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Assignment 3 - Academic Essay Written Reflections & Critical Analysis:

The chosen thematic area is Indigenous literacies and Aboriginal English. As stated by
Bell, (2012) Our languages are a key to maintaining and preserving ourselves as Indigenous
people. This statement sums up what Indigenous culture is all about as language is very
important in their lives, this is one way Indigenous Australians tell stories about their culture,
identity and ways of life. Educators need to preserve these historical literacies and keep them
alive in our classrooms and in our teaching. We need to respect and be aware of all
Indigenous students so that we can help them grow in their culture by teaching both
Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in our classrooms about our countrys history. In this
essay an explanation of Indigenous literacies and Aboriginal English will be discussed, the
significance and relevance of language will also be discussed as well as strategies to enhance
the language effectiveness in the classroom and how this could be delivered for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander students.
Indigenous languages are fixed within the very spirit of country, so that each word that
Indigenous Australians use keeps them in spiritual harmony with the country. However it is
common, to regard language as a method of human communication, which could be either
spoken or written, consisting of words in a structured and conventional way (Williams,
2010). The Linguistic condition before the British invasion showed that the Indigenous
people had for a long time used language and speech as markers of group identity, hence
Indigenous English plays a very important role in the preservation of Indigenous identity
(Eades, 1993). When It comes to Aboriginal English, the accent, vocabulary and grammatical
patterns is just some aspects that enable Indigenous people from all over the country to
recognise other Indigenous people (Eades, 1993).
Indigenous people have many languages it is not one universal language but many, usually
depending on which part of the country they are from. Indigenous ways of using English
provides Indigenous Australians with a feeling of being at ease and feeling a sense of
belonging with one other (Eades, 1993). For Indigenous people, language is much more than
just words. It is a direct link to land and country. It holds traditional songs and stories. It is
about deep meaning and spirituality, it reflects exceptional cultural concepts and ways of
looking at the world (Williams, 2010). Almost all aspects of Indigenous English are different
to Standard English such as phonology (accent and pronounciation), morpho-syntax
(Grammar), Lexico-semantics (words and their meaning) and pragmatic (the way the
language is used in sociocultural context) (Marilyn, 2002). Teachers who will teach
Indigenous languages need to be aware of these differences in order to teach Indigenous
languages effectively in the classroom. When teaching an Australian language to your
students this helps develop their self-esteem, engagement with education and their overall
wellbeing (Troy, 2012).

For future teaching, having Indigenous picture books and novels that have Indigenous
concepts, language and literacy is a good, creative and fun way to get students engaged with

Indigenous literacies. By acknowledging the importance of Indigenous literacies and

Aboriginal English we as teachers can implement Indigenous topics in our curriculum which
would suit almost all Klas such as English, art, history, geography and science. Teachers can
include Indigenous literacies in all these subjects. For example in art Indigenous people use
painting as a form of communication to tell stories, therefore by learning language and
literacy this knowledge can improve the quality of the artwork. In English by having
Indigenous books and different word lists many activities can develop from that. Literature
about the dreamtime can also be incorporated in History, Geography and science. By teaching
children Indigenous songs, music and dance is a way to get them engaged and teach them
about culture and Indigenous language.
Aboriginal English (AE) is the home language that most Indigenous students bring to school.
It is the only truly regionally distributed dialect of Australian English. It is overseen and is
just as linguistically complex as any other dialect of English (Eades, 1995). Language and
culture work hand in hand and cannot be separated, Indigenous languages develops as a result
of their cultural world view (Eades, 1995). Language for Indigenous students is one indicator
of their culture along with art, dance and music. It is this dialect difference that can create
some of the greatest teaching and learning outcomes for both teachers and Indigenous
students. For future teaching, having Indigenous art, dance and music lessons incorporating
Indigenous literacies and Aboriginal English throughout the lessons is also a creative way for
students to learn different Indigenous words.
Indigenous society is very diverse for instance it has hundreds of distinct groups, languages
and cultural traditions. As a result of this there are many reasons why teachers should study
and teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. An essential factor is that we live
in this country and should have an extensive amount of knowledge of our countrys history.
Another reason is that if we were to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies it
would be seen to be a positive step on the pathway to reconciliation (Price, 2012). Without
the knowledge of language, Indigenous Australians state that they feel culturally and
spiritually diminished. Language is like food, without it we starve (Price, 2012). From this,
language can be seen as a significant part in Indigenous peoples lives and as teachers we
need to keep it as a constant element in classrooms by teaching the students about our
countrys history, culture, traditions and language in order to keep our countrys history alive.
The progress of English literacy skills is vital for the life opportunities of Indigenous
students. Literacy provides these students with 'the necessary skills to interact within
mainstream society and benefit from the broadest range of civic, social, educational and
employment possibilities'. (Mellor and Corrigan, 2004).
It is also important for teachers to be educated in Indigenous language because what may
seem standard for Indigenous students such as calling their friends parents aunty or uncle
and teachers aunty miss is not the standard for non-Indigenous Australians (Price, 2012).
Therefore as teachers we need to be aware of these language differences to prevent bullying
from other students and explain to them that all cultures are different and that we should
accept and respect this. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
(2007, p. 7) state that Indigenous individuals, predominantly children, including those living
outside their communities, when possible to have access, to an education in their own culture
and in their own language. Therefore when we as teachers provide Indigenous students with
the opportunities to learn their cultures language we are providing them with their most basic

right. As future teachers we must also be aware of the term country in Indigenous culture as
not only is it a common noun but also a proper noun, Indigenous people talk about country
the same way they would talk about a person (Rose,1996). As a result we need to be aware
that Indigenous students may not understand the way a non-Indigenous person uses the term
As future teachers we should talk to the child and the childs family to get to know them
better and work collaboratively to further improve the education and school experience for
that child. In future when talking to parents, teachers should ask about their culture and
language because usually there are many different dialects and the teacher should be aware of
the different dialects they have in the class and educate the class about different Indigenous
languages and meanings and the way they are used. Teachers dont need to necessarily teach
a whole new dialect but provide students with an understanding of the many different
dialects, their differences, the way they are used and maybe some words using picture books
might enrich the learning experiences for the Indigenous and non- Indigenous students in the
class. Although many teachers respect and value Aboriginal English, many teachers do not
know what Indigenous literacies and Aboriginal English really is, if it is still spoken or who
really speaks it, this includes many teachers in schools with significantly high Indigenous
populations (Lester & Hanlen, 2004). As a result, some teachers prefer not to teach it so they
dont risk making mistakes. It is important to teach the right content and have a very deep
understanding about culture and language. Therefore one way to ensure that the students are
learning the content appropriately is in future by inviting an Indigenous elder or teacher who
can come and speak to the class as this would be a great advantage since they would have
much more knowledge and insight in giving the students first-hand experience and
knowledge about Indigenous literacies and Aboriginal English.
When looking at the statistics of how many Indigenous Australians actually speak their
Indigenous dialect, almost three-quarters (74%) of Indigenous Australians who speak an
Indigenous language live in very remote Australia. Only 4% of Indigenous people who speak
an Indigenous language live in major cities. Over half (56%) of all Indigenous language
speakers live in the northern Territory where 59% of the Indigenous population speak an
Australian Indigenous language (Williams, 2010). These numbers are not high at all and by
teaching Indigenous literacies and Aboriginal English in our classrooms we can ensure that
these numbers increase and future Indigenous students have a better understanding of their
cultures English.
There has been a wide concern that Indigenous Languages are reducing and are going to
sleep at a greater rate than any other languages in the world (AIATSIS & FATSIL, 2005,
p.3.). It is extremely important that as a teacher, you talk with your students, parents and
caregivers to find out what can be done together (Price, 2012). This is extremely vital because
as teachers we dont know everything about the students, therefore by talking to the students
and asking for information from the caregivers they will be very likely to want to provide
assistance so that their child can grow in a classroom where their cultural and literacy needs
are met. Parents and caregivers would most likely be more than happy to contribute because
they will realise that we as teachers are acknowledging their cultural heritage and providing
awareness to other non-Indigenous students in the class.
As a future teacher one of the most important initial steps to undertake would be to get to
know the student, develop a close relationship with the student and the parent/caregiver and

always ask the parent/caregiver for assistance such as if there is anything that they would feel
can enhance the students learning. This should not only be for Indigenous students but for all
students. According to Price, (2012) as a future teacher it would be very beneficial to
introduce all students to the histories, cultures, language and literacies of Indigenous
Australians by providing them with access to literature written by authors from Indigenous
backgrounds. It would also be wise to constantly access teacher training courses in order to
become more educated about Indigenous language and literacies so that as teachers we can
enhance and stimulate the students knowledge.
AITSL has established the Leading Curriculum Change professional learning program
where teachers can be informed about a high quality, interactive online professional learning
program that has been designed by experts for adult learners (AITSL, 2012). By taking part
and working with this community of learners it allows teachers to specialise in work with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. In future it would be a good asset to take part
in these Indigenous learning programs so that our knowledge of Indigenous Australians and
communities can grow and so that we can pass on this knowledge to future Indigenous and
non- Indigenous students. Also because this understanding is an essential part of our common
basic knowledge as it is about the history of our country and therefore plays a significant part
in developing who we are and how we relate to others. Teachers can never stop learning,
there is new information for us to learn every day. One great resource that can be used in the
classroom is the APAC website (Aboriginal Perspectives Across the Curriculum) this website
is very useful as it aims to increase and deepen students' and teachers' understanding of
Indigenous cultures and ways of being. It provides teachers with lesson plan ideas, resources
and other website links that will help teachers enhance students knowledge of Indigenous
culture, language and literacy. This website will help and support teachers to assist all
students to look at the world from an Indigenous viewpoint and learn about a range of issues
such as reconciliation, equality and social justice. In terms of teaching Indigenous literacy
and Aboriginal English in schools this website has tried to adopt consistent spelling. For
example, the spelling of Noongar words is based upon the Noongar Dictionary compiled by
Rose Whitehurst (APAC, 2010). A range of lesson activities can be designed and developed
using these words.
In conclusion it is clearly evident that Indigenous literacies and Aboriginal English in
Indigenous cultures is of great importance because these literacies is what makes up their
identity and how they fit in to the country and land. Language and the land work together
and are both just as important as the other. It is all linked together, because without language
there is no identity (Williams, 2010). There are many resources and agencies out there for
teachers to help them teach and enrich the education of our Indigenous students. Indigenous
Literacies can be taught in almost all Klas and by providing these students with the
opportunities to learn about our countrys culture and language we are providing them with
their most basic right. As teachers it is our responsibility to provide the students with high
quality education where each individual needs are met and if by providing students with an
education about Indigenous Literacies and Aboriginal English will improve, enhance and
enrich the education and wellbeing of each student then as teachers we must strive to achieve

Aboriginal Education Working in partnership empowers all to make a significant difference.

(2010). Retrieved May 5, 2015, from
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AITSL (Australian Institute of Teaching Standards and Leadership). 2011. National
Professional Standards for Teachers . Melbourne : Educational Services Australia.
Bell, J. (2012). As cited in Price, K. (2012). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education.
Australia: Cambridge University Press.
Bird Rose, D., (1996). Nourishing Terrains. Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and
Wilderness. Canberra, ACT, Australia: Australian Heritage Commission, pp. 7-9.
Eades, D. (1993), as cited in Building bridges: literacy development in young indigenous
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NSW, Sydney, NSW.
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Price, K. (2012). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education. Australia: Cambridge
University Press.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007, p. 7).
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Australia: Cambridge University Press.
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