Unrecognised language teaching: Teaching Australian Curriculum content in remote Aboriginal community schools
Keywords:Australian Curriculum, remote community schooling, English language teaching, team teaching, assistant teachers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
The case study in this article offers a descriptive account of challenges involved in teaching Australian Curriculum content in the common teaching context in remote communities where an Indigenous language is spoken as the everyday form of communication and students learn English in what is essentially a foreign language setting. An on-theground description of the work of a Primary school teaching team serves
to illustrate the language teaching aspect of delivering Australian Curriculum content in areas such as History, Geography and Science. This aspect of the teaching team’s work is underestimated in the curriculum itself and in the guidance provided to teachers, yet is essential for student learning in this context. While the team draws on students’ L1 and early L2 English proficiency abilities to teach curriculum content, this work is not expedited from outside their classroom. An analysis of current curriculum offerings and the teaching team’s approaches finds that they receive little direction for the extensive language planning required. The findings suggest an urgent need for tailor-made curriculum and teacher guidance which better recognise this dual language context. This article canvases different curriculum settings that would alleviate this situation considerably, not only for this teaching team but for others in similar remote schools.
Allen, P. (1991). Who sank the boat? Ringwood, Vic: Puffin.
Angelo, D. (2012). Sad stories. A preliminary study of NAPLAN practice texts analysing students’ second language linguistic resources and the effects of these on their written narratives. In M. Ponsonnet, L. Dao, & M. Bowler (Eds.), Proceedings of the 42nd Australian Linguistic Society Conference 2011 (pp. 27-57). Australian National University, Canberra, December 2-4.
Angelo, D. (2013). NAPLAN implementation: Implications for classroom learning and teaching, with recommendations for improvement. TESOL in Context, 23(1-2), 53-73.
Angelo, D., Fraser, H., & Yeatman, B. (2019). The art of recognition. Visualising contact languages with community vernacular language posters. Babel, Journal of the Australian Federation of Modern Languages Teachers Associations, 54(1&2), 34-40
Angelo, D., O’Shannessy, C., Simpson, J., Kral, I., Smith, H., & Browne, E. (2019). Well-being and Indigenous language ecologies (WILE): A strengths-based approach. Literature Review. National Indigenous Languages Report, Pillar 2. Prepared for the Australian Government Department of Communications and the Arts. Canberra, ACT: Australian National University, Australia Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2012). The shape of the Australian Curriculum version 4. Sydney, NSW: ACARA.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2014a). English as an additional language or dialect teacher resource. Annotated content descriptions: English Foundation to Year 10. Sydney, NSW: ACARA. https://docs.acara.edu.au/resources/EALD_Learning_Area_Annotations_English_Revised_February_2014.pdf
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2014b). English as an additional language or dialect teacher resource. Annotated content descriptions: History Foundation to Year 10. Sydney, NSW: ACARA.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2014c). English as an additional language or dialect teacher resource. Annotated content descriptions: Mathematics Foundation to Year 10. Sydney, NSW: ACARA.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2014d). English as an additional language or dialect teacher resource. Annotated content descriptions: Science Foundation to Year 10. Sydney, NSW: ACARA.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2014e). English as an additional language or dialect teacher resource. Overview and EAL/D learning progression Sydney, NSW: ACARA. https://docs.acara.edu.au/resources/EALD_Overview_and_Advice_revised_February_2014.pdf
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2015). F-10 Framework for Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages. Sydney, NSW: ACARA http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/languages/frameworkfor-aboriginal-languages-and-torres-strait-islanderlanguages/.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2020). Terms of reference: Review of the Australian Curriculum F-10. Sydney, NSW: ACARA https://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/curriculum-review.
Australian Education Council. (2019). Alice Springs (Mparntwe) education declaration: Australian Education Council.
Devlin, B. (2011). The status and future of bilingual education for remote Indigenous students in the Northern Territory. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 34(3), 260-279.
Devlin, B., Disbray, S., & Devlin, N. (2017). History of bilingual education in the Northern Territory: People, programs and policies. Singapore: Springer.
Dickson, G. (2010). No Warlpiri, no school? A preliminary look at attendance in Warlpiri schools since introducing the first four hours of English policy. Ngoonjook (35), 97-113.
Disbray, S. (2014). At benchmark? Evaluating the Northern Territory bilingual education program. In L. Gawne & J. Vaughan (Eds.), Selected papers from the 44th Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, 2013 (pp. 126-143). Melbourne, Vic: University of Melbourne.
Disbray, S. (2015). Spaces for learning: Policy and practice for Indigenous languages in a remote context. Language and Education, 30(4), 317-336.
Disbray, S., Guenther, J., & Osborne, S. (2015). Red dirt teaching. Developing the right workforce for remote schools. Alice Springs, Darwin NT: The Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University.
Disbray, S., & Wigglesworth, G. (2019). Indigenous children’s language practices in Australia. In G. Hogan-Brun & B. O’Rourke (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of minority languages and communities. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dixon, S., & Angelo, D. (2014). Dodgy data, language invisibility and the implications for social inclusion: A critical analysis of Indigenous student language data in Queensland schools. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 37(3), 213-233.
Duff, P. A. (2014). Case study research on language learning and use. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 34, 233-255.
Edmonds-Wathen, C. (2015). Indigenous language speaking students learning mathematics in English: Expectations of and for teachers. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 44(1), 48-58.
Emmerton, S. (2004). My mob, going to the beach. Thuringowa, Qld: Black Ink Press.
Fogarty, W., Riddle, S., Lovell, M., & Wilson, B. (2017). Indigenous education and literacy policy in Australia: Bringing learning back to the debate. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 1-13.
Freeman, L. (2013). NAPLAN: A Thin Veil of Fairness. Excerpt from Senate Submission into the effectiveness of NAPLAN. TESOL in Context, 23(1-2), 74-81.
Freeman, L., & Staley, B. (2018). The positioning of Aboriginal students and their languages within Australia’s education system: A human rights perspective. International journal of speech-language pathology, 20(1), 174.
Guenther, J., & Disbray, S. (2015). Why local staff matter in very remote schools. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education, Freemantle, WA. December 1, 2015.
Guenther, J., Osborne, S., Disbray, S., & Bat, M. (2016). Red dirt education. A compilation of learnings from the Remote Education Systems project (e-book). Adelaide SA; Alice Springs, Darwin, NT: Ninti One and the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation.
Hoogenraad, R. (2001). Critical reflections on the history of bilingual education in Central Australia. In J. Simpson, D. Nash, M. Laughren, P. Austin, & B. Alpher (Eds.), Forty years on: Ken Hale and Australian languages (pp. 123-150). Canberra, ACT: Pacific Linguistics.
Kral, I. (2017). Yipirinya school: That generation, this generation. In B. C. Devlin, S. Disbray, & N. R. F. Devlin (Eds.), History of bilingual education in the Northern Territory: People, programs and policies (pp. 269-284). Singapore: Springer.
Lee, P., Fasoli, L., Ford, L., Stephenson, P., & McInerney, D. (2014). Indigenous kids and schooling in the Northern Territory: An introductory overview and brief history of Aboriginal Education in the Northern Territory. Bachelor, NT: Batchelor Press.
Macqueen, S., Knoch, U., Wigglesworth, G., Nordlinger, R., Singer, R., McNamara, T., & Brickle, R. (2019). The impact of national standardized literacy and numeracy testing on children and teaching staff in remote Australian Indigenous communities. Language Testing, 36(2), 265-287.
Marika, R. (2000). Milthun latju wäna romgu Yolngu. Valuing Yolngu knowledge in the education system. TESOL in Context, 10(2), 45-52.
McIntosh, S., O’Hanlon, R., & Angelo, D. (2012). The (In)visibility of “language” within Australian educational documentation: Differentiating language from literacy and exploring particular ramifications for a group of “hidden” ESL/D Learners. In C. Gitsaki & R. B. Baldauf (Eds.), Future directions in applied linguistics: local and global perspectives (pp. 447 - 468). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars.
Murray, F. (2010). English-additional-language students in the middle years of school: Students in a muddle? Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, 18(2), 1-12.
Nicholls, C. (2005). Death by a thousand cuts: Indigenous language bilingual education programmes in the Northern Territory of Australia, 1972–1998. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 8(2-3), 160-177.
Purdon, A. (2010). Living in the mainstream. Ngoonjook (35), 31-43.
Purdon, A., & Palmer, I. (2017). We did it: A short history of bilingual/bicultural education at Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School. In B. C. Devlin, S. Disbray, & N. R. F. Devlin (Eds.), History of bilingual education in the Northern Territory: people, programs and policies (pp. 293-306). Singapore: Springer.
Queensland Department of Education Training and Employment. (2013). Capability Framework. Teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander EAL/D learners. Brisbane, Qld: Senior Officers National Network of Indigenous Education (SONNIE), Departments of Education in NSW, NT, WA and Qld.
Reaburn, S., Bat, M., & Kilgariff, C. (2015). Looking for a new common ground: a reflection on Batchelor Institute’s teacher education training programs for remote Aboriginal education professionals in the Northern Territory (e-book). In H. Huijser, R. Ober, S. O’Sullivan, E. McRae-Williams, & R. Elvin (Eds.), Finding the common ground: narratives, provocations and reflections from the 40 year celebration of Batchelor Institute (pp. 31-42). Batchelor, NT: Batchelor Press.
Siegel, J. (1999). Creoles and minority dialects in education: An overview. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 20(6), 508-531. doi:10.1080/01434639908666387
Silburn, S. R., Nutton, G. D., McKenzie, J. W., & Landrigan, M. (2011). Early years English language acquisition and instructional approaches for Aboriginal students with home languages other than English: a systematic review of the Australian and international literature. Darwin, NT: Report produced on behalf of the Northern Territory Department of Education and Training by the Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research.
Simpson, J., Caffery, J., & McConvell, P. (2009). Gaps in Australia’s Indigenous language policy: dismantling bilingual education in the Northern Territory. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies discussion paper series. Discussion Paper 24. Canberra, ACT: AIATSIS.
Stake, R. (2005). Qualitative case studies. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 443-466). London; New Delhi: Sage.
Wigglesworth, G., Simpson, J., & Loakes, D. (2011). NAPLAN language assessments for Indigenous children in remote communities: Issues and problems. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 34(3), 320-343.
Wilkins, D. (2008). W(h)ither language culture and education in remote Indigenous communities of the Northern Territory? In Australian Review of Public Affairs. Sydney, NSW: The University of Sydney http://www.australianreview.net/digest/2008/10/wilkins.html.
Wilson, B. (2015). A share in the future. Review of Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory. Darwin, NT: Department of Education.