« On technology training in the speaker community - Andrea L. Berez | Blog home | 'Education restructure includes greater emphasis on English' - Inge Kral »

[from Felicity Meakins, 2009 ARC recipient]

The bad news about Australian languages continues with the announcement by the NT Minister for Education and Training, Marion Scrymgour of a NT schools restructure which will place the emphasis on English and will essentially wind back two-way education.
“... I’m ... announcing today that the first four hours of education in all Northern Territory schools will be conducted in English,” Ms Scrymgour said.
.....
"Ms Scrymgour said she recognised the requirement for all schools to teach all classes in English for the first four hours of each day would be contentious. I support preserving our Indigenous languages and culture – but our Indigenous children need to be given the best possible chance to learn English.”

This announcement follows the results from her Department's 2004-2005 Indigenous Languages and Culture in Northern Territory Schools [.pdf] report which showed positive outcomes for children taught in the two-way model.

How does it help children who don't understand English, to spend the first 4 hours of every day listening to English? Most NT schools are already English-only schools, and there's no sign that it improves children's written English more than in bilingual schools - indeed the evidence from Scrymgour's own department report is that the outcomes are marginally better in bilingual schools.

Consultation this year for the Regional Learning Partnerships between communities and schools also showed that most communities wanted language taught in the school either through two-way learning or an ILC (Indigenous Languages and Culture) program.

But it's not about research, results or education even, it is all about ideology as usual.

How about having a look at the 2004-2005 report, and the press release by the Minister for Education, and if you feel moved to send her informed agreement or disagreement, e-mail her at Marion.Scrymgour AT nt.gov.au.

Comments

as a teacher in a bi-lingual school I'm so frustrated by this government. Voters are upset by the poor educational outcomes of indigenous pressures- with good intentions they pressure politicians. In response our elected representatives feel that they have to find someone to blame, and so they have pointed the finger at bi-lingual schools. Our programme is not perfect, it could do with a lot of additional support, but at least it recognises the validity of indigenous language and culture. I have heard of Maori Universities which are taught entirely in language. This is where we should be aiming. If we are to keep these languages alive, and keep a strong sense of identity and empowerment in indigenous communities- local languages must be central in our teaching.

Hi, are we really in a post-colonial era? I think not. I fully support bi-lingual education. I live in a street called Kamilaroi (one of the NSW tribes) and its a real struggle for non-indigenous people to say and spell, so I reckon a bit of 'turning back the gaze' is needed. Imagine non-indigenous people having to say and spell a few place names. We will see how literacy attempts go then. LOL

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Enter the code shown below before pressing post

The Authors

About the Blog

The Transient Building, symbolising the impermanence of language, houses both the Linguistics Department at Sydney University and PARADISEC, a digital archive for endangered Pacific languages and music.
More

FAQ

Papua New Guinea FAQs from Eva Lindstrom Papua New Guinea (New Ireland): Eva Lindstrom's tips for fieldworkers

Australian Languages Answers to some frequently asked questions about Australian languages

Papua Web Information network on Papua, Indonesia (formerly Irian Jaya)

Hibernating blogs

Indigenous Language SPEAK

Langguj gel Australian linguistics and fieldwork blog

Interesting Blogs

Omniglot Writing systems and languages of the world

LingFormant Linguistics news

Language hat Linguistics news and commentary

Jabal al-Lughat Linguistics news and commentary on a range of languages

Living languages Blog with news items and discussion of endangered languages

OzPapersOnline Notices of recent work on the Indigenous languages of Australia

That Munanga linguist Community linguist blog

Anggarrgoon Claire Bowern's linguistics and fieldwork blog

Savage Minds A group blog on Anthropology

Fully (sic)

Language on the Move Intercultural communication and multilingualism

Talking Alaska: Reflections on the native languages of Alaska

Culture matters: applying anthropology Australian anthropology blog: postgraduates and staff

Long Road ethnography and anthropology blog - including about Australia

matjjin-nehen Blog on Australian linguistics, fieldwork, politics and the environment.

Language Log Group blog on language and linguistics

Links

E-MELD The E-MELD School of Best Practices in Digital Language Documentation

Tema Modersmål Website in Swedish with links to sites on and in many languages

Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project: Language Documentation: What is it? Information on equipment, formats, and archiving, and examples of documentation

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources a worldwide network of organizations, academics, activists, indigenous groups, and others representing indigenous and tribal peoples

Technorati Profile

Technology-enhanced language revitalization Include ILAT (Indigenous Languages and Technology) discussion list.

Endangered languages of Indigenous Peoples of Siberia

Koryak Net Information on the people of Kamchatka

Linguistic fieldwork preparation: a guide for field linguists syllabi, funding, technology, ethics, readings, bibliography

On-line resources for endangered languages

Papua New Guinea Language Resources Phonologies, grammars, dictionaries, literacy, language maps for many PNG languages

Resource network for linguistic diversity Networking practitioners working to record,retrieve & reintroduce endangered languages

Projects

ACLA child language acquisition in three Australian Aboriginal communities

DELAMAN The Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archives Network

PARADISEC The Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures

Murriny-Patha Song Project Documenting the language and music of public songs and dances composed and performed by Murriny Patha-speaking people

PFED The Project for Free Electronic Dictionaries

DOBES Endangered language documentation and archiving, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and sponsored by the Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen.

DELP Documenting endangered languages at the University of Sydney

Ethno EResearch Exploring methods and technology for streaming media and interlinear text