Remote Indigenous education and translanguaging




Indigenous children, language, translanguaging, classrooms


Indigenous1 children living in the more remote areas of Australia where Indigenous languages continue to be spoken often come to school with only minimal knowledge of English, but they may speak two or more local languages. Others come to school speaking either a creole, or Aboriginal English, non-standard varieties which may sound similar to English, which gives them their vocabulary, while differing in terms of structure, phonology and semantics and pragmatics. This paper begins with a discussion of the linguistic contexts the children come from and the school contexts the children enter into before moving on to discuss a potential role for some use of translanguaging techniques in the classroom and discussing the potential benefits and advantages these may have.

1The term Indigenous is used respectfully to refer to all people of Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. Indigenous languages and Australian Indigenous languages are used to refer to the languages of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait 
Islanders following NILS3 (2020).


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Author Biography

  • Gillian Wigglesworth, University of Melbourne, Australia

    Prof. Gillian Wigglesworth is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne and chief investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. She has published widely in both first and second language acquisition as well as bilingualism. Her major research focus is on the languages Australia Indigenous children living in remote communities are learning, and the linguistic challenges the children face as they enter the formal, usually English-based, school system. She has worked extensively with Indigenous children growing up in these remote communities in both the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Her focus is on their languages, the complexity of their language ecology, and how these interact with English. Her most recent book, co-edited with Jane Simpson and Jill Vaughan, From Home to School: Language Practices of Indigenous Children and Youth, (Palgrave Macmillan) documents much of this work.


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How to Cite

Remote Indigenous education and translanguaging. (2020). TESOL in Context, 29(1), 95-113.
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