded by the NSW Department of Education and Training, is entitled “Assessing student learning outcomes in both language and content in NSW primary CLIL programs”.
Research themes that have featured in past research projects include:
- Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
- bilingual education
- language teacher narratives
- the (perceived) value of short term international experiences for language teachers
- pre-service language teacher education
- intercultural language education
- language teacher professional learning
- enhancing language learning with ICT tools
- the languages/literacy link
- learning languages in primary school
- language textbook research
Lesley has taught early childhood, primary, secondary school and university level Indonesian, secondary school level German, and second language acquisition and language curriculum subjects for pre-service, in-service and postgraduate language teachers.
Other teaching experiences include:
- 2003–2010 – off-shore teaching in selected MEd TESOL units of study, in conjunction with Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China
- ALAF program for Can Tho University, Vietnam, on pre-service teacher training in Vietnamese universities (AusAID)
- annual workshops for the DEPISA (Developing Educational Professionals in Southeast Asia) groups in Laos, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Lesley’s knowledge of pedagogy, teaching and learning
- workshops and seminars for the University of Sydney’s Graduate School of Government over the past 2 years to groups from Africa, Mongolia, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Her supervisions since 2002 have included:
- TESOL teachers’ perceptions of context, policy and pedagogy, relating to mandated ICT use in four schools of education in Vietnam
- The policies of pre-service EFL teacher education in Indonesian state Islamic universities (UIN)
- Community of practice of Indonesian language teacher trainers
- Bilingual language development in primary school immersion language learners in Taiwan
- Teachers’ interactions with their learners in beginner-level university language classes
- Kanji-learning strategies of university learners of Japanese in natural learning environments
- Negotiations of identity in a bilingual primary school
- E-learning in English as a foreign language education in Thailand’s higher education context
- Indonesian EFL teacher professionalism: A case study in Salatiga municipality
- Intercultural competence in young language learners: a case study.
Harbon, L & Moloney, R 2013, Language Teachers' Narratives of Practice, Cambridge Scholars Pub.
This is a new resource for use in a professional development context, for pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, tertiary teacher educators and researchers.
Laws, K, Harbon, L & Wescombe, C 2013, Supporting Professional Development with Learning through Action Projects: Research from Australia & Southeast Asia; DEPISA Monograph no. 2.
Laws, K, Harbon, L & Fielding, R 2011, Teacher Professional Development in Southeast Asia Perspectives from Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Harbon, L, Paltridge, B, Hirsh, D, Phakti, A, Shen, H, Stevenson, M & Woodrow, L 2009, Teaching Academic Writing: An Introduction for Teachers of Second Language Writers, University of Michigan Press., USA.
Harbon, L 2009, Languages in the primary school: Teachers' perceptions of policy and practice, Verlag Dr Mueller, Saarbrucken.
Harbon, L & Halimi, SS 2019, 'A 'disjunct' in the linguistic landscape: Messages about food and nutrition in Indonesian school environments', Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 566-566.View/Download from: Publisher's site
In Indonesia's schoolscapes, messages regarding food and nutrition abound. The researchers conducted descriptive, evaluative research on the nature and scope of the linguistic landscape around 20 primary school grounds in Jakarta and Depok education districts. The purpose of this study was to gather (digitally) and analyze food/nutrition signs/texts in order to determine which languages are represented in which places, and the kinds of messages for each language. As well, the study explored other non-food images relating to health found in these schoolscapes. Data were analysed using open and axial coding. The study found that the majority of the texts and images are found to be in Indonesian and only a small percentage are in Sundanese, Arabic, Japanese and English. Texts relating to food and nutrition were found inside and outside the school environments. Each language was responsible for a particular type of message. Official (top-down) messages inside the schoolscapes advocate for healthy food and nutrition. Texts found outside the schoolscapes convey a variety of messages, healthy and otherwise: from food labels, and flavor, to cigarette advertising. There is a 'disjunct' between the overtly health-oriented linguistic landscape inside the school perimeter and the less healthy linguistic landscape outside the schoolscapes, an issue which may be of concern to schools and their communities.
This paper reports on a small study of attitudes to tertiary language study amongst senior secondary language learners in three independent New South Wales schools. The study examines what elements of preparedness may be the most effective in supporting transition to tertiary study for this sample of languages students. An analysis of survey data indicates that motivation, confidence in language achievement, and the construction of a 'future self' as a language user and learner appear to be useful elements positively supporting transition to tertiary study. Findings from this study point to a relationship between the construction of 'future selves' as language users, and academic performance, motivation, self-esteem and aspirations
This article examines young students' bilingual and bicultural identity. Observational, survey, and interview data as well as data from primary school students' journals indicated that that students found it more challenging to identify as bilingual than as bicultural. Both individual and social factors contributed to students' bilingual and bicultural identity development, and three interrelated elements (connection, interaction, and investment) influenced the ways in which students experienced connection to their languages and cultures. As expressed by these students, feeling bilingual and feeling bicultural are quite distinct notions. This presents some challenges to prior beliefs about the interrelatedness of bilingual and bicultural identities. © 2013 by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
Rose, H & Harbon, L 2013, 'Self-Regulation in Second Language Learning: An Investigation of the Kanji-Learning Task', FOREIGN LANGUAGE ANNALS, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 96-107.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This article represents the collaborative efforts of two college faculty, one in the USA and one in Australia, exploring notions of internationalization of colleges of education and research on multilingualism and teacher education. First, the paper presents experiences of interactions with international researchers in Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Italy, Finland and Australia. Second, it presents research of three overseas immersion language teaching and learning experiences pursued with teacher candidates from Australia in Indonesia, Korea and China. The article focuses on two questions: in what ways can teacher educators enhance their expertise to prepare teachers for multicultural teaching in a global context? How can teacher educators and institutions create contexts and experiences where teachers and prospective teachers develop their knowledge, skills and dispositions to teach from an international and multicultural perspective? In essence, how can faculty prepare teachers to internationalize curricula and effectively teach students, not only from different ethnic groups and cultures but also different nations and languages? © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Harbon, L 2007, 'Short-term international experiences and teacher language awareness', International Education Journal, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 229-243.
This research study had as its focus the impact of a short-term international experience on teacher language awareness (TLA). In-country intensive immersion experiences were considered beneficial for language teacher professional development. This project examined the Australian teachers' perceptions of their teaching and home-stay experiences during a three week short-term international teaching and homestay experience in South Korea. Findings suggested that teacher language awareness was indeed heightened through the extra metalinguistic awareness gained through systematic reflection on teaching and learning events. © 2007 Shannon Research Press.
Harbon, L & McGill, M 2002, 'The art of unpacking: Using flexible delivery materials for teachers preparing to learn in overseas contexts', Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 63-75.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Teachers with direct experiences of other education systems are valuable resources and it is increasingly common for pre-service and in-service teacher education programs to provide overseas learning experiences for students (Hill et al, 1997). When involved in an overseas school experience or language and culture study, participating teachers are able to compare curriculum and pedagogical issues. Their beliefs on teaching and learning and the influence of cultural context can and do impact on curriculum implementation. This comparison can adequately be undertaken by critical reflection processes: Teachers reflecting on their classroom experiences; exploring teaching and learning practices, to eventually be able to change or reframe their understandings of why they do what they do (Brookfield, 1995). Our challenge was how best to maximise such a learning experience for both undergraduate and postgraduate teachers undertaking the in-country school experience in West Sumatra during January 2001. In conjunction with a decision to provide overseas offerings in undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania, the researchers developed and implemented a CD-ROM resource package for students involved in the Indonesian in-country units of study. This package, comprising a pre-departure learning package of guided readings and web- based interaction, became a learning scaffold for the students and allowed them to maximise the in-country experience as well as organise their reflective practices. Evaluation of the planning and design stages of the project is reported, as well as issues arising from the pilot implementation of the package. © 2002 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Giovanangeli, A, Oguro, SG & Harbon, L 2018, 'Mentoring students' intercultural learning during study abroad' in Jackson, J & Oguro, S (eds), Intercultural Interventions in Study Abroad, Routledge, UK, pp. 88-102.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Globally, study abroad programmes in the university sector have grown markedly over the last two decades, alongside the increased mobility of capital, goods, and people across the world (Block, Gray, and Holborow 2012, Duchêne and Heller 2012). The higher education sector has introduced various initiatives in order to address these 'new times' (New London Group 1996), including internationalised curricula with an intercultural dimension, and the option to study abroad for a component of a degree. Indeed, the opportunity to incorporate study abroad experiences into degree programmes is attractive for individuals seeking professional qualifications to work in internationally connected spaces
Harbon, L & Moloney, R 2017, 'Professional Knowledge Landscapes: Language Teachers' Stories' in Language Teachers' Stories from their Professional Knowledge Landscapes, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK, pp. 1-14.
Like your stories of overseas travels, Robyn, I would like to reemphasise the perceived
benefits of language teachers, ... at any stage of their career, there is potential to
extend the professional knowledge landscape that underpins their work.
Harbon, L 2017, 'Acknowledging the generational and affective aspects of language teacher identity.' in Barkhuizen, G (ed), Reflections on Language Teacher Identity Research, Routledge, New York and London, pp. 176-182.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Buchanan, JD, Major, J, Harbon, L & Kearney, S 2017, 'Preparing Teachers through International Experience: A Collaborative Critical Analysis of Four Australian Programs' in Global Teaching: Southern Perspectives on Teachers Working with Diversity, Palgrave Macmillan, USA, pp. 167-188.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
In an increasingly internationalized, interconnected and globalized world, characterized in many school education contexts by diverse classrooms and varied student needs, the importance for teachers to develop an intercultural competence has become urgent. International experiences, embedded within teacher education, are seen as one means to enhance this capability. In this Australian study, coordinators of international professional experiences from four NSW universities discuss and interrogate the strengths and weaknesses of their own and each other's programs, guided by an established evaluation framework for such programs. Findings indicate that, while support for such programs is strong in the lead-up to and during such international experiences, subsequent evaluation of these programs and reflection remain underdeveloped. Implications for international professional experience programs are discussed.
Moloney, R, Harbon, L & Fielding, R 2016, 'An interactive, co-constructed approach to the development of intercultural understanding in pre-service language teachers' in Dervin, F & Gross, Z (eds), Intercultural Competence in Education Alternative Approaches for Different Times, Springer, Germany, pp. 185-213.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
In our responsibilities for language teacher education, we have critiqued in recent years the sometimes limited success of intercultural learning activities, and become dissatisfied that the intercultural concept has been diminished to static and essentialized comparisons of culture, in some language classrooms. This has led us to explore an experiential collaborative approach to the development of intercultural understandings in pre-service language teachers, where an intercultural dynamic can be seen operating in co-construction between themselves and their peers. The researchers introduced two groups of pre-service language teachers to discourse analysis, and recognition of classroom discourse patterns, such as Initiation–Response–Evaluation. The pre-service teachers, in small groups, discussed a number of transcripts from school language classrooms that were endeavouring to 'be intercultural'. The chapter reports the unexpected additional learning that emerged from this task. The discussion offered the pre-service teachers an opportunity to critically examine cultural assumptions, both in the classroom lesson transcripts, and among themselves. Within their small group interactions, the pre-service teachers constructed a zone where they could voice diverse perspectives, notice, explore and respect the complexity of the interaction. Structured social interaction enables some of them to transform their thinking, and take away the beginning of their own personal and dynamic understanding. It appears to represent a useful task to support critical reflection, in requiring pre-service teachers to move beyond the acquisition of knowledge about 'intercultural', into active questioning of their perspectives, complexity, and assumptions.
Harbon, L 2016, 'A developing 'community of practice': What can we claim so far?' in Laws, K, Harbon, L & Wescombe, C (eds), Investigations into professional practice: Learning from action research projects: Australia & Southeast Asia, Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University; DEPISA.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Harbon, L & Smythe, C 2016, 'Creating an ecology of affordances to allow Australian pre-service teachers to get to know and make sense of China' in Robertson, M & Tsang, P (eds), Everyday knowledge, education and sustainable futures: Transdisciplinary approaches/research in the Asia/Pacific, Springer, Singapore.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Harbon, L, Fielding, R & Liang, J 2016, 'The Innovation and Challenge of a Content and Language Integrated Learning Approach to CFL in One Australian Primary School' in Moloney, R & Xu, HL (eds), Exploring Innovative Pedagogy in the Teaching and Learning of Chinese as a Foreign Language, Springer, Singapore, pp. 193-211.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Harbon, L & Shen, H 2015, 'Researching Language Classrooms' in Paltridge, B & Phakiti, A (eds), Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. A Practical Resource, Bloomsbury Publishing PlC, pp. 457-470.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Harbon, L & Moloney, R 2015, 'Eliciting language teachers' narratives of practice for professional growth' in Gitsaki, C & Alexiou, T (eds), Current issues in second/foreign language teaching and teacher development: Research and practice, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK, pp. 72-84.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Moloney, R, Harbon, L & Fielding, R 2015, 'Pre-service teachers discovering intercultural enquiry in language classroom discourse' in Chan, W, Bhatt, SK, Nagami, M & Walker, I (eds), Culture and Foreign Language Education: Insights from Research and Implications for the Practice, De Gruyter Mouton, Germany, pp. 59-85.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Fearnley-Sander, M, Moss, J & Harbon, L 2004, 'Reading for meaning: Problematizing inclusion in Indonesian civic education', International Journal of Inclusive Education, pp. 203-219.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper reports on the use of the Index for Inclusion in five socioeconomically different primary school contexts in Indonesia. The research was designed and developed through Australian and Indonesian teachers and teacher educators collaborative efforts over a year. The work took place during the post-Suharto reform period and focuses on the field of Civics education. The research examines what the ethic of inclusion means to teachers participating in political and educational democratization as they attempt to embrace and develop citizenship classroom practices that feature respect for difference. The theoretical interest is in both citizenship theory and inclusion; showing how the civic cultures of school and nation intersect; and the implications of that intersection for inclusion theory and cross-cultural theorizing of inclusion more broadly.